Sunday, June 27, 2010

From ‘Papaji. Interviews’. Edited by David Godman

Firstly, there must be a desire for God, a love for Him, or a desire for liberation. Without that, nothing is possible……….This desire…… like an inner flame. One must kindle it and then fan it until it becomes a raging fire which consumes all one’s other desires and interests……..If this inner fire rages for long enough, with sufficient intensity, it will finally consume that one, central, overwhelming desire for God or the Self. This is essential because realization will not take place until even this last desire has gone. After this final desire disappears, there will be the silence of no thoughts………Many people have had temporary glimpses of the Self. Sometimes it happens spontaneously, and it is not uncommon for it to happen in the presence of a realized Master.

On another visit, I brought a Muslim pir I had met in Madras. As a professor in Baghdad he had had an inner awakening and taken to the religious life. He had come to India…….to visit some Hindu holy men….I encouraged him to join me on one of my visits to the [Ramana] Maharshi…At Tiruvannamalai we sat in the hall together for some time, looking at the Maharshi. Then the pir got up, saluted him and walked out……….he said, I have smelled this one flower in the garden of Hinduism. I don’t need to smell any of the others……..This man was a jnani and in those few minutes with the Maharshi he was able to satisfy himself that the flowering of jnana in Hindus was no different from the highest experience attained by Islamic saints……..Such enlightened people are very rare. In the last forty years or so I have met thousands of sadhus, swamis, gurus etc……….But in the years since my realization I have only met two men, apart from the Maharshi himself, who convinced me that they had attained full and complete Self-realisation. This Muslim pir was one. The other was a relatively unknown sadhu I met by the side of a road in Karnataka.

…….. ‘By the enquiry “Who am I?” the thought ‘Who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the funeral pyre, it will in the end get destroyed. Then there will arise Self-realisation.’

Freedom is to know your own fundamental nature, your own Self. Nothing else

Master, for what reason do the scriptures exist?..........

They tell you to read all these things – the Upanishads, the Vedas, the Sutras, the Shastras – so that one day you will get fed up with them. Then afterwords, you can be quiet……..Just keep quiet and see what happens.

So, avoid all persons, including yourself……And avoid all things……..Don’t think of things and don’t have any objects in the mind. Give up all ideas including ‘I have had a glimpse’ or ‘I have not had a glimpse’. No ideas, no things, no persons……..then look. What do you see?

Enlightenment is for those people who have not found any satisfaction in sensory indulgence. It is for those people who are fed up with things, with objects, and the enjoyment of them. The desire for freedom, for enlightenment, arises when one begins to understand that permanent happiness cannot be found in sensory pleasures……….happiness arises spontaneously only when there are no thoughts and no desires, and that it disappears when thoughts and desires come back………Happiness therefore lies in the emptiness of no thought, not in the quest for more and more things………The emptiness of no-thought, of no desires, is permanent. It is the source of true, permanent happiness…….When you can abide in that emptiness…….without feeling a need to search for happiness anywhere else, you are free from desires and suffering. That freedom is enlightenment………The people and things of this world will still be there, but they will not cause you any trouble or suffering because the desire to get pleasure and happiness through them will never arise.

When you have a desire for freedom………… should look for a perfect being. Someone who has established himself in the state of true and permanent happiness. Such a being………can make you aware of the happiness and the emptiness that lie within you. He may do it by the power of his thought, by looking at you, by touching you or simply by being quiet. Anyone who comes into contact with such a being will be benefited by his presence.

Is it necessary to have a Master who is himself realized to succeed?

Absolutely! Absolutely! Otherwise how can you know whether you are on the right track?

[Ramana Maharshi]…………He would talk about many things: how to be free, how to get enlightened, and sometimes he would say things like, ‘You need grace’. But most of the time he said in Tamil, ‘Summa iru,’ which means, ‘Keep quiet’. Most people did not understand the true meaning of this…….

When you ask ‘Who am I?’, don’t expect any answer. You must get rid of the expectation that you will get an answer……The purpose of the question is not to get an answer.


Monday, June 21, 2010

From ‘The Journey Home. Autobiography of an American Swami. Mystic Yogis, gurus and an epic quest through spiritual India’ by Radhanath Swami

The day before I was to leave home for college, my father was especially emotional…….. “Son,” he began, “as long as I’m alive, I’m always here for you……….As your father, I expect you to do your best, but whether you succeed or fail, do good or bad deeds, or even betray me, as long as I’m alive, I’ll love you and I’m here for you. This is a promise I will live and die to keep. Please, never forget this.”

“Asim,” I asked, “could you explain your understanding of deity worship?” I told him how, in my travels through India, I’d found almost everybody worshipping the carved image of the Lord. The Yogis and Shivaites worshipped the Shiva Lingam or statues of Lord Shiva, and the Buddhists made elaborate offerings to the Deity of Lord Buddha. “Some people from Western religions condemn all this as idolatry,” I said. “But Christians offer prayers to statues or paintings of Jesus as well as to the Holy Crucifix……..And Jews offer articles of veneration to the Torah, while Muslims, too, who condemn idol worship, bow repeatedly to the Ka’aba in Holy Mecca.” I knew there were differences in explanations as to the meaning of these forms of worship, but I saw the common idea they shared, to focus on a form or sound that connects our consciousness to the divinity.

