Realizations The Autobiography
of Julian Lee / COPYRIGHT
2009 JULIAN LEE
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My Yogananda's meditation techniques, and the very most important one, are given out freely in "lessons" that you can request from the administrative organization he left behind, Self Realization Fellowship. This easy availability of the lessons and that technique, I would offer, tends to fool people. It fools some people into not realizing the preciousness of the gift, or its efficacy. Over a long span of time it has occurred to me that attitude is everything in the spiritual life. The attitude with which you approach the guru, and any information he gives you through any channel, is of great importance. I think I was fortunate to be in the right attitude. My early Catholic upbringing had instilled in me some sense of devotion, which the Hindus call "bhakti." I had the idea of reverence. This is something that the Catholic Church is very good at. The whole thrust of Catholic Churches and icons; the way they are built, serves to evoke feelings of reverence. Reverence is, in fact, one of the great components of bhakti and perhaps one of it's greatest components. With full devotion one feels reverence for the object of his devotion. Rapture is not far away. Truly, you get from a guru, and from a technique, according to your attitude first, and according to your assiduity in practicing it, second.
I have met people, including many people deeply into the SRF movement, and many avid followers of Yogananda, and chatted with them. Many times I have been surprised and confused by how little they seemed to have derived from those lessons or the technique. I often had the impression that they did not really view the lessons as being important. More amazingly, it seemed they did not view that technique as important, which is sometimes called "the first kriya." They seemed to be always interested in "higher initiations," especially what they called "the second kriya."
What happened with me is I was never interested in any "higher initiation" because I became so engrossed in the first one, freely given by mail in the lessons. I was getting so much bliss in that, and finding so many depths, that it never occurred to me to seek out any "higher initiation." It was all I wanted and all I needed. What happens is that if you love and value that first initiation, you get everything.
Seek And Ye Shall Find
In my teens I studied becoming a priest. My dad seemed to be quietly happy about that, which surprised me. Then I found that priests had no answers to my questions about religion, Christ, and God. At least the priest who came to my house. The one my mother invited me into her studio to meet. I guess they had responded to my letter to some of the orders. My mother shepherded me into the room to "meet Father so-and-so." But they stupidly didn't say what it was about. I would have been delighted if he had come out with it and acknowledged that he knew I was interested in being a priest. What's to be ashamed of? It was the 70's. Priests had lost confidence. The times were raising questions that they were not answering well. (This was just my own sin manifesting as world confusion.) So it was a lame meeting and a lame conversation. I didn't know why that fellow had become a priest. He did not seem to have been interested in any of life's big questions, because he had not even the semblance of an answer for any. Then I spent my young life trying to sort out what was essential to Christianity and what wasn't. I made many mistakes. But as Christ said, "Seek, and you shall find." So the quest was not without fruit.
My nose is now noticeably red from meditation, which draws the life force up to higher bodily centers and away from lower, and reduces my sense awareness. You may not have heard of this phenomenon. Well, by the grace of my guru I can report about a number of phenomenon such as this, things only known in remote corners of India. My extremities are somewhat numb from this practice of withdrawing energy from the senses. I can feel my feet just enough to walk. I also developed two long, vertical indentations up my skull. Fruit of meditation which makes you more intuitive. Indian yogis, saddhus, and meditators represent these by painting two long parallel lines up their foreheads with chalk.
These are not "Catholic" things. But then again, some of them are.
I hear the blissful inner sound of Aum, and feel it's vibration in my body, at all times except when in traffic outdoors. This has been true for many years and came after long practicing Yogananda's first two kriyas. I never had to make effort to do the second kriya (listening for aum), because I did the first one so assiduously that I was soon hearing Aum with open ears. For some time I did not know what it was and was asking other persons, "Do you hear a sound like this...?" So the 2nd kriya came easy to me by doing the first one well, and with devotion for the guru.
Going to India Within
If I concentrate on it, I come so close to truly "falling in" that I pull away. It is truly the Comforter. Just a bit of it is enough, and I hear more than that. I see the divine light of bindu usually several times a day.
One day I asked a saint, Karunamayi, to give me the experience of the highest samadhi. I had written my request on a card in the clearest, most beautiful handwriting I could manage. I specifically asked for a kind of samadhi called "nirvikalpa samadhi." The card said, "Oh Thou Great Shiva! Please grant me nirvikalpa samadhi." And it asked for one more wish. I said all this because I knew it was true, that she was a nirvikalpa guru. I had never seen one, nor handed a card to anybody. I just knew it.
Karunamayi was a wish-fulfilling guru. Any great God-merged guru is "the wish-fulfilling tree." If such a guru says a thing will happen, it happens. You simply have to get them to say it. This is one of the siddhis or spiritual powers of those merged in God. It was actually how Christ did much of what He did. By saying it. A God-merged person creates reality with his speech, as God is described as doing in the first Book of the Bible. Then for devotees God makes everything true through speech, starting with His primordial divine sound. As she looked at the card her little hand tenderly stroked my head as she said, "My son, this will very soon come true." She normally handed back the card to those who approached her with one. But my card she kept, and she did this on more than one occasion. I thought it was a good sign.
