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“The Vasudeva Principle” by Michael Smith – February 22, 2017

“The Vasudeva Principle, Vasu-Deva-Sarvam – The Indweller Who is All” by Michael Smith

 

February 22, 2017

From the Upanishads

The immortal Self is the sun shining in the sky, He is the breeze blowing in space, He is the fire burning on the altar, He is the guest dwelling in the house; He is in all men, He is in the gods, He is in the ether, He is wherever there is truth; He is the fish that is born in water, He is the plant that grows in the soil, He is the river that gushes from the mountain — He is the changeless Reality, the Illimitable! (From the Katha Upanishad, Verse II:2:2)

*   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

He, the one Undifferentiated, without color or caste, who by the manifold application of His powers produces, in the beginning, various objects for a hidden purpose, and in the end withdraws the universe into Himself, is indeed the self-luminous Supreme Self. May He endow us with a clear Intellect.

That Supreme Self is Fire; It is the Sun; It is Wind; It is the Moon. That Self is the luminous stars; it is the Golden Womb of all creation and knowledge. It is Water;  it is the Great Consciousness manifested, the All-pervading Spirit of the Universe.

You are woman, You are man; You are youth and maiden too. You, as an old man, totter along on a staff; it is You alone Who, when born, assumes diverse forms. You are the dark-blue bee. You are the red-eyed parrot. You are the thundercloud, the seasons, and the seas You are the Beginningless All-abiding Lord, from whom the worlds are born. (from the Svetasvatara Upanishad,  4:1-4)

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February 16, 2017

Swami Veda often said, “Words are idea capsules,” and that if a person appreciated and studied the origin of words, the mere utterance of a single word (with all its combined associations), just like a sutra, would have an enormous impact.

In 2000 at the HYT-TTP Retreat at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota USA Swami Veda said, “We shall take all the inherent meanings of the synonyms of “please” and paraphrase them as a philosophy, guiding our communication, exchange of favors and gifts and so forth, as follows:

Please

I wish to Please you because I Love you. I ask you for a Favor because I Love you and Trust your Love for me.

As I Invoke the Grace of God in my Prayers as I turn the beads of my rosary, so do I invoke the Grace of the Divinity in you, without which Grace no Love would exist between us, nor would It be Granted or Exchanged.

I Accept in Silence your statement that in doing me this Favor out of Compassion, you are only doing an Act of Prayer.

I know you have an Intrinsic Quality of Compassion. You tremble when I tremble.

You do this Act without expectations of anything in return. Such is your Virtue, arising out of the Clarity of your Mind, the Settled State of your Mind, the Pleasantness of your Mind that comes only by the Practice of such Virtue.

You would not be so Loving and Kind if you had not Practiced such Virtues.

Without such Pleasantness of Mind, without such Unselfish Kindness, we would all be restless, would have no Place to find Rest.

Even when I slip and fall, you offer Solace and Reconciliation.

May such Virtue lead us into Reconciling of all conflicts of our minds, Merging all opposites, leading us finally to our Ultimate Goal of the Highest Meditative State: Samadhi.

May it be so for us.

I pray to the Divinity in you.

Please!

*   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

When you are present, you can sense the spirit of the One Consciousness in every creature and love it as yourself.

Love is a deep empathy with the other’s “Beingness.” You recognize yourself, your essence, in the other, and so you no longer inflict suffering on the other.

You are not separate from the whole. You are one with the sun, the earth, the air. You don’t have a life. You are life.

The one life, the one consciousness, takes on the form of a man or woman, a blade of grass, a dog, a planet, a sun, a galaxy. This is the play of forms, the dance of life.

We are ultimately not separate, not from one another, nor from anything living – the flower, the tree, the cat, the dog. You can sense yourself in them, the essence of who you are. You could say God.

There is a term, a Christian term which is very beautiful: “Loving the Creator in the creation.”

From Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs & Cats (2009)  by Eckhart Tolle and Patrick McDownell.


 

January 23, 24, 25, and 26, 2017

“Each being is unique. Variety is the nature of the universe. In this diversity, one feels the presence of oneness; this is due to sattva-enbued knowledge. The site of the undivided reality in diversity is known because of sattva. (Sattva is illumination, light, serenity, tranquility.) For example, the ocean has many waves and they are distinct from one another, yet they are all made from the same water. To see the same water in different waves is sattva-enbued knowledge.

Gold is made into various ornaments, but the presence of gold is common to them all. To see this oneness in different forms is sattva-enbued knowledge.

There exist in the world many religious faiths – Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, etc. Yet in spite of this multiplicity, one can see in them all a oneness of being and can accordingly relate in one way towards all of them. This results from sattva-enbued knowledge.

Human beings, birds, beasts, and insects are all different yet possess the one life-principle in common. To regard them all as alike is due to sattva-enbued knowledge alone.” (Swami Rama of the Himalayas)

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The Soul is the inner dweller of this body. He who pervades the body and has spread His power into the mind, eyes, ears, and other senses is the object of worship of the senses. It is He whom the senses worship by means of their works – the legs by their movement, the arms by their work of protection, the stomach by its work of digestion, the heart by the circulation of blood throughout the body, the mind by contemplating, the intellect by deciding, and so on. All the senses and organs are thus always worshipping Him, each in its own particular way. The worship of the Soul is carried on within oneself by one’s own work [dharma]. None of these senses gives up its own work and does another’s. Each contributes to success by doing its own ordained work well. The Power that pervades the whole universe, pervades mankind too. We all are parts of that same Omnipotence. Therefore it is He whom we serve by our proper work. (Swami Rama of the Himalayas)

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Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, who are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (St. Paul in Romans 12)

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“There is much ignorance, and no end to suffering on this planet. There are only a few saints and [spiritual] masters to alleviate it. Their work is at the scale of an entire planet. If it were not for them, humanity would have self-destructed long ago. In addition to what they do, do we also want them to come personally to all their offices and answer and organize . . . ?

The word ‘member’ means a ‘organ,’ a ‘limb. It is in this sense that Christians are ‘members of Christ.’ We are eyes, ears, hands and feet of the spiritual masters. This is as much as we can be, to share their burden; this is how we are part of their work. Their minds’ strength and wisdom works through us, so we may help a few to make a start. When we view, or know, or remember, ourselves as members in the spiritual body of the spiritual masters, their life-force, their grace flows through us. Our own minds grow in that grace — only when we remember that in all our work, we are serving as ‘members,’  as ‘organs,’ of that Spirit.”

We are members in the spiritual body of the Guru Spirit, making a minor contribution to the Guru’s planetary work!” Did St. Peter rest?  Did St. Paul retire? I sometimes wonder what the retinue of St. Francis had to say.

I cannot forget how much suffering there is all around me in the world, and how few are capable of alleviating it through wisdom. At one time I made bricks with my own hands to build an ashram and a school in an isolated community in South America. I still make bricks – somewhat differently now.  Will you join me?

May you enjoy very sound sleep every night, after tiring your body in the service of others.”

Yours lovingly! Swami Veda Bharati

*   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

“When you learn to love all, you become worthy of receiving and assimilating the love of God.

You cannot love those whom you feel to be separate from you. The sense of separateness is called dvaita – “duality.” It is bondage. Advaita – “non-duality” means to love all as your own self. That is liberation.”   (Swami Rama of the Himalayas)

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The greatest human quality is unconditional love. Love mean giving, and when you learn to give without any expectation, you become fully human.” (Swami Rama of the Himalayas)

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In the late 1930’s and early forties, I had the opportunity to stay with Mahatma Gandhi in Vardha Ashram, where I met many loving souls. While I was there, I observed Mahatma Gandhi serving a leper. The leper was a learned Sanskrit scholar who was frustrated and angry, but Mahatma Gandhi personally looked after him with great care and love. That was an example to all of us. The way in which he served the sick left a lasting impression on me.