……..I told him how, when I first saw deity worship in India, it had repelled me a little, striking me as strange and superstitious. “But after spending so much time with holy people who naturally accept their deity as a form through which to communicate with the one God, I have come to accept deity worship as beautiful”

In my readings from religious books of various faiths, I had learned of how a saint’s presence is especially powerful at his tomb……….

Srila Prabhupada………. “The Lord’s impersonal, all-pervading energy is called Brahman. And Bhagavan is the personal form of God, who is the energetic source and never under the influence of illusion. Take for example the sun. The form of the sun as a planet and the formless sunlight can never be separated, as they exist simultaneously. They are different aspects of the sun. Similarly, there are two different schools of transcendentalists who focus on different aspects of the one truth. The impersonalists strive to attain liberation in the Lord’s impersonal, formless light, while the personalists strive for eternal loving service to the Lord’s all-attractive form. There is no contradiction.”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

From ‘Foreign Correspondent. Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia. Revised Edition’. Edited by John Elliott, Bernard Imhasly, Simon Denyer. # 2

Matt Miller – Indian Firm’s Success Stirs Controversy Often Aided by State Licenses, Reliance May Stumble With Gandhi. The Asian Wall Street Journal 24 June 1987

……In India, some companies are more equal than others.
On 7 May, the finance ministry lowered the consumption tax on purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, a substance used in making polyster fibre. Only one company in India is a major consumer: Reliance Industries Ltd. It stands to save Rs 225 million ($ 17.5 million) a year because of the tax change.
Government policies that appear tailor-made to benefit Reliance are nothing new. Now India’s third-largest private corporation, Reliance could hardly have risen from its humble beginnings without numerous official favours.

………During the past decade, the textile and petrochemical company has been granted industrial licenses while others waited in vain for government approval. On several occasions, Reliance, more than any other company, profited when duties were suddenly raised or lowered, or when imports were restricted.

…….In 1981, more than 400 companies applied for a license to produce polyster filament yarn; forty-three made the waiting list. Reliance was given the major license of 10,000 tons annually. Another company obtained the only other license granted, one for 6000 tons.
Reliance built a fully integrated plant. The other company, Orkay Silk Mills ltd, decided to begin production by importing polyster chips, the raw material used in making the yarn. But the government twice raised the duty on the imported chips, then banned imports altogether, effectively crippling Orkay’s production.

………in a country where it takes years to get through the bureaucracy on the simplest of requests, Reliance could obtain action in a matter of weeks.

Arthur Max – Calcutta Today. Associated Press 11 November 1990

‘Bengalis are not business people,’ says Ajay Chatterjee of the Calcutta Municipal Development Authority. ‘They love literature, songs, drama. They are not pragmatic or practical.’

……Built on mosquito-infested delta land 80 miles above the Bay of Bengal, Calcutta suffers temperatures above 100 day after day in summer. The drenching rains of the monsoon season, from July to September, bring only humidity, not relief.

British author Geoffrey Moorhouse called it an act of lunacy to build a city here. ‘Everything in Nature was against it.’

Robert Clive, who turned the East India Company into an empire for England in the 1750s, called Calcutta ‘the most wicked place in the Universe.’

Mark Twain, who visited in 1896, said the weather was ‘enough to make a brass doorknob mushy.’

…….With all its faults, most Calcuttans are intensely loyal.

‘Bengalis love their wretched city with the same passion as a mother loves her sick child,’ wrote Khushwant Singh………….

About 300,000 people have no home other than the pavement, according to some estimates……….Thirteen per cent of the street dwellers work as rickshaw pullers, earning an average 66 cents a day. It’s the last major city on earth where men pull passenger carriages like human horses.

The study estimated that 43 per cent of the city’s residents live in huts in squatter settlements, refugee colonies or slum neighbourhoods……..

But an outsider walking through even the deepest slums of Howrah senses no anger, nor danger.

……….Bettina Borgmann, a German doctor…… a slum clinic.

‘But the people surprise me. Most seem quite happy. They are content with what they have………I have never felt uncomfortable here.’

Mark Fineman – Lynchings over Caste Stir India. The Los Angeles Times 12 April 1991

From a sturdy limb of Mehrana’s holy banyan tree, Roshni, sixteen and Bijendra, twenty, were hanged just after 8 a.m. for all the village to see, a symbol of order, the elders had said, of tradition and of the village’s izzat – chastity and honour.

The young woman, Roshni, was a high-caste Hindu……one of the Jats who own the land, the village and power over the likes of Bijendra and his fellow Jatavs. Bijendra…….was from a ‘backward’ caste, traditionally so impure and inferior that they became known as Hinduism’s Untouchables.

……..They had to die. With that, even Roshni’s father, Ganga Ram, agreed.

……..And so he helped string up his daughter, her lover and the couple’s best friend from the centuries-old banyan tree. But even after three strong tugs on the rope, Roshni and Bijendra refused to die. So the Jats gathered a heap of dry wood, then dragged the young couple, writhing in pain, to the makeshift funeral pyre they had built nearby.

……..In reality, Mehrana is just 70 miles south of the capital, New Delhi.

Bernard Imhasly – Destruction of the Mosque in Ayodhya Violent Resolution of the Indian Temple Dispute. Neue Zuercher Zeitung (Switzerland) 7 December 1992

Ayodhya: On Sunday afternoon militant Hindu activists stormed the Babri mosque in Ayodhya……the central dome collapsed while the police stood by. Almost at the same moment, numerous houses and huts around the city belonging to Muslims went up in flames………

Stephen Wagstyl – The Child Victims of India’s Slave Trade. Financial Times 19 December 1992

Child labour is banned in India in many industries, including carpet weaving.

