Realizations The Autobiography
of Julian Lee / COPYRIGHT
2009 JULIAN LEE
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A Tangible Object Is Given To Me in a Dream
They say that those who meet Mahavatar Babaji temporarily lose their normal egoic consciousness. While seeing him and conversing with him their lower mind is suspended and they are unable to think, in the usual way, such things as: "Wow! I am with Babaji! This is amazing." They recollect the experience at first as if it was a dream, but all the evidence is there -- usually sprinkled throughout real life -- that it happened on this plane. Only after he is gone do they realize fully what just happened and who they were with. Then they think, "Oh me, why didn't I ask this? Why didn't I do that? Why was I such a fool?"The writings of Yogananda say that this phenomenon occurs so that the individual will feel and act naturally and not be overwhelmed. But it also happens because Babaji is established on a higher plane and he draws their consciousness up. In order to perceive Him at all their consciousness must be partly elevated. They can't be in normal egoic consciousness. In the same way, when we perceive things in the dream state or higher astral plane, we must abandon identification with our earthly egoic identity to perceive them. When you have your wonderful dreams at night, you are usually unable to think "I am Robert" or "I am Susan and I live on 8th Street in Des Moines." The real you keeps experiencing, but the lower ego is forgotten temporarily or is much weakened in presence.
One day I finally arrived at a place where my gurudeva Yogananda had been in life. I finally went to three places: His garden at Encinitas, his headquarters on Mount Washington, and his temple in Hollywood for a service. Later I also went to his Lake Shrine for a sitar concert by the daughter of Ravi Shankar. I took my daughters, all but one. It was a thrill to be where he had been, and actually swam. And also a thrill to see some older devotees, women with obvious pure qualities in the crowd. They had obviously meditated a lot and had become very satvic. Oh, bliss to see them! And oh! What a mythic place, surrounded by sin and pollution, it yet had a satvic, pure atmosphere. Then up on Mt. Washington I went with my girls.
When a nun came out to show us around, and began to tell about the grounds, the Master, and some history, I got emotional and could barely hide it. At the Hollywood temple an Indian woman was behind me and whenever I looked back she was staring up at my head as if she was astonished. I was very moved to see the altar and the pictures of our guru lineage there, and to hear the hymns and bhajans at the service. I sang along with all that I could. I was learning to have an appreciation for the Indian style of melody, and the feature of repetition on one melodic line, without harmonies. It has its special value for the mind and bhakti, and the odd notes such as diminished 5ths, etc, are a nice variation on accustomed music. The mind likes change and interest.
Then I went to Yogananda's garden by the sea in Encinitas. That trip had been to build my new profession as an astrologer by giving talks and posting some flyers, and I had a few clients to meet. I was staying at a wonderful condominium nearby as the guest of an extraordinary British woman named Kate Nani who was an authentic Reiki Master. Now finally I was going to my guru's Encinitas properties. My attitude was the same as when I went to see Karunamayi: I had faith and fully expected to see or feel wonders. I had been told that some devotees had even seen Sri Yukteswar in the gardens in the past, or had visions of siddhas. I fully expected to see something as great. I walked around the gardens. Oh, they were so beautiful! The great oriental carp swimming in the ponds! The people so quiet, sitting.
Monks and nuns, in the creation of churches and church gardens, do a great service to humanity by creating these places of beauty and peace which speak to the people of God's beauty, peace, and refinement. I couldn't believe my great guru had actually been physically in these gardens, and it was said, had even planted some of the trees and shrubs himself. I made little prayers to him in this garden, mostly thanking Him for what he has given me and guiding me, apologizing for my errors and lack of virtue, and asking him for strength, protection, and signs. And then I left.
Kate's condominium was a wonderful place with a wholly spiritual vibe. It was sparsely furnished. Barely furnished at all! But it had great high vaulted ceilings with skylights above the living room, where nothing but meditation cushions ringed the walls. That high ceiling with the light flowing in above, much like an erect spine, suggested and encouraged your own life life force up your spine; it raised your shakti. (Precisely as the great old Christian churches of the White Europeans do.) I loved to meditate in that living room with it's upper headroom, white walls and skylights while I was there. Upstairs where I slept, my room contained nothing but a thin rubber camper's pad in the middle of the floor, with a sleeping bag provided by Kate. It was all on a thick, light brown carpet.