My [spiritual] master told me to observe Mahatma Gandhi, particularly when he walked, and when I did so, I found that his walk was quite different from the walk of other sages. He walked as if he were separate from his body. He seemed to be pulling his body as the horse pulls the cart.

He was a man who constantly prayed for others, who had no hatred for any religion, caste, creed, sex or color. He had three teachers: Christ, Krishna and Buddha.

A pioneer in the realm of ahimsa consciousness, Gandhi always experimented in expanding man’s capacity to love. Such a man finds joy in all the storms and trials of life. Gandhi never protected himself, but rather always protected his one principle of ahimsa or love. The flame of love burned in him day and night like a fire which nothing could quench.

Complete self-reliance and fearlessness were the foundation stones of Gandhi’s philosophy. Violence touched the very depths of his being, but valiant in the spirit of ahimsa, he walked on alone. There was not a word of protest, and there was not a flicker of hostility in his life.

While staying with Gandhi, I noted these principles in my diary:

Non-violence and cowardice cannot go together because non-violence is a perfect expression of love that casts out fear. To be brave because one is armed implies an element of fear. The power of ahimsa is an extremely vital and active force which does not come from physical strength.

Hatred is not overcome by hatred, but rather by love. This is an unalterable law.

Gandhi did not believe in the barriers created by religions, cultures, superstitions and mistrust. He taught and lived the brotherhood of all religions.

Gandhi believed in the art of living without concern for the fruits of one’s actions. He practiced not worrying about success or failure, but paid attention to the work at hand without feeling the slightest anxiety or fatigue. (Swami Rama of the Himalayas)

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“One moonlit night Swamji (Swami Rama) called me from the roof of his Rishikesh ashram with the excitement of a child: ‘Rajmani, quick! Come!’ When I reached the roof he whispered, ‘Don’t make any noise. See how beautifully the cactus is opening its petals!’ For the next thirty minutes we sat and watched the cactus blossom. The joy on Swamiji’s face made it clear that the cactus was an extension of himself in the form of a flower, His own heart was opening to the moon.” (Pt. Rajmani Tigunait)


 

January 20, 21, and 22, 2017

A Short Introduction to the Study of Gandhi

“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth.” (Mohandas Gandhi – The Story of My Experiments with Truth)

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October 2, 1869, was the birthday of one of the greatest people who has ever lived, Mohandas K. Gandhi.  He was called Mahatma Gandhi.  Mahatma means “Great Soul,” and a Great Soul he was!

The movie, Gandhi (1982) by Richard Attenborough, won eight Academy Awards, including Ben Kingsley for Best Actor and Ravi Shankar for Best Musical Score:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elGNe56QIXI  Spectacular as this movie is, however, it did not bring out the deep spirituality that was behind Gandhi’s leadership and social reforms.

I spent every night for over a year reading his writings, and the writings of other people who wrote about him, and was able to go a deeper into the life of this remarkable person.  It was a wonderful year, and Gandhi came to be a second father to me.

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Upon his death by assassination in January 30th, 1948, the entire world was stunned.  His chief biographer, Louis Fisher, wrote: “Never in modern history has any man been mourned more deeply and more widely.”