Bonded labour…….is illegal for employees of any age.

But India lacks the resources to properly police laws on child labour

…………For the most part, the boys have few complaints about their food, which consisted of thin soups, vegetables and bread. But in almost every other way they were abused. They worked twelve hours a day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with three half-hour breaks for meals – seven days a week, every week of the year.
They were rarely allowed out of the huts in which they worked and slept……….They were never paid. If they worked slowly, they were beaten, sometimes with a wooden stick. Worst of all was the common treatment for cuts to the fingers suffered during weaving. The loom owners would scrape the powder off a match on to the wound and then set fire to it to staunch the bleeding. ‘It hurt very much,’ says twelve-year old Chilatra Choudhray.
Above all, the children suffered acute psychological distress. Madan Lal’s only thought was for his mother. ‘I always missed my mother. I always cried for my mother but there was nobody there to listen.’
Satyarthi says that since the early 1980s, he has helped in the release of 5000 children, almost all of them untouchables.

Edward A. Gargan – Hindu Storm, Trust is Torn. Police Role in Bombay Riots. The New York Times 4 February 1993

Day after day after day, for nine days and nights beginning 6 January, mobs of Hindus rampaged through this city, killing and burning people only because they were Muslims. No Muslim was safe – not in the slums, not in high-rise apartments……… an orgy of violence that left 600 people dead and 2000 injured.

……..Transcripts of conversations between the police control room and officers on the streets, taken from the regular police radio band…………….show that the officers at police headquarters repeatedly told constables in the field to allow Muslim homes to burn and to prevent aid from reaching victims.

…………Throughout the nine days of rioting, witnesses said that neither the Maharashtra authorities nor the Central government in New Delhi made any effort to staunch the flow of blood…………

‘Some of the happenings in Bombay do bear a resemblance to Germany in the 1930s,’ said Nani Palkhivala, a constitutional lawyer and former Indian Ambassador to the United States. ‘These are things we have never seen in the 300 years of Bombay. People were literally burnt alive. Is this civilization? Is this humanity?’

Celia W. Dugger – Religious Riots Loom over Indian Politics. The New York Times 27 July 2002

………Mothers were skewered on swords as their children watched. Young women were stripped and raped in broad daylight, then doused with kerosene and set on fire. A pregnant woman’s belly was slit open, her foetus raised skyward on the tip of a sword and then tossed onto one of the fires that blazed across the city.

The violence raged for days and persisted for more than two months, claiming almost 1000 lives. It was driven by hatred and sparked by a terrible crime: a Muslim mob stoned a train car loaded with activists from the World Hindu Council on 27 February, then set it on fire, killing fifty-nine people, mostly women and children.

……..The day after the train attack, police officers here in Ahmedabad did not arrest a single person from among the tens of thousands who rampaged through Muslim enclaves, raping and looting as well as burning alive 124 Muslims.

Police officials and survivors said in interviews that workers and officials of the party and the council were complicit in the attacks and, in some cases, instigated the mobs.

……..In the recent carnage in Gujarat, most of those killed were Muslims. Among the survivors, 100,000 became refuges in their own country. More than 20,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, along with 360 Muslim places of worship.

……..In an interview in June, the state’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, offered no consolation to the state’s Muslims and expressed satisfaction with his government’s performance. His only regret, he said, was that he did not handle the news media better.

………..The National Human Rights Commission, headed by a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court, concluded that the state’s efforts were ‘a comprehensive failure’.

The commission released a confidential report on 12 June that named officials from the Bharatiya Janata Party who have been accused by survivors and witnesses of instigating the violence…………… ‘These are grave matters indeed,’ the commission wrote, ‘that must not be allowed to be forgiven or forgotten.’

……….in the three days after the train attack – when Muslims were overwhelmingly the victims of violence – the police killed more Muslims than Hindus, twenty-two to fourteen, in what was ostensibly an effort to stop attacks on Muslims.

An alliance of non-profit groups surveyed almost 2800 Muslim families who accused the Bharatiya Janata Party or affiliated Hindu nationalist groups of involvement in the violence. But Mr Modi dismissed the charges. ‘Not a single complaints has been registered like this,’ he insisted.

Edward Luce – Supply and Demands. What has Water to Do with Politics? In India Everything. Financial Times Weekend Magazine 24 July 2004

Most Indians have extremely limited and unreliable access to what they need most. Around three-quarters of the population have no public sanitary facilities (such as toilets). More – about 80 per cent – have no access to safe drinking water……..every year more than one million Indian children are killed by microbes in their drinking water.

Somini Sengupta – In India, Maoist Guerrilas Widen ‘People’s War’. The New York Times 13 April 2006

One senior Indian intelligence official estimated that Maoists exert varying degrees of influence over a quarter of India’s 600 districts.

Peter Foster – The Forgotten Victims of India’s Drive to Success. The Daily Telegraph 2 May 2006

While Africa hogs the headlines, the celebrity endorsements and the crisis summits the reality is that half of the world’s 146 million under-nourished children live in just three countries – India, Bangladesh and Pakistan
In China the prevalence of underweight children almost halved between 1990 and 2002 – from 19 to 8 per cent – while in India the annual rate of reduction since 1990 is less than 2 per cent.