In 21 days it descended on me and went on for two nights and a day. It took hold of me like a beast and I found that I fought it off, in concern and some fear. As the process appeared it just brushed up against me as from behind and I felt the welling up of never-known Greatest Bliss. I had been tipped back in my chair as it came on. Fearing I would fall back I straightened and tried to shake it off, trying to focus on my room. I had been like a small bliss fish up to then, and I thought I knew joy. But now I found I was a very small bliss fish indeed. It would be as if a minnow thought he was the biggest fish of the pond, lifelong. Then suddenly he feels something brush up against his little minnow spine: the touch of the inconceivably large Blue Whale. That was how this bliss seemed compared to my usual bliss: vast, immeasurable, and all-fulfilling. This bliss was very emotional. By immediate instinct I knew it was taking my mind. I knew I would fall backwards onto the floor in my wooden chair. So I wrested away from it.
Immediately as it came, my breath was removed from my lungs utterly. I didn't exhale it. Everything in my lungs just noticeably disappeared, vacated. As if a great, calm hand pressed down on my chest, pressing me down. But it was loving and safe. I was aware that my heart was not beating. I knew both feelings because I had gone through them in semi-sleep states. The chest cavity feels strangely vacant, cool, and immense. I knew the feeling from before in sleep and semi-sleep states, and understood it. But I'd never had it so clearly in the fully conscious state. It is a strange state and only assiduous yogis get comfortable with it. I found I wasn't yet.
I stood up, but the state kept coming on, including the cessation of heartbeat. That oceanic emotional bliss was gone now. Instead my consciousness was aware of nothing but "I exist," and now a very fine, very keen or "high pitched" bliss instead. I found I could walk around in this state, touch things, and do things -- but the world seemed a phantasm. Now there was a tug-of-war in me, between the "above" uncreated realm and this world. The samadhi kept trying to take my mind away from "world," to make the world disappear, and I kept struggling to keep aware and connected to this life below. I laid down to sleep, hoping to escape into the dream world. In sleep I was in-and-out of this pure "I am" state, dreams, and awareness of my body. My heart remained shut down.
When I woke I felt the samadhi come for my mind again and again throughout the day, like a great pull that wanted me to turn to the transcendental and make the world dissolve. And I kept shaking it off and trying to anchor in the world. By now I had sensed the power and profundity of what was happening and had begun to have an emotional reaction to it. I knew that if I gave myself over to it I could never be the same person after. I feared I would not be able to carry on with my life, my duties, my bills, my clients, or my children's needs. This was all delusive ego talking, of course, because the Divine would have taken care of everything. But I felt I was attached to the limited, dualistic life I had always known. But the samadhi had me in its jaws and kept taking my mind with force. I began to beg to God:
"God, I still like the idea of setting a child on my knee, and pointing out a star, and speaking to her as if it is a distant thing, and separate from us. I'm not done with all the experiences and stories this dualistic life, this world of separateness, can offer." I wasn't ready to be a Nityananda, a blissed out avadhut, laying like a log in the street, incompetent for this world but a beacon of divinity to all. I was too used to this karma and this game.
A clear vision came to me of what was happening and the decision I was making. It was like a family that had spent its life traveling, like gypsies. Lifelong they had journeyed in quest of the Holy City. All their fathers and mothers had been traveling, too. And the grandfathers before that. All they had known was traveling, traveling -- trying to get to the Holy City. Everything was organized around it, all their relationships, and this was the life they knew well. Suddenly they come over the crest of a highland and, Lo! The Holy City! It sparkles. It's immense. It's a sight they've never seen. They know it's full of good things. They know it's full of many living beings, most greater and different from them. What would be the psychology of such a family? Such a caravan? How would they really react upon coming over that crest? First joy, wonderment, thanks. Then some fear. Because they would know that their entire way of life was about to end. They were about to enter the Divine, but it was the divine Unknown to their minds. What they would do, most of them, would be to set up camp there near the city, on the crest of the hill. Then they'd begin to make expeditions into its fringes. Get to know some of its lesser inhabitants, and get used to the idea of ending the life they'd known for so long. This was the decision I was making: To set up camp near the edge of the Great Holy City, to remain close, but to not fully enter.
So I turned away from the final attainment of yogis, though I learned what it was like, and was well comforted by this event in my life, knowing that my austerities, meditation, and spiritual search had not been without fruit. But I was never bereaved about it, because I already had two things that were full well enough, and one was my devotion for guru, and the other was Om. These are full well enough for my life.
And this was the fulfillment of a prophetic indicator in my original initiation dreams. In those dreams I decided that I was not ready to merge with the light yet and end "the game." But I also constructed this -- during the dreams -- as a concept that not doing so would allow me to benefit "others" still in the game. This is the Bodhisattva illusion. There's really nobody "out there" to save. All exterior flaws are projections of your own impurity. But it is fun to think there is and stay in "the game." This so-called "Bodhisattva vow" is nothing but a decision by those who still are enjoying the dualistic game and don't want to end it yet. That's all it is. It is supposedly made because the yogi is deciding not to get enlightenment until "all others are enlightened." But true knowers know there is nobody really "out there" to save. All "unenlightened external people" in your world-dream are nothing but the projections of one's own dualistic impurities and karmas. As you purify yourself, the world gets purified or "saved" on it's own. Then when in the dualistic world, one tries to do his duty to the people. But always keeping in the back of his mind: "All this is just me." The Bhagavad-Gita states that the yogic sages attains an awareness that "there is no longer any [external] work to be done."