“The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu, as we call him, the father of our nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that. Nevertheless, we will not see him again as we have seen him these many years. We will not run to him for advice and seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow not to me only but to millions and millions in this country. And it is difficult to soften the blow by any advice that I or anyone else can give you. The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong.  For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light.  The light that has illumined this country for these many years will illumine this country for many more years, and a thousand years later that light will still be seen in this country, and the world will see it and it will give solace to innumerable hearts.  For that light represented the living truth, and eternal man was with us with his eternal truth reminded us of the right path, drawing us from error, taking this ancient country to freedom. (Jawaharlal  Nehru, Prime Minister of India)

“The friend of the poorest, the loneliest, and the lost. His greatest achievements are still to come.” (Philip Noel-Baker, the British delegate to India)

“He made humility and truth more powerful than empires.” (U.S. Senator, Arthur H. Vandenberg)

“I know of no other man of any time or indeed in recent history who so forcefully and convincingly demonstrated the power of spirit over material things.” (Sir Stafford Cripps, British Statesman)

“Mahatma Gandhi was the spokesman for the conscience of mankind.” (Gen. George C. Marshall, U.S Secretary of State)

“There is still some hope for the world which reacted as reverently as it did to the death of Gandhi.  The shock and sorrow that followed the New Delhi tragedy shows we still respect sainthood even when we cannot fully understand it.” (Albert Deutch)

“In the evolution of civilization, if it is to survive, all men cannot fail eventually to adopt Gandhi’s belief that the process of mass application of force to resolve contentions issues is fundamentally not only wrong, but contains within itself the germs of self-destruction.” (General Douglas MacArthur)

“Gandhi’s life might inspire our troubled world to save itself by following his noble example.” (Lord Admiral Mountbatten)

“Gandhi was the most remarkable man of the century.” (Sir Hartley Shawcross, British Attorney General)

“Gandhi demonstrated that a powerful human following can be assembled, not only through the cunning game of the usual political maneuvers and trickeries, but through the cogent example of a morally superior conduct of life.  In our time of utter moral decadence he was the only statesman to stand for a higher human relationship in the political sphere.  Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” (Albert Einstein)

Others have said since: “Gandhi was a unique person, a great person, perhaps the greatest figure of the last nineteen hundred years.” (Louis Fisher, his chief biographer in the West)

“Historians of the future, I believe, will look upon this century not as the Atomic age, but as the age of Gandhi.” (Eknath Easwaran)

“Gandhi is the most important religious figure of our time.” (Lewis Mumford)

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Gandhi wrote, “I do not consider myself worthy to be mentioned in the same great with the race of prophets.  I am a humble seeker after truth.  I am impatient to realize myself,  to attain moksha (liberation) in this very existence.

My national service is part of my training for freeing my soul from the flesh. Thus considered, my service may be regarded as purely selfish. I have no desire for the perishable kingdom of the earth.  I am striving for the Kingdom of Heaven which is moksha.  To attain my end it is not necessary for me to seek the shelter of a cave.  I carry one about me, if I would but know it.  A cave-dweller can build castles in the air, whereas a dweller in a palace like [King] Janaka has no castles to build.  [Janaka was a great sage and also a king.  Such people, like King Solomon in the Bible, were known in India as raja-rishis (kingly-seers), like Plato’s philosopher-kings.]

A cave-dweller who hovers round the world on the wings of thought has not peace.  A Janak, though living in ‘pomp and circumstance,’ may have peace that passeth understanding. For me the road to salvation lies through incessant toil in the service of my country and therethrough of humanity.  I want to identify myself with everything that lives. In the language of the Bhagavad-gita, I want to live at peace with both friend and foe.  Though therefore a Mussulman [Muslim] or a Christian or a Hindu may despise me and hate me, I want to love him and serve him even as I would love my wife or son though they hate me.

So my patriotism is for me a stage in my journey to the land of eternal freedom and peace.  Thus it will be seen that for me there are no politics devoid of religion.  They subserve religion.  Politics bereft of religion are a death-trap because they kill the soul.” (From Young India, Mar. 4, 1924)

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There is a direct connection between Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy. Towards the end of his life, Tolstoy was probably the most well-known person in the world. Gandhi and Tolstoy had an intimate correspondence, and Gandhi received many of his ideas of passive resistance from Tolstoy.  Tolstoy, on the other hand, got many of his ideas from the American Abolitionists and the Quakers, who were pacifists and were firmly against war and slavery.