A UN report this week put India above only Uganda when it comes to teacher absenteeism. The result is that 40 per cent of Indians still cannot read and write.

It’s worth remembering that India’s much-vaunted IT sector employs just 1.3 million people from a workforce of 400 million.

Jo Johnson – Inequality Threatens India’s Economic Boom. Financial Times 1 November 2007

‘Forty per cent of Indians are now landless and 23 per cent are in abject poverty’, said P. V. Rajagopal, vice-chairman of the Gandhi Peace Foundation……………‘Such conditions have bred Maoist insurgency in 172 of India’s 600 districts and farmers are killing themselves in 100 other districts.’

James Astill – In the Face of Chaos. The Economist 21 February 2009

…….Most Pakistanis are moderate. That is why, in last year’s unusually unrigged election, a coalition of Islamists……..did miserably, losing power in NWFP and Baluchistan. And though Punjab, where 60 per cent of Pakistanis live, is LeTs heartland, it is more orderly than sever big Indian states, and richer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

From ‘Foreign Correspondent. Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia. Revised Edition’. Edited by John Elliott, Bernard Imhasly, Simon Denyer. # 1

Robert Stimson – Goodbye to India. BBC 10 March 1949

Quite often……….one had to reexamine one’s values. I remember a story told quite casually by a distinguished Indian priest who was my fellow passenger on a long railway journey.
One day, shortly after his return to India from Oxford, the priest was in his bungalow writing his first sermon, when he looked up to find a yogi squatting cross-legged on the floor and chuckling over some very delicious private joke. The priest had never seen the yogi before and asked him what he wanted. The yogi said he’d come on a friendly mission, to warn the priest that he mustn’t be surprised if, as an evangelist, he encountered a certain mental resistance from the Hindus. And with that the yogi, still sitting cross-legged, rose gently from the floor and went on rising until his head was touching the ceiling. ‘Do you see what I mean?’ he said. Then he slowly descended and chuckling once more, walked out of the priest’s room.

……..As a rule the Indians were most considerate, partly because they value formal good manners and partly because Mr Gandhi, in his own dealings with individual Englishmen, set a good example. When political differences were at their sharpest, Mr Gandhi – Britain’s best policeman in India, as he called himself – made a point of addressing the Viceroy as ‘dear friend’.
Very few people met Mr Gandhi without feeling the pull of his disarming personality. He was immensely popular with journalists of all nationalities, because he was so accessible. He didn’t always say things that were easy to agree with, but it was a pleasure to interview him because he had an instinctive understanding of news and was a master of simple colourful English.

One doesn’t know what shape the Indian story will take in future, but its difficult to think of any change that will destroy for one passerby, the richness of certain memories: the beauty of the nights, with distant strings and drums sliding music across a valley; the Madrassi who walked more than ten or twelve miles a day for many months to talk to a foreigner about the Gita; the exquisite decorum of a Rajput aristocrat; a villager coming forward on a hot morning and shyly offering a newly cut melon; the perfection of rice properly cooked; a young peasant couple walking to the fair and carrying their new shoes so that they’d look shiny when they arrived; a Muslim woman riding a bicycle in a burqua – a thousand things, but especially the quality of an Indian friendship, which once given is given unconditionally and for life.

Gerald Priestland – The Delhi Scene. BBC 1954-58
Delhi is three inhabited cities and three or four more in ruins on the plains round about. No other capital in modern Asia, with the possible exception of Peking (which I do not know) offers such a picture book of its own history.

Gerald Priestland – With Nehru Around India. BBC 1954-58

One of my first discoveries about India was that in spite of being an obviously well-to-do imperialist entirely surrounded by poverty, one was perfectly safe in these enormous crowds. Nobody stabbed you or robbed you or even jostled you – indeed, if you started giving them orders they instinctively obeyed………………In one corner of Andhra state, eight years after Independence, I came across an English collector with his English police sergeant running their district as if the viceroy were still in Delhi

…….for India is not China and never will be; Indians are not Chinese, to be turned in their tracks like vast regimented armies…………if anyone was allergic to collectivism it was the Hindus…………There were times when I found myself writing: ‘This country is doomed; if it does not starve to death or perish of the plague it will surely explode in bloody revolution.’ But India has done none of these things.

Contrary to the belief of many Westerners, India is not a profoundly spiritual country but a profoundly materialistic one. The object of most religious practice is to ensure material success.

…….The really extraordinary thing about Hinduism is that, far from producing a grim and depressed society, it produces one that is full of music and dancing, brilliant colours, feasts and festivals. When, later, I was posted to the Middle East I was struck by the drabness and dourness of the Arabs compared with the Indians, and by how much more the Arabs complained in spite of their relative prosperity. I would not wish to be a Hindu myself – anyway, they are born, not made – but Hinduism has served India well.

…….Nehru……….Like the best of the British who educated him, and like his father Motilal before him, he had a profound sense of public service and of duty to his people. I say ‘his’ people because it seems to me that in a House-of-Windsor way Jawaharlal Nehru developed a sense of royalty that was really the essence of his powers. It was as if he had been born and brought up to the job. He knew that he had to do it, that only he could do it, so he did it with modesty yet authority and never failed to be fascinated by the way it worked with the crowds.