After a second night in this fight with the great tiger of samadhi, I woke up in a normal state.
One fascinating fact is what I was doing at the time the samadhi came on. There was something in particular that I was reading, and I can't help but believe, know -- that there was a definite connection between the timing of samadhi and what I was reading. It was an article about the natural noble instincts of males to do anything for the protection of their women and children, all the way up to total self-sacrifice.
The article described a terrible event in California. An angry employee had entered an office building with a shotgun, and was stalking through the building blasting whoever he could find. It told of a couple who worked there, a young husband and wife. People were trying to barricade themselves in their offices, but the killer was shooting through locks and murdering them anyway. The young man had been separated from his wife in the building. When he realized what was happening he went directly to find her knowing the shooter was coming that way. He got to her office just in time to place his body over her as the gunman burst through the door. One more shotgun blast later, the killer was taken down by S.W.A.T. But the young man, laying over his wife, was dead. His wife and mother of his child survived unharmed.
It was as I read that sentence that my nirvikalpa samadhi came on.
The Warrior's Yoga
He did it without a second thought, because she was her wife and mother of his children, and he was a man.
The Bhagavad-Gita is one of the richest and most abstruse religious scriptures in the world. It's entire theme is the quest to re-unite with God through various techniques called "yogas." It is like an enumeration and explication of the various yogas that the great Vedantic culture of India evolved for effecting the Divine reunion. So it ranges all over -- from the detached and God-focused attitude of the "karma yogi" (not 'doing good deeds,' but doing whatever is duty with detachment and thought of the guru or deity) -- to the "bhakti" or devotional attitude, to arcane verses about breathing techniques and discussions of the various lower gods. But the outstanding theme is that the whole conversation takes place in the midst of a battle, on a battlefield, and is given to a warrior undergoing stress over the war.
The truth is that warriors, always doing their duty, and always facing death, get close to God automatically. They are the ultimate karma yogis, doing duty alone with no thought of self and with detachment from outcomes. The warrior is surrendering himself and his ego for duty. Surrendering the self and the ego is the very goal of the highest spiritual practices of yoga. It is because warriors, in fact, have a transcendental experience on the battlefield with their fellows that the ordinary world always seems dull and empty ever after. They learn to ignore the frightening "wrathful deities" of the battlefield and hew to one focus, duty alone. This is yoga. Then by doing their duty with no selfishness or clinging to security, they attract a divine blessing. So this is one form of yoga that is not explicitly named in the great Bhagavad-Gita. But it did not need to be, because this warrior yoga is being described in the book from start to finish. It is the very substrate of the book. The warrior knows he could die at any moment, or lose his worldly station, and looks right in the face of death. In doing this, he necessarily comes into his "self" -- the self that abides through all changes and conditions. Trauma and emotional disturbance come more for a warrior when he is filled with fear, disconnected from divine faith, and overcome with emotion. That is, when he is not spiritually prepared for war.
As with most tales, myths, and folk legends -- they contain truth and are founded on reality. Such is true of the tales and scriptures about the reward of a warrior. I have found in my life that the more I do my duty, regardless of the consequences -- the more divine and occult blessings come to me such as inner divine sound, and miraculous solutions. When you do your duty with no thought of self -- even unto death -- your own soul rewards you in the next state because your soul knows the truth about what you did.
Thus it was that while reading about the detached yoga of a young warrior in a California office building, who laid over his cowering wife as a powerful shotgun drew upon him -- that I was given the gift of samadhi.
As time passed this experience -- along my initiation dreams and experiences I've had in meditation and sleep -- gave me much to think about and ponder. It gave me awareness of the kinds of experiences, sensations, and soul situations we experience in the death process, and how long conditioning and clarity of purpose are required to make the higher use of them. I have been able to write about the death process for the minds of my White European people, perhaps in a more accessible and critically-focused way than is in available in such texts as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Because of the samadhi experience and others, I think about the coming death event -- and the huge opportunities of it -- on a daily basis.
Religious Confusion of the Westerners
On November 21st, 2009 I attended a strange event. It was also a wonderful event. Jai Uttal, the singer, was having what was called a "kirtan." I have attended such strange events many times over the years. But the strangeness of these events is never lost on me. At this event there was a great room full of people who tend to reject Christianity and even religion. They were a group of young western liberals and leftist types. I have had many conversations with these sort of people, and one of the confusing things they often say is "I am spiritual, but not religious." However, they were attending a decidedly religious event with great interest and fervor. If a Hindu from India had walked into this event, he would have thought, "How delightful, my Hindu religious culture is happening here in Portland, Oregon." To him it would be obviously a religious event, and the "spiritual not religious" statement would be absurd to him. He knows the obvious truth that religion and spirituality go quite together. Religion points the way to how to have spiritual experience. Religions themselves are the products and creations of those who have profound religious experiences. There is no disconnect between the two. Yet he'd see these westerners having this religious event and saying it's not religious, and saying such irrational things, hating the very thing that is giving them a spiritual experience.