That night after going to Yogananda's garden, maybe around 4 am or so, I had a dream. The dream astonished me and I awoke. Some dreams are intense enough, and important enough, that they wake us. Several Great Beings made of light were standing close to me. It seemed there were three, as if crowded near me. They handed me a stone. Sheer pillars of light, and magnificent in sense, they were far taller than me.Oh! they went up and up! So great, powerful, and pure! Sheets of light, but the feeling of three distinct beings. As they stood before me I looked at what they had imparted to me, taking it in my hand. It was a greenish stone shaped roughly like a long triangle or arrowhead, with flecks of pink that clearly moved and changed. As I looked upon it I was astonished, waking in a snap.
Our higher self experiences so much, on the astral plane during sleep states, that we cannot remember and cannot even translate into earthly terms. It was thus, because I awoke, that I remembered the dream so clearly. It was as if I viewed the stone as an astounding boon, thus I woke.
That morning around some food I told Kate Nani about my dream of the stone. She opined about what it may signify, saying it might signify increasing abundance or some such. Then I forgot about it, like I forget most dreams. I drove home to Idyllwild that day, and returned to my family. I slept hard that night and began to go about my business the next day.
While going about my business the next day I would reach into my pocket and feel the stone. Whenever I did, I would be comforted and delighted as I touched it in my pocket. My mind would say, "Oh yes! The stone! The wonderful stone!" It was such a comfort.
I should have been surprised there was a stone in my pocket because I had not picked up one. I should have wondered "What is this stone in my pocket? Where did it come from?" and at least taken it out to look at it. But there was no surprise or confusion when I felt it, only satisfaction and delight, like a rich man musing over a well-hidden rare and priceless gem he only takes from its hiding place at the rarest times. I sensed with my fingers its arrowhead-like shape over and over again, and pondering it's odd, plastic-like feel, and remembering its pink spots. I felt comfort to have it. Then when I withdrew my hand, I forgot about the stone -- except for a small part of my mind which recalled. That small part of my mind was like an itch, thinking: "Something wonderful has happened, and I don't recall what it is at the moment, but something wonderful has happened." Then again as I would reach in later in the day to check the stone, I would be delighted by it.
I went into the Post Office that afternoon and there was a long line there. In the town of Idyllwild there is no mail delivery. Everyone must go to the Post Office to get mail. Thus you see many people there, and many who you know. That makes the Post Office a very social place and, if you are getting along with people by-and-large, an often pleasant, cheerful place. How often it is that communities feel like communities simply because there is a place where people naturally gather and see each other, in stead of always isolated in rolling isolation units (cars) in once-villages that have been turned into car-hells by unwise embrace-of-technology-no-matter-what. Yes, one of the things that made Idyllwild a decent place to live and gave it some community feeling was the simple fact that the postman would not deliver mail, thus all were forced to see each other often when getting their mail. Yet nobody, no town father or elder, planned this, which is a sad thing to say.
When I went in there, there was a woman named Lauren far up in the line ahead of me. She was, I knew, a devotee of Yogananda herself. She was a good woman, devoted to her husband. She worked at a "science camp" for youth and her described profession was "naturalist." I had already reached into my pocked as I walked into the post office and was feeling the stone. My mind, delighted, said "Oh yes! Oh yes! The stone!"
When I saw Lauren I suddenly felt mischievous and arch, because I immediately got the idea I would show her the stone, feeling like a tease. (I didn't have any rational reason to feel these ways, neither did I rationally think about the stone or where it came from.) Feeling like a scamp I said, "Hey Lauren, you're a naturalist. Surely you can tell me what this is!"
I reached in my pocked, took it out, and handed it to her. I remember she had a strange look in her eyes. She said, "It looks like some kind of amalgamite." I anxiously took it back from her and went back to my place in the line. I stood there with the stone looking at it. As I did, the whole environment around me was nothing but tissues of light. There was a friendly postal clerk who worked there. He was a male with an impressive mustache (back when you still saw White men able to get jobs at Post Offices). He was to my right, but he was only a vague luminous presence inside of cascading tissues of light. Everyone in the lobby was the same, mere presences among luminous, vaguely pastelish curtains of light.
I looked straight at the stone and held it up. It, plus my body, were the only really clear objects. It's green was chalky light green, pretty. The pink spots changed and moved as I gazed at it, just as in the dream. I rubbed it between my thumb and finger, observing a smooth, waxy feeling as if wasn't earthly stone at all. As I saw its spots dance and change, as if responding to me, I spoke to it in my mind, "You're a strange one!" My thoughts seemed to be audible words.
I decided to leave the Post Office rather than finish waiting in line or do any business at all. As I turned and left through the lobby I put the stone back into the right pocket of my corduroys and immediately ceased thinking of it.
I never saw the stone again.