Gerald Priestland – Goa Showdown. BBC 1954-58

……….the last of the colonies left in India, for the Portugese had been there since 1524 and saw no reason to give up just because newcomers like the British and the French were leaving. This was awkward for the Indians. Having persuaded the British to quit by (more or less) non-violent means, and being in the business of deploring the use of armed force by everyone else, it would have looked bad for India to turn her army loose on a few thousand Portugese……….And if the Portugese really were the monsters they were supposed to be, surely the Goanese……..would liberate themselves, non-violently, of course.

There were at least two flaws in this argument. The first was that the Goanese rather enjoyed having a foot in both worlds – the Indian and the European – and were in no hurry to see their pleasant Catholic homeland liberated by pagans. The second was that the Portugese were not cricket-playing Englishmen but nasty fascist policemen, whose motto, constantly repeated, was, ‘Authority must be respected, orders must be obeyed.’

Arthur Bonner – India’s Masses The Public that Can’t Be Reached. The Atlantic October 1959
Two years ago a research team………surveyed 150 villages in…..four Hindi-speaking states of north-central India. They found that six out of sixty-seven persons selected at random were entirely ignorant of the fact that the British no longer ruled India.
……..the researchers found that fifty-four out of 314 respondents did not know the name of their own country. Some, however, were aware of the word Bharat (India)…….when…..asked what Bharat signified, they said they did not know.

……The rules for handling correspondence at the district level in Uttar Pradesh have changed little since they were drawn up in 1880. A letter has to pass through forty-one distinct steps and be entered in dozens of registers before it is answered. Throughout India, the government moves so slowly………

Arthur Bonner – Tragedy of Tibet. The Saturday Evening Post 9 September 1961
After the Dalai Lama escaped to India. The Chinese, with their superior weapons,…….trained soldiers, soon took over the major towns and most populated valleys. First they smashed the revolt and then they began to destroy traditional Tibetan culture.
Thousands of monks were swept into concentration camps, and a systematic program of degradation began.

The worst Tibetan criminals in the Chinese view are the so-called ‘upper strata’…….After perfunctory trials they are routinely sentenced to twenty years in prison……..slave labour from which few survive. A Tibetan who escaped from a slave gang working on a mountain road told me his Chinese guards made a practice of setting off dynamite blasts without warning. If a man was injured but could still work, he was put back to work. But if a bone was broken and he was helpless the guards would simply toss him down the Cliffside. Prisoners who collapsed or died from hunger or exposure were left where they lay. When about a dozen of them had accumulated a pit was dug and all were thrown in – the partially alive as well as the dead.

Because of last year’s formation of ill-planned communes, which left large areas unsown, along with the influx of hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians, and perhaps the food crisis in China itself, Tibet is now experiencing its first famine in history.

‘The Chinese are an ancient nation,’ the Indian, who spent some years in Peking, continued. ‘They think in terms of centuries. They take infinite pains and have infinite patience. In Tibet they are preparing actions elsewhere, perhaps in Laos or Vietnam. They are sending their technicians to the Middle East, Africa and Cuba. They will plan and wait – and strike when they find a weak point.’

James Cameron – The Death of Nehru. The Daily Herald 28 May 1964
Seventeen years ago he undertook the incredible task of trying to make a viable democracy out of the most fantastic pattern of ex-Imperial wastelands, kingdoms, princely states and minor satrapies the world ever knew.
……..He was melancholy, irascible, intolerant of lesser men. He seemed to the very end incapable of delegating responsibility…….nothing grew in the shadow of that tremendous tree………He seemed to me then, and for years to come, to be the only man in the business who clung to the more reasonable values of politics, perversely pursuing the principle of humanity without appearing to mock it.

Peter R. Kann – Dacca Diary. The Wall Street Journal 14 December 1971

THURSDAY, DEC 9…………..We drive around the city and see few soldiers, but we see a West Pakistani policeman beating a Bengali with a stick, Consistent to the end.

FRIDAY, DEC 10………..Bengalis in Dacca all seem convinced that the bombs that landed on civilian areas the past two nights, including the one that hit the orphanage, were dropped by Pakistani planes so civilian casualties could be blamed on India………Evidence still circumstantial……..But one diplomat says ‘Anyone who has been here since March wouldn’t blink an eye at the Paks doing something like that.’

Peter R. Kann – Dacca Diary II. The Wall Street Journal 21 December 1971

THURSDAY, DEC 16…………..The city is full of panicky men with guns: excited young Muktis, confused Indians and frightened Pak troops who are trying to surrender but who don’t know how or where to do so.
………Its 5 p.m., and reporters rush to golf course for formal surrender ceremony. Surrender papers are signed in quadruplicate. Takes a while because Gen. Niazi reads the documents as if for the first time. Scene after signing is complete chaos. Mob trying to carry Indian generals on shoulders, Pak generals being jostled by crowds…..
……At 5.55 p.m. two Soviet correspondents arrive. ‘We are Tass and Pravda. We have just arrived. What is the news?’ they say.

Matt Miller – Indian Phones Stuck in Primitive State. The Asian Wall Street Journal 17 September 1986

Poor telecommunications service is often cited by foreign businessmen as a major impediment to operating in India……..its often easier to place an international call than a domestic one…….Last month, former home minister P.C.Sethi, upset at being unable to place a call from New Delhi to Bombay, descended on a telephone exchange in the middle of the night, packing a revolver and accompanied by two armed bodyguards. Heated words, pushing and shoving followed. The next day, telephone operators…..retaliated with a two-day strike. Others, however, applauded Mr. Sethi. ‘I’ve received fifty telegrams and 100 to 125 letters,’ he said. ‘All of them support me.’