It’s remarkable that Martin Luther King (whose birthday was celebrated last Monday) the person who was responsible for African Americans receiving equal rights in America, got his ideas from Gandhi?  So this idea of social justice went from America to Russia to India and back again to America, around in a circle. (More about the Tolstoy, Martin Luther King connection later.) Swami Veda would call this a “confluential” series of events.)

If you even decide to study Gandhi, understand that we probably know more about him than about any other person who ever lived.  It was recognized quite early in Gandhi’s life that he was n extraordinary man, and so very complete accounts were kept of nearly every aspect of his life.  He was surrounded by visitors and a team of secretaries day and night for nearly fifty years.  He would even conduct interviews when he was in the bathroom.  He was a totally public man who kept no secrets.  As far as it was possible to do so, he revealed every aspect of his being.  He was keenly aware of his historical importance and the fact that millions of people in India and elsewhere looked to him for inspiration and moral guidance, so he strove to make himself continually available.

His biographer, Louis Fisher wrote: “Gandhi believed in revealing himself.  He regarded secrecy as the enemy of freedom – not only the freedom of India but the freedom of man.  He exposed even the innermost personal thoughts which individuals usually regard as private. In nearly a half-century of prolific writing, speaking, and subjecting his ideas to the test of actions, he painted a detailed self-portrait of his mind, heart, and soul.”

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Gandhi wrote: My imperfection and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes.  Why should He have chosen me, an imperfect instrument, for such a mighty experiment?  I think He deliberately did so.  He had to serve the poor, mute, ignorant millions.  A perfect man might have been their despair.  When they found that one with their failures was marching on towards Ahimsa (non-violence, compassion and Universal Love), they too had confidence in their own capacity. (Harijan, July 21, 1940)

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Because of his fame and openness, there is a mountain of information about Gandhi in the form of his own writings, the memoirs of others, and biographies. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi alone totals about 100 volumes.

http://www.mkgandhi.org/cwmg.htm

http://www.gandhiashramsevagram.org/gandhi-literature/collected-works-of-mahatma-gandhi-volume-1-to-98.php

(At Swami Veda’ Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a complete hardbound set of Gandhi’s writing is in the library.


 

January 17, 18, and 19, 2017

Swami Veda on Gandhi,  the Bhagavad Gita, and the Vasudeva Principle

Mahatma Gandhi’s life was based on The Vasudeva Principle, and he used that principle in the cause of social justice for India. Gandhi was lawyer by profession and was very logical. He figured that since, by definition, God is all-pervasive, then there is nothing in the universe which is not divine; therefore, all beings belong to the same spiritual family, like fingers on the same hand. For Gandhi, this principle was an absolute truth (Satya), and its correlate was love (Ahimsa) – “like two sides of the same coin.” Gandhi’s named his struggle for Indian independence Satyagraha (“seizing the Truth”), and his methodology was Ahimsa, non-violent non-cooperation with British oppression.

This ahimsa is the basis of the search for truth. I am realizing every day that the search is vain unless it is founded on ahimsa as the basis.

It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself.

For we are all tarred with the same brush, and are children of one and the same Creator, and as such, the divine powers within us are infinite.

To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world. (Gandhi)

When Swami Veda gave his lectures on the Bhagavad Gita, he would frequently refer to Gandhi who, he said, had mastered the art of non-violent confrontation, or the ability to “fight without fever” (yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ).

mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi

sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā

narāśhīr nirmamo bhūtvā

yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ

“With your mind centered on the Self,

dedicating all actions to Me [Vasudeva],

free of expectation and free of the thought “mine,”

fight without the fever of fear and anxiety.

(Bhagavad Gita 3.30)

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The Bhagavad Gita is an epic poem, consisting of a dialogue between the avatar Krishna and the warrior Arjuna before the start of the great battle of Kurukshetra.