See, if I had said to most of these people, "This is a wonderful religious event," they would have been upset at my identifying it as such. Yet that's exactly what it was. What happened was that the people sang many, many religious chants in a foreign language, with great interest and as much involvement as is possible without knowing the meanings of words. The thought naturally occurred to me, as it always does: "These people are fine with singing about God, as long as it's a strange word for God, in a foreign language, and they are singing to the monkey deity Hanuman."
I have seen this situation played out over and over in the west, especially back when I lived in California. These were people associated with a "yoga studio." Yoga always was a religion. As it stayed in America over time that has become more apparent to those interested in it. More and more, the religious aspects of yoga have crept into the western "yoga" culture, and yet you will find that these people are upset if you identify these things as "religious." By this time, in 2009, the religious aspects of yoga appeared to be very well present in the culture, yet not acknowledged as such. In the bathroom of this yoga studio was a poster with a long quotation from the Yoga-Vasistha, a religious scripture, and it had a completely religious and spiritual theme. In the great room the young westerners sang devotional songs to the religious deity Ram, the religious figure Radha, to the religious figure Krishna, and even the monkey deity Hanuman. Few of these people had much knowledge about the religious lore or principles associated with these figures. Yet they sang with eager abandon to Jai Uttal as he led the songs.
What's clear is that those who have rejected Christianity and fled from it, and even those who reject the idea of religion itself, have a great hunger for religion. This hunger can be satisfied, or partially satisfied, or in some cases simply exploited -- by various and sundry parties.
Jai Uttal is someone I admire, because he is a real bhakta. This means he takes a devotional attitude to a guru or religious figure. He also is a great musician and singer, and the bhakta tends to especially like to employ music as a device for inspiring the feeling of bhakti. So I was in the room admiring who he was, and what he was doing, and also realizing the strangeness of the situation. If I had said in casual conversation "It is great to see you people getting some religion," see, it would have upset every person in the room. And yet my words would be completely true.
Mistakes of the Christians
I grew up in a Christian religion and cultural environment, and I have huge gratitude to God for that. It was in many respects the luckiest aspect of my birth. A conventional Christian will note, however, that I have wandered from traditional Christianity. Yet for me, my purpose was to learn what was true and essential in Christianity. My wandering gave me a deeper understanding and clarity about Christianity's worth.
For me it was a misfortune to feel, in my youth, that the religion I had did not offer satisfactory answers to the social and religious questions developing in my mind. I would have rather it had offered clear answers. Because it was a great and profound religious tradition, and I would have rather not had to wander from it. After my studies and wanderings it seems it's the nature of religion to gradually grow cold and inert, requiring periodic revivification. There is nothing wrong with this. It's just the way religion is. And religion is natural and essential to humanity.
And it is natural that Christians and those of other religions lose touch with the vital essentials of their faiths over time. The sufis describe the development of religion this way: A tree is vital and supple when it's young. As it grows greater, it also grows more firm and rigid. But in this state it is able to provide much shade and shelter many creatures in its branches. Later it nears the completion of its cycle in its present form. Larger but more rigid, it begins to lose life force. It's rigidity causes some branches to be broken by winds and storms. The tree starts to break up into pieces. Then the tree begins to die. As it dies, it becomes a home for other kinds of creatures. Even as it rots, it provides food for creatures such as bugs and grubs. This is the reality of religions. This is not a put-down of religions. Religions are necessary and natural to human beings for human order and well-being. But they have their cycles.
In astrology there are 12 houses that deal with "realms of life." There is a Third House that correlates with "ideas, facts, and information." This is the "Gemini" house. But the Third House only deals with the "little ideas" and factoids. In the Third House the ideas are not joined and organized into coherent systems. That is for the 9th House, the opposite side to the Third. This house is the house of "big ideas." In the 9th, humans take the many small ideas and factoids of the 3rd and organize them into great philosophical and religious systems. To desire this is a natural aspiration and faculty of humanity, and correlates with Saggitarius. The Saggitarian energy is less interested in the multifarious factoids, but more in finding "what a group can agree on," or the common ground that, having established it, benefits human beings. The impulse is to take what knowledge there is, and find the highest, most coherent, and embracing System that benefits the majority of beings. Thus the 9th House is the "house of religion" and churches. This is a basic and important facet of the human mind and spirit. The Saggitarian impulse is to create systems of higher thought that benefit humanity, i.e. religions and churches. The concern is "what can we agree upon" and build something together.