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OshoSpeak – 2010: #3

From ‘Vedanta. Seven Steps to Samadhi. Talks on the Akshi Upanishad’

When you go to sleep tonight………..before going to sleep put off the light, sit on your bed, close your eyes and exhale deeply through the mouth with the sound O – Ooooo. Go on exhaling with the sound O, as deeply as possible. Your stomach goes in, the air moves out, and you go on creating the sound O. Remember, I am not saying aum, I am saying simply O. It will become aum automatically. You need not make it, then it is false. You simply create the sound O. When it becomes more harmonious and you are enjoying it, suddenly you will become aware it has become aum. But don’t force it to become aum, then it is false. When it becomes spontaneously aum then it is something vibrating from within. And this sound aum is the deepest sound, the most harmonious, the most basic.

When it happens and you enjoy and you flow in its music, your whole body and your brain relax. With the sound aum you will go on relaxing and your sleep will have a different quality, altogether different. And your sleep has to be changed, only then can you become more alert and aware.

A lion jumping on an animal and eating it, tearing it – is he bad or good? Is he evil? If we interpret then it looks very evil, violent. But the lion is not doing anything, he is simply eating. He is not aware of anything – of what is good and what is bad.

……And the same happens to the sage. When a man becomes enlightened the man has disappeared from him with all the interpretations, judgements. He has become pure…………The mind has been dropped. He is conscious, fully conscious, but with no contents to project. He looks at the world as it is, without any interpretation. And for the first time he comes to know reality.

Jesus says, “Judge ye not, so ye may not be judged.”

If judgement disappears, you have become innocent. If you don’t divide things into good and bad, ugly and beautiful, acceptable and nonacceptable; if you don’t divide things, if you look at reality without any division, your eyes will come into existence for the first time…………..There is nothing good or nothing bad – existence accepts everything. And when you also accept everything you have become existence-like. You have become one with it.
……….Morality, immorality – both are hindrances. When you transcend both you have transcended the mind

The word upanishad……..means sitting by the side of the master………not doing anything…… is a question of being – absorbing the master. That’s what is meant in Christianity when Christ said, “Eat me. I will become your food.”

One of the greatest Tibetan mystics, Marpa, is reported to have said……..Somebody asked him, “Can’t scriptures help?” He said, “They can. They can help you to go beyond scriptures. That is their only use. Read the scriptures, study them; they will help you to understand that scriptures are useless, and the truth cannot be attained through them.”

The sage Sankriti then said to the sun god:
O Lord, please teach me the supreme knowledge.

The sun god said:
I shall now explain to you this most rare knowledge, upon the attainment of
which you will become free while yet dwelling in this body. See in all beings
the Brahman, who is one, unborn, still, imperishable, infinite, immutable
and conscious; so seeing live in peace and bliss. Do not see anything except
the self and the supreme. This state is known as yoga.
Rooted thus in yoga, carry out your deeds.

The mind of one who is thus rooted in yoga gradually withdraws
from all desires, and the seeker feels blissful while engaging himself
each day in meritorious acts. He has no interest whatsoever
in the contrary efforts of the ignorant.
He never betrays the secrets of one to another;
And he occupies himself solely with lofty deeds.

He performs only such gentle acts as do not disturb others. He fears sin and
does not crave any self-indulgence. He utters loving and affectionate words.
He lives in the company of saints and studies the scriptures. With complete
unity of mind, speech and action he follows them. Seeking to cross
the ocean that is the world,
he cultivates the above-mentioned ideas. And he is called a beginner,
one performing his preliminaries. This is called the first stage.

All the religions which have penetrated very deep – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, three religions which have penetrated very deep into the soul of man – they all believe in reincarnation. Mohammedanism, Christianity and Judaism don’t believe in reincarnation, but they never worked very hard; they never penetrated the heart of man very deeply. They remained social phenomena, they were more sociopolitical, less religious. The whole history of Islam is sociopolitical, and whenever anybody in the fold of Islam tried to penetrate deeply, he was immediately destroyed and killed.

For example, al-Hillaj Mansoor, he was a man of the same caliber as Buddha, a man who penetrated deeply. When he came to feel that he is Brahman, he is God, he declared it. He said, “Ana’l haq – I am Brahman.”

But this appeared blasphemy to Mohammedans, and they immediately killed him. They said, “This is impossible. At the most you can be a worshipper, but you cannot become God. This is too much, this cannot be tolerated………”
They killed Mansoor, they killed many Sufis. In Islam only Sufis penetrated deeply. Sufism is the central core of Islam, the essential Islam – but Islam killed them. So just to survive Sufis disappeared. They became a secret society and they compromised.
…………..Christianity also remained a sociopolitical phenomenon. It created kingdoms. Even the pope himself became a king, and he still rules a small kingdom, the Vatican. Eckhart, Boehme and Blake were never accepted, the main current never accepted them – and many were destroyed and killed.

……..there is no need to escape to the forest. The Upanishads were never life-negative, remember this. There is a deep misunderstanding in the West, and it has been created by one of the most sincere men of this age, Albert Schweitzer.…….He created the idea in the West that the Upanishads are life-negative……..This is wrong, absolutely wrong. The Upanishads are life-affirming. They don’t say, “Move away from life”; they simply say; “Know the deepest life and then act.”

These Upanishadic rishis were not lifelong brahmacharins, bachelors. They were not: they were married people, they had children, they had their families………..they have not renounced life…..