Krishna explains to Arjuna the nature and order of the universe (dharma) and one’s proper purpose and action (sva-dharma) in accordance with the universal order.

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“The Gita is the universal mother.

I find a solace in the Bhagavad Gita

that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount.

When disappointment stares me in the face

and all alone I see not one ray of light,

I go back to the Bhagavad Gita.

I find a verse here and a verse there

and I immediately begin to smile

in the midst of overwhelming tragedies –

and my life has been full of external tragedies –

and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me,

I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavad Gita.”

(Gandhi)

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Swami Veda said,

“Now here you have a man [the warrior Arjuna], showing all the symptoms of great depression, because people he had loved all his life, people with whom he had such a beautiful love-hate relationship, they were all his own cousins and their teachers and their uncles and his uncles and his grandfathers and grand-uncles, and everybody was standing there on both sides of the battlefield. .

Arjuna says, “I don’t want victory, I don’t want to win. My whole body is feeling depressed. My mouth is drying. There is trembling in my limbs. My hair is standing on edge. My bow, Gandiva, is slipping from my hand. My skin is burning all over. I can’t stand, and my head is whirling.” And in that weak moment he says, “And I see bad omens all over. I don’t see anything good coming out of it. . . .  I am not going to fight.”  And he sits down. He can’t stand, and he sits down in the lap of the chariot.

This is quite a symptom, and we all experience this symptom every day, going for an interview, going for a new job, arranging a feast, arranging a preparation. At a certain point you say, “Why did I put myself into this?”

Krishna’s attempt here, as the greatest counselor possible, is to give Arjuna strength. He says, “Such a terrible time. How can you get so impotent? This is not the way of noble people. It’s unheavenly. It brings a bad reputation. Don’t become so impotent. It doesn’t reflect well on you.  This small weakness of your heart; give it up. Rise Arjuna!”

Arjuna says, “I don’t know what to do. Who knows who is going to win, who is going to lose. So I am now your disciple [shishya), tell me what to do.”

. . . . And here is where Krishna starts his instruction. There is a portion of the Gita that I have always referred to. You may or may not have heard of it, and that portion is the key portion of the Gita. That is Chapter 2, Verses 54-72. [These verses are known as the verses about stitha-praja – what it means to have “steady wisdom,” which can give a person perfect balance and equanimity even in adverse situations.] If you read nothing of the Gita, you should read that part. You should read it daily if you can. . . .  It’s a description of an ideal person with no problems.

Gandhi in his daily prayer meetings used to have this portion recited. Gandhi’s prayer meetings were peculiar in that he would have a recitation from the Vedas; he would have a recitation from the Muslim book of the Qur’an; he would have a reading from the Christian scriptures; he would have a reading from the Jewish scriptures; he would have a reading from the Iranian, Parsi scriptures, and so on. And the Gita portion that he had read at that time was this portion.”  (Counseling According to the Bhagavad Gita – #6702 by Swami Veda (1976)

[Something else that was always sung at Gandhi’s prayer meetings was song “Lead Kindly Light.” And a Biblical phrase he frequently used when asked where his ideas came from was, “a still small voice.” (Kings 19:12)

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Lead Kindly Light (1833) by John Henry Newman

“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst the encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

 

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou

Shouldst lead me on;

I loved to choose and see my path; but now

Lead Thou me on!

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

 

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still

Will lead me on.

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone,

And with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

 

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,

Thyself hast trod,

Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,

Home to my God.

To rest forever after earthly strife

In the calm light of everlasting life.”

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Swami Veda continues:

“Gandhi fought his whole battle for independence with the Gita as his prime source of inspiration. The whole country read the Gita under Gandhi’s advice. If you see the movie, GANDHI, you’ll see that people went out there and accepted the bullets, knowing themselves to be imperishable.

Gandhi’s whole point of his campaign was to fight without enmity. That is the main point in his entire campaign. With a country that had 369 million people, in one location, people got angry and set fire to a police station, and Gandhi called off the whole campaign. He said, “My people are not ready.”