A bizarre facet of the modern west is that many wish to discredit the 9th house impulses as if there is something wrong with it. They wish to proceed as if the realm of agreed systems, religions, and churches is somehow inherently problematic. There is even a desire among the more liberal or leftist thinkers in the west to separate religion from spirituality. Later I will comment on how irrational this is. It's basically a kind of neurosis. But for now, I want to comment on the mistakes of the Christians. The error we find in Christian churches is always of the same nature: To lose hold of essential principles, in preference for externals and non-essential ideas. When this process sets in, Christianity becomes spiritually and morally weak. To be brief, my journeys and studies told me that these are essentials of Christianity that should be preserved and refreshed at all times:
Seeking God is an Essential Christian Thing
The search for God, understanding God as a reality within one's self. This relates well to Christ's "First Law," to love the Lord your God with all your strength and mind. If you don't already feel that love, the first job is to SEEK God so that you can love Him. Since most people don't really have a felt personal experience of God, and that is the normal human condition, it follows that the first expression of the "first law" is simply to be a seeker of God. So above all, Christianity should keep alive an imperative to seek God, so as to know God. When I go into churches I hear little about either matter. I hear little about knowing God, and what that's like. And I hear little about seeking God. I mostly hear the historical stories of the New Testament. But these have their best value only as they serve to emphasize these imperatives to seek and know God. The main message in Christian churches should be about the search for God within, and the results of knowing him. And this message should be primarily prosecuted by men and women who have had some success and experience with that. Those who feel illumined and can inspire others with the reality of that search and that God-experience. Which leads to the second Christian essential:
Illumined Teachers (Clergy) is an Essential Christian Thing
The clergy should be God seekers themselves and have spiritual illumination.
Moral Self-Control is an Essential Christian Thing
The role of morality should be understood. At this time, and for centuries, the significance of sexual morality has been implicitly understood in Christianity, but it needs to be explicitly understood. One of my greatest discoveries was the way that male sexual continence creates the possibility to have God experiences within, and that this was a basic foundational path for the great Christian saints, the saints of other religions, and for Christ himself. Where the understanding of morality's role in religious development is weakened or lost, Christianity will become discredited. That's because there will not be illumined teachers (clergy) to teach it, and because the Christians themselves will become morally confused and manifest moral and social breakdown, which further discredits their religion.
Guru-Yoga or Guru-Devotion is an essential Christian thing
Christ should be viewed with at least as much significance and weight as other religions apply to "the guru." By studying other religions I came into an understanding of "the guru principle" and its significance. I saw that this principle existed in Christianity in its own form. At the same time, the guru principle had become reduced and constricted in Christian culture. That is, Christians were not applying to Christ the same degree of focus and devotion that other religionists reserve for their gurus. By studying the guru principle as elucidated in other faiths, I saw how Christians could be instructed to take a more serious and fruitful attitude towards Christ. Because in fact, Christ is the "guru" of a Christian. Or He is supposed to be.
Bhakti is an essential Christian Thing
"Bhakti" means devotion. Hindus have a path of religious development they define as "bhakti yoga," and many of their adepts or commentators consider it to be the highest religious path. It can actually be viewed as a technique. In surveying or analyzing Christianity, many of those commentators view the western religion as essentially a "bhakti" religion. Based on my own experience, and knowledge of Christianity, this is valid. The lives and writings of the Christian saints are resplendent with the attitude of bhakti-devotion. It is my view that the more a Christian consciously understands the very idea of devotion/bhakti, the more profound will be his Christian religious experience. Thus the more attractive Christianity will be, and the stronger as a cohesive force for good in human communities.
Austerities are an essential Christian Thing
The life of Christ and the Christian saints demonstrate that austerity and penance is inherent to Christian religious development. Christ was a homeless wanderer. He fasted. He was celibate. The Christian saints and clergies, in various degrees, followed suit. The stronger the spirit of austerity and penance and moral self-control in its adherents, the profounder will be the joy of the Christian Church. It is the spirit of renunciation and austerity in Christian history that made Christianity great and gave it moral authority. If this understanding -- of the value of austerity -- dies, Christianity dies. The more Christians pursue the path of the austere saints and monks, the more Christianity will be revivified.
God Works in other fields
This is not an "essential of Christianity" as Christianity has existed, but Christians need to learn it and develop it. The Christian inability to understand that God works in other places, times, and fields has discredited Christianity and made the more thinking people leave it. Christians need to simply understand that God is the "lord of all names." He can and has appeared to other people in other times and places, in his own form suited to those people. People the world over have been seeking God according to their own lights forever, and God never ignores the cry of those who want Him. When Christians attack the religions of others, or their founders, without apprehending the many essential commonalities between them, it discredits Christianity. They also miss an opportunity to get greater insight and inspiration towards their own Christian paths, as I've cited above how understanding the "guru principle" as explained in Hinduism can give a Christian a much stronger devotional attitude toward Christ. Christians simply need to develop a more sophisticated intelligence applied to their own God. Since God is the lord of all intelligence and subtlety, Christians should manifest the same intellectual capaciousness.
When Christian churches dispense with non-essentials and find ways to emphasize these essentials, Christianity will come back into aliveness and strength, which means its capacity to benefit the people as well as connect them into coherent community will come back.