There are two paths, negative and positive, and you have to choose. Either be totally positive, then you transcend; or be totally negative, then you transcend. Either trust life absolutely, then you go beyond life; or mistrust life absolutely, then also you go beyond life.

…………Both Buddha and Mahavira were more interested in death than in birth. But Hinduism is not negative, and the Upanishads are not negative……….Hinduism affirms life. The rishis were not unmarried men, they were householders

…… Buddhism and Jainism, desires have to be left consciously, effort has to be made to leave them and when you leave them you will be rooted in yourself. In Hinduism it is just the contrary: get rooted in yourself and desires will leave you. Buddha is negative: leave the desires and you will be rooted in yourself. Hinduism is positive: be rooted in yourself and desires will leave you.

It works both ways – it depends on you. If you are a negative type, a person to whom no comes easily, then follow the negative path………

In Christianity God is something like an aristocrat, something like a dictator………You disobey, and you will suffer and he will punish you. And he is very ferocious in punishment. For small sins…………you will be thrown into hell. And Christianity says that it is forever and forever, the hell is eternal. That doesn’t seem justified……The Christian God cannot be playful. He is serious and ferocious, and he will take revenge. Hinduism cannot conceive of that…………..That is the sin in Christianity – disobedience. In Hinduism there is no question of disobedience or obedience. It is a simple natural law; just as water flows downwards, if you follow natural laws you will be happy. There is no one to decide it, it is a simple happening – if you follow natural laws you will be happy. If you don’t follow natural laws, you go against them, you will be unhappy. Nobody is taking any revenge, and you are not going to be thrown into eternal hell. If you don’t follow, for the time being you will suffer. Immediately you come back to the law the suffering stops.

Now follow the traits of seekers of the second stage,
Called the stage of thought.
He lives in the care of learned men who explain best what
listening, remembering, right conduct, contemplation -

dharana – and meditation are. Having acquired knowledge of such
scriptures as are worth listening to, he efficiently discriminates
between what is duty and what is not, and he knows well the division
between a word and the thing it symbolizes.
His mind does not suffer from an excess of conceit, pride, greed and
attachment, although externally they are apparent to some extent.
He gives up his external impurities as a snake casts off its slough.
Such a seeker acquires the actual
knowledge of all these things with the grace of the scriptures,
the guru, and the sages.

After this the seeker enters the third stage of yoga
which is known as nonattachment. He fixes his mind unwaveringly
on the meaning of scriptural words.
He lives in the monasteries, ashrams, of saints well established
in austerities. He occupies himself with the discussion of the
scriptures and sleeps on a rocky bed. Thus it is that he lives his life.
Because he has attained peace of mind, the man of good conduct
spends his time in the enjoyment of pleasures that come naturally to
him from his excursions into the forest.
He remains detached however, from the objects of desires.
Through the ritual of meritorious deeds and the cultivation of right
scriptures, he attains that clarity of vision which sees reality.
On completing this stage,
the seeker experiences a glimpse of enlightenment

In the West it has been very much misunderstood; they think that these Indian mystics have called the world illusory. They have not called the world illusory, they call the world you have created around you illusory. And everybody has created a world around himself that is not the real world, that is just your projection. You have got attached to certain things, then you project your dreams onto the reality. By nonattachment, reality is not going to be destroyed; only your dreams will be destroyed, and reality will be revealed to you as it is. So nonattachment becomes a very basic step, very foundational.

So fixation of the mind on one content is one of the essential requirements for any seeker – that he should remain with one thought for long periods. Once you can remain with one thought for long periods, you yourself will see that this thought is creating attachment, this thought is creating a world around it, this thought is the basic seed of all illusion. And if you can retain a thought for long periods, you have become the master……….And if you can remain with one thought for long period you can drop it also……..The instrument – mind is just an instrument – has become the soul, and the soul has become the servant. This is the perversion and this is the misery of human beings.

Fixation of the mind will give you a penetrating eye. That eye has been known in the occult world as the third eye.

Animals’ backbones are parallel to the earth, only man has a backbone which is not parallel to the earth but makes an angle of ninety degrees…….created the possibility for the mind to develop………Less blood flows in the head, so the head and the nervous system there can become more delicate and refined. When more blood flows in the head the subtle tissues are broken, they cannot grow.

So don’t do too much shirshasana………..when more blood moves into the had delicate tissues are destroyed, and those delicate tissues are needed for intelligence. When man stood erect the possibility developed for more delicate tissues in the head.
You see primitives sleep without pillows, and they will remain primitives if they continue to sleep without pillows. He may not be healthier, but intelligence needs a certain mechanism in the mind, a very delicate intelligence.

Yoga worked very much on the spine, because yogis became aware of its significance – that the spine is your life…….They worked out many postures, asanas; all their asanas are based on an erect spine, straight. The straighter it is, the more is the possibility to grow in intelligence, awareness.

At the third stage a glimpse comes, but remember well, don’t think that this is enlightenment. And this can happen even through chemical help also……LSD, marijuana, or other drugs………they can force……..a moment clouds disappear; suddenly you are thrown to a point from where the peak can be glimpsed. But this is no attainment……when you come back from the trip you are the same again……….the more you take the less will be the possibility of even the glimpse, because the body gets accustomed and then a greater quantity is needed. Then you are on a path which will lead to insanity and nowhere else.

………..Only sadhana, only spiritual discipline, will help you grow.