You too have to find that essence of purity. Then your battle is not a murder; otherwise it is murder. This applies to any struggle in life and to any kind of resistance. This is the code of oriental martial arts – that you fight but you don’t fight. You remain totally undisturbed, totally un-agitated, relaxed. . . . Have you seen the movie, Karate Kid?” (Philosophy of Yoga in Action – #6721 by Swami Veda (1988)


 

January 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2017

My life is an indivisible whole, and all my attitudes run into one another;

and they all have their rise in my insatiable love for mankind.

(Mahatma Gandhi)

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“I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog or cat are not the better for it.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

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“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. (Gandhi)

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Swami Veda’s talk on the Vasudeva Principle from the Annual Spiritual Festival (1992)

The Vasu-Deva Principle –  Part Four:

Experiment with it. Read once again the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi : The Story of My Experiments with Truth.

Try to find arguments in favor of your opponent’s actions, for you are he; you are she – two waves of the same ocean, two rays of the same sun, two flames of the same fire. Contemplate, and let your contemplations become your sentiments.

And let your spirit soar to realize the unity that is the “Uni-Verse.” I think of this world at times as one single poem, and that is how I think of the word, “universe. Let your life be a poem.  Let your world be a poem to you.

And one thing more, . . .I have said, “Well, you decide the level of relationship you feel with the Guru Lineage.” But let me tell you one thing: unless that relationship deepens, all these practices will lead you nowhere. Find ways of deepening the relationship.

I pray for you. I pray for your Serenity and Love in your Life. ~ Blessings

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This ahimsa is the basis of the search for truth. I am realizing every day that the search is vain unless it is founded on ahimsa as the basis.

It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself.

For we are all tarred with the same brush, and are children of one and the same Creator, and as such, the divine powers within us are infinite.

To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world. (Gandhi)

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An individual who has developed Ahimsa carries about him an invisible aura surcharged with love and compassion, even though these may not be expressed at the emotional level.

Also, because love is the power which binds together in a spiritual union all the separated fragments of the One Life, any individual who is imbued with such love is inwardly attuned to all living creatures and automatically inspires confidence and love in them. (I. K. Taimni)

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“There is a single magic, a single power, a single salvation, and a single happiness, and that is called loving.” (Herman Hesse)

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Through Hunkapi (A traditional Oglala Sioux ceremony)  a three-fold peace was established:

The 1st peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka (the Great Mystery), and that this center is really everywhere; it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.

The 2nd peace is that between two individuals, and the 3rd peace is that which is between two nations.

But above all you should understand that there could never be peace between nations until there is first known that peace which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men. (Black Elk)

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sattva viśuddha vasudeva-śabditaṁ 

yad īyate tatra pumān apāvtaḥ 

sattve ca tasmin bhagavān vāsudevo 

hy adhokajo me manasā vidhīyate

The condition of pure goodness [śuddha-sattva], in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is revealed without any covering, is called vasudeva. In that pure state, the Supreme Godhead Who is beyond the material senses and Who is known as Vāsudeva, is perceived by my mind.” (from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.3.23)

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My religion is very simple. my religion is kindness. (Dalai Lama)

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“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not.” (The Gospel According to John, Chapter I)

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“I am the Light That is above them all. I am the All. The All came from me, And the All has returned to me. Split wood and I am there. Raise a stone and you will find me.” (Jesus, from The Gospel According to Thomas, Verse 77)

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“In Him we live and move and have our being.”  (Acts 17:28)


 

January 10, 11, and 12, 2017

 “Why do people always say,

What’s the difference?’

Why do they not say,

‘What is the unity?’

‘What is the connection?’”