Now I wish to discuss the perplexing delusions of western liberals and leftists who embrace eastern religions such as Buddhism, yoga, and Hinduism while abandoning their Christian heritage. There are many irrational features to this phenomenon, as I will point out. As I sat in the Jai Uttal concert, and watched the people sing (and joined in, intelligently), my mind wanted to say to them:
"You should have seen your ancestors when they did this same thing. You should have seen your generations of grandmothers and grandfathers doing "kirtan" as well. Would you believe they did it in churches especially reserved for this practice instead of gymnasiums and convention rooms? They called it "hymns" instead of bhajans and they called it "congregational singing" instead of "kirtan." But they were just like this. You are getting blissed out. This is good. Do you think your ancestors did not get blissed out in their churches as they sang their hymns and listened to religious songs? No, they got just as blissed out as you. Even more. Do you think a religion thrives and lasts for 20 centuries because it gives them "nothing" every Sunday? No, your ancestors also sought bliss through God-worship and religious singing. They had the advantage, too, of having lyrics in their own language with ideas they actively understood as they sang the words. It made it even better. They also got to evoke their own conditioning going back to childhood and tradition, and feel a connection to their past religious ancestors. But you are exactly like your ancestors -- seeking God like them. They didn't have the word bliss. They used words like "glory" and "rapture" instead, trying to talk about it. Weren't those grand words? And yet you think you are rejecting your heritage. You think that you are separate from your own best people. No, you are trying to approach back to them, just doing it a bit neurotically and blindly. Sorry you are limited to singing now about a monkey figure you don't know much about and have no conditioning for, or a foreign cultural figure like Ram or Radha when you have so many saints in your own traditions and countries. But hey, it's great that the impulse to seek God, so strong in your own ancestors, is still manifesting in you even though you are sadly denying your own bhakti-kirtan heritage, and separating yourself from your own bhakti-kirtan Christian traditions. I salute you. But I'm sad that you don't know it can be even better than this. Greater bliss. Greater rapture. Greater connection to God and community. It used to happen in your ancestors' churches. They could even slow down or shorten the verses, make them more repetitive, speed up the song later, do more call-and response, and even sing it in a foreign language for you. And maybe they should. Those are musical style and cultural matters. But don't think you are really doing anything different than your great religious ancestors. Embrace them and find out how great was their devotion and how beautiful their music and how fine their bliss in church many Sundays."
If I had said these things to most participants, they would have been offended or confused. What has created this delightfully strange situation?
Delusions of the Leftists
I made the list above for things I consider truly essential in Christianity. Well, guess what's interesting? These things are also the real essentials of yoga, Hinduism, and much of Buddhism! I assert this based on a long study of these subjects, along with much personal practice, experience, and revelation from practice. So, I can imagine that asserting any one of them, to this crowd jumping and singing about Hanuman, would distress them just the same. If you say: "Devotion is essential to this path. When you put your hands together like that, it's a mudra expressing devotion. These songs are devotional" they get nervous. If you say "Moral self-control is essential to this yoga path," they also get nervous and defensive. If you mention guru devotion -- a thing the singer Jai Uttal actually tried to bring up delicately -- they also get nervous. About the only thing not really essential to the pure bhakti path is austerities. However, austerities is very, very essential to the path of yoga, and most of these people were very "into" some idea of yoga. The yoga-sutra presents "austerities" as the "first basic activity of yoga." Yet if you even said the word "austerities" to these people, they would think there is something wrong with you. So the strange phenomenon I witness is:
-- They reject Christianity even though the paths they embrace are filled with similar things, and
-- They actually reject many of the fundamental values in the things they flee to.
The Hindu sitting in that situation is getting much more out of it because he understands the words and has many rich associations with the words and songs from his own conditioning and religious culture. Meanwhile, the westerner rejects many of the principles that would make the religion a powerful spiritual path for them. It's sort of like a cat or dog who wants to come near you, but at the same time is afraid and keeps drawing away. These people dearly want religion and a religious experience, but they also pull away and have many conflicts about it. Like I said, the liberals are basically neurotic in their connection to religion.
This comes from conditioning, confusing cultural propaganda, and the failures of Christianity to remain fresh and vital. Basically, the westerners have neurosis concerning their own religious traditions. They they carry this same neurosis into their approach to other religions, usually rejecting essentials in those religions and keeping them at arm's length, causing them to fail to get the real depth value from those new religions. How is this remedied? It is remedied by the arising of saints who experience the fruits of the true paths, demonstrate them, and speak of them. All of this confusion can be cleared up.
Romance of The Breath
Spontaneously Yogic Movements/Kriyas
How God Suffers With Us
Nirguna Brahman, or the formless attributeless God, does not suffer. But Saguna Brahman, the Lord who created our universe, does suffer. His suffering is not as great as ours, because He is also established in his own pure sat-chit-ananda. But when we sin, he suffers, and He bears this load with us, ever trying to draw and attract us away from ignorance.
In my 53rd year I began to smell bad smells. I had lived in the old mansion up Foothill road for ten years and meditated constantly there. Many good things had happened there. It was such that when I even stepped back on the property, returning from trips to town, I would immediately hear Om with open ears. Sometimes in that house Om threatened to drag my normal consciousness away from me like a torrent. The place had become a pure place. As I walked about there I felt normal, and not particularly blissful. I would just chant mantra within, or out loud during the night around the land, or stay in kumbhaka as much as I could, and plead to the Lord over my various troubles. But when I would go into the town or other places, I would be suffused with such bliss that I felt like a drunk man and loved everybody and everything I saw. Then back to home, I felt normal again, but Om was loud.