There are two kinds of nonattachment:
The ordinary and the sublime.
That attitude of nonattachment to the objects of desire in which the
Seeker knows that he is neither the doer nor the enjoyer,
Neither the restrained not the restrainer, is called ordinary
Nonattachment. He knows that whatever faces him in this life
Is the result of the deeds of his past life.
Whether in pleasure or in pain, he can do nothing.
Indulgence is but a disease and affluence of all kinds a storehouse of
Adversity. Every union leads inevitably to separation.
The ignorant suffer the maladies of mental anxiety.
All material things are perishable, because time is constantly
Devouring them. Through the understanding of scriptural precepts,
One’s faith in material things is unrooted
And one’s mind freed of them.
This is called ordinary nonattachment.

When thoughts like: “I am not the doer, my past deeds are the doers,
Or God himself is the doer,” cease to worry the seeker,
A state of silence, equilibrium and peace is attained.
This is called sublime nonattachment.

With every menses every woman becomes depressed, violent, angry, and her intelligence goes low. It is now proven fact…….
In the East it has been one of the traditions that whenever a woman is in her period she should not make any contact with anybody. She should move into a lonely room and remain closed and meditating for four days, because if she is out mixing with people she will create unnecessary bad karmas and they will create chains. She should not touch food, because she is in such a chaos that the food becomes poisonous.
………A woman in menses should not be in contact with people, it is better if she simply meditates and rests. Such periods are with men also, but they are more subtle……..

It is very difficult, particularly for the Western mind, to understand that life is purposeless. And it is beautiful that it is purposeless………The East says life is not a business, it is a play. And a play has no purpose really, it is nonpurposeful. Or you can say play is its own purpose, to play is enough. Life is not reaching towards some goal, life itself is the goal.

Christians, Jews and Mohammedans are very serious about their god; Hindus are not, they have joked a lot.……You feel that through your humour, your joke, he will be insulted. Your belief is shallow, it is not deep enough. Hindus say that the trust is so much that they can laugh; the trust is so much that just by laughing it cannot be broken………In English we have a word. God-fearing, for religious people. A God-fearing person can never be religious, because if you fear God you cannot love him………with fear there can be a relationship between a slave and a master but there cannot be a love relationship. Hindus, Buddhists have a totally different attitude, and that attitude is different because they think the whole existence is a cosmic play, you can be playful.

On the attainment of the fifth state, the mind of the seeker ceases,
like clouds in an autumn sky, and only truth remains.
In this stage, worldly desires do not arise at all.
During this state all thoughts of division in the seeker are stilled
and he remains rooted in nonduality.
On the disappearance of the feeling of division, the fifth stage,
known as the sushuptapad – sleeping -
draws the enlightened seeker into its nature.
He is perpetually introverted and looks tired and sleepy,
even though externally he continues his everyday activities.
On the accompaniment of this stage, the desire-free seeker enters
the sixth one. Both truth and untruth, both egoism and egolessness
and all sorts of mentations cease to exist in this state,
and rooted in pure nonduality, the seeker is free from fear.
As the entanglements of his heart dissolve, so all his doubts drop.
This is the moment when he is completely emptied of all thought.
Without attaining nirvana, he is in a nirvana-like state
and becomes free while yet dwelling in the body.
This state is like that of the motionless flame of a lamp.
and then comes the seventh stage.

After the third stage everything becomes spontaneous……….The first three you have to force to happen, they will not happen by themselves. After the third you have to allow them to happen, if you don’t allow they will not happen.

A person who is in the fifth stage will have many difficulties in the world because he will move sleepily. He is constantly deep in his nature, as is fast asleep. He will have to make effort to be awake. He will be introverted, he will not be interested in the outside world…….eyes……..will be droopy, tired…………His face will show the same state as that of a hypnotized medium. The face will be relaxed, as if he can fall any moment into sleep. He will become just like a child again…………….He has to be taken care of just like a child. He will be asleep and you need not disturb him, because the more he remains in this state the sooner the sixth will follow……….This is what Jesus says: “Unless you become like children again, you will not enter into the kingdom of my God.” The fifth stage will make you again a child.

…… the fifth untruth disappears, truth remains. In the sixth even truth disappears…….Ego disappears in the fifth………..In the sixth stage ego disappears, egolessness also.

In this seventh stage, the stage of videhamukti,
liberation while living in the body is achieved. This stage is totally silent
and cannot be communicated in words.
It is the end of all stages, where all the processes of yoga come to their
conclusion. In this stage, all activities – worldly, bodily and scriptural -
cease. The whole universe in the form of the world – viswa,
intelligence – prajna, and radiance – tejas, is just aum.
There is no division here between speech and the speaker.
If however any such division remains, the state has not been attained.
The first sound ‘a’ of aum, stands for the world,
the second ‘u’ for radiance and the third ‘m’ for intelligence.

Before entering samadhi, the seeker should contemplate on aum most
strenuously, and subsequently he should surrender everything, from gross to
subtle to the conscious self. Taking the conscious self as his own self,
he should consolidate this feeling: I am eternal, pure, enlightened, free,
existential, incomparable, the most blissful Vasudeva and Pranava himself.

Since the whole visible world comprising a beginning, a middle and an end,
is sorrow-stricken, he must renounce everything
and merge into the supreme. He should feel that he is blissful,
taintless, without ignorance, without appearance,
inexpressible in words, and that he is Brahman,
the essence of knowledge.

This is the Upanishadic mystery.