I forgot except for a a vague nagging thought I carried the rest of the day and night. It was a thought: "Something extraordinary has happened. What was it? What was it?" But I couldn't remember. Next day as I went around town and saw places, my memory was jogged. I recalled that there was something about a stone, related to my recent trip to the coast. Then a memory started to gather that I had been carrying a stone in my pocket, and that I had often felt it and fingered it in my pocket, with delight. I remembered vividly always feeling it throughout yesterday. But I thought: "Where did it come from? How did I have it?" I couldn't recall picking up any stones on my trip or since. Then I had a memory of showing a stone to someone in the post office, and that it was the woman Lauren. I was not sure if it had really happened or I had dreamed that. Then I suddenly remembered the dream in Encinitas, in which I had been given a stone by some beings of light, and that it was light green with pink spots, and a long triangular shape. I think had I not chatted with Kate Nani that morning, and related the dream to her, I might have forgotten it. That nailed it down and anchored the event in reality. Then I remembered holding such a stone and gazing at it in the post office, and exactly what it looked like. But I was not sure if it was a dream or if I had really been in the Post Office.
With pregnant excitement I phoned the woman Lauren. She was a friend of the family. She answered the phone. I said, "Lauren, did you see me in the post office yesterday?" She confirmed.
I said: "And did I have a stone?" She said, "Yes, you did."
I asked: "And did I show it to you?"
"Yes, you did."
"And I handed it to you, right?"
"You touched it, right."
"Yes, I did."
"And it was greenish, with pink spots, right?"
"And you said that you thought it was a kind of amalgamite."
"Yes, I did. And you had such an intense, wild, faraway look in your eyes."
I said, "Lauren, that was an astral stone. It was an astral object. It was from Yogananda and the lineage."
She didn't say much to that.
I began searching everywhere for the stone. I searched my corduroy pockets then every pocket I had anywhere. I had ridden in a White station wagon with a fellow named "Anonymous Starr" that day. I went back there and searched all through his car and the seats for the stone. He seemed agitated by my story. I had moved a washing machine from a home that day, one I had purchased for my wife. I had hauled it up a hill on a dolly with help from a daughter. I rarely lost objects from the pockets of those Levis. But at one moment I had slipped and fallen while dragging it up the hill. I went back to that hill and searched madly for the stone. I was growing in grief, and never found it. My darkest fear was that I had carelessly lost it from my pocket while I struggled up the hill with the washing machine.
Soon we sold our Alaska-rusted Dodge Maxi van to Lauren and her husband, who was a White fellow who went by the name Dwarka and also a devotee of Yogananda, when they wanted to go join a religious community in New Mexico. It ran well though it used oil. We let them have it for almost nothing, 300 dollars. So the two devotees of Yogananda -- the woman obviously a sincere and worthy one who had briefly touched an astral object from her guru lineage -- was gone.
It was just as those men felt who had seen Babaji but not appreciated it. They had had Him only briefly and then he was gone. They had not cognized or appreciated Him when with him, because such was their level of spiritual development. Then they lost Him. My Yogananda had been given an astral object (a prospect I'd never considered as a prospect for myself), but it was a beautifully tooled metal object with even Sanskrit writing on it, and he kept his lifelong until the day before he met his guru when it also vanished unaccountably. He had said, 'No one can reveal the secrets of an amulet, but I often flew far on the wings of my amulet." I had some sense suddenly of what that meant: The amulet lifted him out of the gross egoic state and into the astral, while awake. I considered what a paltry devotee I was, to only manage to hold onto an astral object one day, all the while never comprehending what it was egoically, while I had it. Then losing it stupidly! Perhaps, I thought, I was not supposed to let anyone else touch it? Maybe I had offended the object and offended the lineage.
Later I read in the Yoga-Vasistha about the yogi-aspirant who commenced on the path of austerities and meditation; the spiritual path. Early in his meditation, the text says, he was presented with the Philosopher's Stone. The stone appeared very soon before him. But though he saw it, he did not reach out and take it. The text says he mused this way: 'I see the Philosopher's Stone before me, the stone that grants all wishes. But this can't be. I am a new devotee and I couldn't possibly be presented with the Philosopher's Stone so early in my sadhana. What am I? I will ignore it.' Later he regrets and goes direly hunting for the stone, grieving that he did not appreciate what he was so freely offered, and so soon. Indeed what I had been given, passed unusually through the dream state and into the waking state, was the Philosopher's Stone. I have no doubt about this. Oh my gurudeva! Oh, our Timeless Lord Babaji! Forgive me for my ignorance and inability when you blessed me with your token! My mind will never veer away from you and your gracious being!
On the other hand, this was not an important event in my life. I thought about it little over the years. It's primary value, I am sure, is to strengthen the faith (shraddha) of my readers and the White European peoples. The eternal dharma always lives! If you can apprehend the basics of austerities, chastity, meditation, devotion, and guru lineage (such as Jesus Christ, Yogananda, Nityananda, or another of God's manifestations), the mythic lives in all ages.