Then the last of my children moved away from the area and I no longer felt any reason to be there. It was a small town and I liked a plenitude and variety of restaurants and coffee shops to pass time in. I had a daughter up in Portland I'd not seen enough in some years, and my father feeling wanted to attend to her any way I could.
When I got to Portland I initially stayed in a magnificent Bed & Breakfast called the MacMaster house, originally built by a wealthy Portland family. There I found I smelled a terrible smell. It was exactly like exhaust fumes, or sulfur. It was acrid and terrible. It perplexed me and I wondered why I was smelling it. I smelled it anywhere in the great mansion. I found that I smelled the fumes in other parts of Portland, too, particularly indoors or where people lived, such as in apartment lobbies. But if I got out away from people, such as in deserted areas of town or industrial areas, the smell subsided. It was particularly strong in this house. Although I had an advantageous deal with the owner, able to stay there for about half the price of an ordinary hotel. I couldn't bear to stay there anymore and began to sleep in my car nights until I found an apartment that pleased me.
Then I moved into the Saint Francis apartments at 21st and Hoyt in Northwest Portland. To my dismay I found the smell strong in there, also. Around that time, when I first came to this city, I saw many perverse types and primitive types walking around. People seemed in a state of degeneration, mutilating and marking their bodies, making their bodies unnatural, openly signaling perversity, basically White people unaccountably now with bones through their noses, rebels without a cause.
I had always had a sensitive nose. So had my mother. It's a Venus-in-Pisces trait. Eating little by then, mostly a bit at night, I found that simply smelling a good smell was almost as good as food to me. The fact that I could not get away from this smell like exhaust fumes distressed me. If it was a permanent affliction, very direct and personal, and I wondered how I could live with it happily.
In years past, as I'd meditated more and more, I'd sometimes smelled smells. But they were good smells, such as roses and incense. Doubts began to come into my mind. I wondered if I had fallen from the path. It occurred to me that Christian scriptures had connected hell states to fire, and religious literature associated the same states with the smell of sulfur. The thought occurred to me: "Maybe I am not so safe or blessed as I thought. Maybe I am actually in a hell state and never realized it. And maybe I am continuing a descent into lower hells, and thus now even smell the smell of sulfur." This occasional thought agitated and frightened me. I had strange things happen to me on this spiritual path, and read about many things too, but I had not read in any books about this phenomenon.
But then I found that the smell departed outdoors, in natural environments away from people. It became clear to me that if I left the apartment and walked about, away from apartments, I could get away from it. I began to walk more, and enjoyed long walks to the Post Office. I reflected that the smell was particularly noxious -- almost as if I would choke or die -- in that Bed & Breakfast. I reflected that it regularly had many people staying there along with me, and they were usually couples. I always met them at the communal breakfast that the owner fixed mornings, around a great formal dining table. These were usually married couples. I reflected about what married couples probably tend to do when they go away on little vacations, to hotels, or to romantic getaways like the elegant MacMaster House. I also reflected that the people who always stayed at that house tended to be of a particular tribe (which was true, they often spoke in their particularly cultural and religious language around the breakfast table, feeling confident to do so as they knew I was the only one present not of their type).
The seemed to touch my whole being, not just my nostrils. I had to keep developing bodily detachment to not be bothered by it, but it was hard. Then I noticed that the smell wavered and changed in strength and nature, and that it was worst and strongest near apartment buildings and on the weekends. I soon realized that I was smelling the smell of lust and sin. I was smelling the astral smell of sex and fornication. It is a noxious smell like car exhaust fumes or sulfur. I found that a Jewish newspaper in my neighborhood (the local "metro" paper) was basically pornography, and that they hosted an "Amateur Porn Festival" (to corrupt and destroy the Gentiles.) I noticed that after this animalian "festival," when the foolish had supported the ugly in their culture-destruction and polluted themselves at the theater, the acrid smell came in force for a few days after, as the people were indulging in animal lust and perverse self-destruction.
As I realized what the smell was, it tormented me less. I remembered a scripture in the Bible in which God says that the sins of the people arise to him like a bad smell in his nostrils. I theorized that I had become more sensitive to astral things, and that pursuing continence long and differentiating myself from the surroundings, I could now perceive it as "different." Then I realized perhaps the Lord was sharing with me some of His own burden, what He must smell. At that thought, the torment ended. When lust was high in the town and the smell got bad, I thought of God and how I was smelling what He smells, and felt honored and comforted that he had asked me to bear this burden. Then I sometimes felt proud suffering the acrid smell, often thinking, "I'm right with you God."
The Yoga-Vasistha teaches to use all your experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, for connecting with the Self who experiences all yet contains it all without being touched, like infinite space. It had been easy to do that with positive experiences: Hearing music that delighted me, and thinking, "Listen to this Babaji! Listen to this gurudev, hear how nice that is! Don't you love it!" Now I was doing the same with a negative experience. Use all your experiences to relate to God.
Then I noticed that the worse aspects of the smell were gradually reducing and that it's nature changed. Sometimes the smell was like unidentifiable chemicals, similar to cleaning agents. Sometimes it was quite bearable and only barely offensive. Sometimes it was like a combination of chemicals and food. Then sometimes just like some odd, nameless food, entire. Occasionally, it became like strangely pleasant food, or vaguely like peppermint, flowers, or even incense. I say it is "like" these things because the smells are barely identifiable, only reminiscent of earth things.
About three years after living in Portland at the Saint Francis I found the smell was usually quite tolerable and sometimes pleasant. It only became acrid on certain days, usually Saturdays and Sundays. I found then that the pleasanter smells were starting to dominate. Around that same time, I noticed that a Christian group had come to my area. They placed a sign pointing to their Sunday meeting right on my own corner. I was pleased to see this. From this time on I was no longer tormented by smells, no matter what they were, yet some smell was always in my nose, apparently conveying to me the moral and spiritual state of the people around me.
God suffers with us, but He continues to breathe into us, which makes us able to breathe, and he continues to breathe into us His own transcendental potential, which is what makes us able to live and experience fleeting forms of happiness despite our sin and ignorance.
How the Wheel of Samsara Rolls
It is human nature to get bored and want something different; to take for granted what you've always had and fail to see it's virtue any more. Especially if your culture has become somewhat homogeneous or uniform, with everyone living a certain way, or dressing a certain way, a boredom sets in.
In the 1950's, European-Americans had survived a great war and were now prosperous. It was respect for authority, order, and homogeneous systems, all working together, that helped Americans win that war. So, uniformity and conformity were highly respected by the 1950's as the source of survival, strength, and prosperity. So, the men all had crew cuts and wore simple slacks and white shirts after the war. That was strength. That represented survival and our prosperity. The girls all dressed another way, and there were strong norms. This is the fruit of prosperity. Against this backdrop, some boredom sets in among the youth, and restless questioning of "what's it all about?" So in this context, late 1950's, any breaking from the norm, anything heterogeneous, creates a big sensation and excitement. This was the setup for the 1960's, the Beatles band, and all the rest. If the 1950's had not been so safe, uniform, and boring, the Beatles, etc. could never have been so exciting.
So it's human nature to seek the different, the exotic, the heterogeneous in order to feel a thrill or excitement. I saw that the race idea had come to play this role for White people. They began to accept ideas that their white racial culture was basically boring, and expressions like "white bread" became accepted by them to refer to something "boring," with a racial connotation. They forgot to value what sort of wholesomeness and basic good character was there also. Good character and virtue -- such as our fathers fighting heroically in the war or White men working hard, serving, and perfecting systems for the general uplift -- were what provided that safe and prosperous world of the 1950's. Breaks in character, experimentation with vice, came into play as part of the "new" and the break from boredom.
But I realize now that White racial communities always had their own diversity. If you could go back to a little White-European village, say, 100 years ago, you would find all kinds of characters there among the White people. All kinds of faces, personalities and types. Such that it was easy to create a play and cast a wide variety of characters. You can see T.V. programming from the 1950's or early 60's featuring all White casts. And yet, there will be all sorts of different "characters" in these shows, with different looks and personalities. In other words, Whites always had their own "diversity" from among themselves. But to appreciate it took more sensitivity, more nuance. Now, when you throw in all kinds of exotic characters from, say, Kenya or Laos, into that community, that extreme diversity makes the natural subtle diversity of that group fade from view. This prodding to extreme diversity makes a people fail to appreciate their own subtle differences, and makes them all appear to be the same, though they are not.
I realized that this fetish about different races and physical types was really a kind of materialism, even a kind of carnal lust. A real spiritual person does not need a wide variety of grossly differing types around him to entertain him and engage him. He can see the subtle differences among his own people and that is plenty of entertainment and variety for him. The more spiritual we are, the less we need to be prodded by so-called extreme diversity, and the more we appreciate the subtle right where we are, with what we have. So the drive towards extreme racial diversity is a carnal, unspiritual impulse. And a people grows more spiritual, and has more subtle understanding, if it is left to generate its own types and varieties from within itself, rather than being overshadowed by extreme differences from Kenya or Laos, etc. If you need to have a grocery sacker of a deep black hue, with ritual scarring all over his forehead, to feel that people are interesting and life is interesting, there is something wrong with you. You are jaded to the more subtle around you and you are developing perverse tastes.
The truly spiritual impulse, then, is to withdraw into your own people, into so-called boredom, but to find within them all that you require. This is what will truly preserve the cultural and racial diversity of the world. Appreciating your own people and growing their potentials.
Later I realized, too, that the widespread negation of racial identity was especially promoted by one group with a very strong racial identity: The Jews. I realized that they hang together strongly as a racial or ethnic collective, but they encourage all other groups -- especially Whites and Europeans -- to abandon there racial identity. They do not view themselves as "White" in the sense that European Gentiles do. They are "Jewish," and only "White" as it conveniences them. They look down on "White people" and love to mock them. We have seen this now in the media for a long time, damaging the racial identity of so many young people. What this does is leaves Jews as the one remaining effective collective, and gives them increasing power and influence in their host (non-Jewish) countries. So, I realized that most of my ideas about "race differences" being a huge world problems were just implants I had received because of the Jewish racial agenda in the schools and media. Basically, Jews hang together strongly as a "people" and race while telling everybody else that "race is bad." I realized this is a great deceit and has been weakening the worlds' peoples and nations, and destroying the true diversity that it took the world so many eons to create.