Thus dreams have played a large role in my religious life (and the religious life is the same thing as the spiritual life, should anybody need to be reminded). This included my initiation by Yogananda and his siddha lineage in a series of three dreams. Those dreams taught me about the nature of Purusha (God) as light, and His all-fulfilling nature, his all-healing nature. He is also all-protecting, all-satisfying, solves all problems, and fulfills all wishes. This is the nature of God-with-form, Isvara. (Saguna Brahman). Why should it be His nature? There is no reason and it makes no logical sense. Logical sense is often ugly and limited in any case. It's just the way it is. God is the source of all good, all joy, bliss, and human blessings. One should meditate on God as these things. Do it now, rather than waiting for a big Surprise in the death state, a surprise which you are sadly not prepared to accept! The purpose of religion and religious (spiritual) development is partly to prepare us for that death moment and give us sufficient faith to avoid stupidly, even fearfully, rejecting all-Good when it is offered.
There is an expression by S. Neem Karoli Baba: "If you talk about your wealth or your sadhana, they go away." My excuse is that I want to help people, and I am leaving out much, and I don't intend on having a public position. I bring these things up for several reasons:
1) Devotees should realize how much has been freely offered to them.
2) They should have a greater appreciation of the power of the first technique.
3) They should realize that Yogananda works everywhere, in far away fields, and that his wildflower seeds of dharma blow far on winds of guru's world-compassion, and even far outside their little fences, and
4) One's relationship with a guru is personal and unique, and unmediated by anybody and any thing.
5) Attitude is everything, especially devotion.
6) Westerners can achieve the yogic things and Yogananda is not a guru who uniquely lacks fruit, or one who uniquely or arbitrarily ended the principle of transmission and lineage.
I reveal these things to make the above six points, which need making. Plus, I have no fear. There is a point at which God has you in his jaws, and never lets go. Certain things in the spiritual life are permanent attainments. I speak to serve, uplift, guide, and attract western men and women to the truth. My motives are good. Fame? It is no pleasure beside Aum. Only a terrible distraction. Being a guru? Again, it is no pleasure beside Om, and only a fool would seek out that distraction and burden.
At the time I received the stone I was becoming too chronically unusual for my wife. I was still married when I was given the stone, and living in "the red house" in Idyllwild, California at 6,000 feet elevation. I remember lying beside my wife and telling her what happened that night, in sincere amazement. In an low rumbling tone that was tight-in-the-chest and clearly agitated, she blurted: "That's weeird!" She had no patience for my strange tales any more and couldn't even pretend interest. It was at that moment that I knew she didn't love me any more.
Later in my fifties I began to apply myself to really studying the Upanishads and the Yoga-Sutra. They are very difficult texts and they had been incomprehensible to me during my twenties and thirties. I found that I was able to penetrate and understand verses where both Indians and westerners have failed. I began to make notes in the margins of some of the pages. Later I offered these up as inspiration and teaching to my spiritual brotherhood of men, The Brotherhood Of The Sacred Word. Below is an example of a Upanishad page with notes. I believe that the gift of the stone was a sign that I was going to be able to unlock the meanings of ancient scriptures in a way that would help the world. Nowadays most times when I read a scripture, even the most arcane ones such as the Chidakasha Gita of Nityananda, I find know what the verses mean. I am glad that Sister Eleanor Therese fussed about my handwriting and made me improve it. I never realized I would be relying on my penmanship in this way. I can't write like Kathy Maxwell, the most beautiful-neat-and-small writer of my St. Augustine's class, but Sister whipped me into passable ability. The notes below point out that the word "prana" is being mistranslated as "breath," and that "speech" in the verse does not refer to human speech but to the inner divine word heard by religious persons called "Aum" or "Amen." It also points out that the "the eye" and the "firm rest" refer to the inner seen divine light seen in devoted meditation. I didn't hear these things from another or read them in books, but knew from my meditation experience plus my own experience. In general, other commentators on these scriptures miss these things.
I now have many pages like this and feed them to my avid Brotherhood of yogis often. On this page I also doodled a picture that shows roughly what the Philosopher's Stone or chintamani, given to me in a dream and allowed to me only one day, looked like. There is a leather couch in a certain coffee shop in Portland where I studied the Upanishads for several hours every morning for several years. To this day if I go in and sit on that couch I immediately hear the divine sound of Aum. It's as if there is a generator or a running furnace hidden behind a door -- yet there is no sound for others. It is a charming situation! My little secret.