(Swami Veda Bharati)

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“In meditation there are no juxtapositions.” (Swami  Veda Bharati)

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Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life. (Norman Cousins)

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Swami Veda’s talk on the Vasudeva Principle from the Annual Spiritual Festival (1992)

The Vasu-Deva Principle –  Part Four:

The third practice – and I am sharing this with you because I have gone through this myself, and I still undertake it sometimes.  Up to the time I married at the age of twenty-eight, I used to make many of these experiments, and I continue to make experiments of this sort.   Sometimes, for weeks, I would take the vow of walking with my eyes glued to the ground: “Where am I stepping?”  So that, like the monks of the Jaina tradition, I have watched to see if I might be crushing an ant under my feet.  I suggest that each day . . . that you take a walk for about ten minutes and watch where you are stepping.  And then when you come upon an ant or a bug, know the oneness of the In-Dwelling Spirit.  Let your heart be filled with love and compassion.  Carry some sugar in your packet and bend down and feed the ants.  Walk for ten minutes, watching so that you are not crushing any living being.  Not only that, but you are seeing every living being as your kith and kin – lovable.  And after you have thrown some sugar to the ants, you will have such a sense of satisfaction

Think over it.  Don’t argue with me unnecessarily.  Let this be an experiment in your life.  You know what it will do you if you practice this non-violence?  It will help you to conquer the fear of death; for fear of death, as I said, is nothing but the unconscious recognition of the fact of “How many times I havevisited death upon others! May it not rebound to me.”

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The best form of worship is to worship God in every form.  (Neem Karoli Baba)

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Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?

Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk

At rich men’s tables eaten bread and pulse?

Unarmed, faced danger with a heart of trust?

And loved so well a high behavior,

In man or maid, that thou from speech refrained,

Nobility more nobly to repay?

O, be my friend, and teach me to be thine!

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature. Man can no longer live his life for himself alone, We realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe. (Albert Schweitzer)

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O Hidden Life — Vibrant in Every Atom

O Hidden Light — Shining in Every Creature

O Hidden Love — Embracing All in Oneness

May all who feel themselves as one with Thee

Know they are therefore One with every other.”

(Annie Besant)


 

January 9, 2017

Swami Veda’s talk on the Vasudeva Principle from the Annual Spiritual Festival (1992)

The Vasu-Deva Principle –  Part Three:

The second step along with that is that all anger is anger at yourself.  Frustration at one’s own inadequacy in love is anger.  I am not saying, forswear all anger right now.  Again, there are questions about just anger, anger against injustices, anger where I am indeed right and the other party is indeed wrong, and so forth.  Let us start working on the periphery, and not solve all the moral dilemmas right now.  Let us make an experiment in life. . . .  Cultivate a sweet sentiment.  Again it is not an act of compassion, nor is it a repression; it is an act of cultivating a beautiful sentiment.  For if the In-Dwelling Spirit is one, at whom am I being angry?  Ask yourself that question, and that would help you to overcome the strong urge towards violence.  Violence of speech, for instance.  Violence that exhibits itself in a loud voice, in a screaming and a stamping of feet.  Just curbing it for a period in your life.  If, however, you have a clinical depression and it is caused by suppression of anger, then I am not recommending this practice for you.  Then I am simply recommending cultivating the thought of the one, In-Dwelling Spirit.

He prayeth best who loveth best,

Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth well who loveth well,

All things both great and small.

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

                        (“Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

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Hurt no living thing:

Ladybird, nor butterfly

Nor moth with dusty wing,

Nor cricket chirping cheerily,

Nor grasshopper so light of leap.

Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle flat,

Nor harmless worms that creep.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

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Whenever people say, “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel.  And if they add, “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.  (Bridget Brophy)


 

January 6, 7 and 8, 2017

Swami Veda’s talk on the Vasudeva Principle from the Annual Spiritual Festival (1992)

The Vasu-Deva Principle –  Part Two:

There are religious and spiritual traditions in the world among which, for the last twenty-five or twenty-six centuries and longer, any direct or indirect killing of any living being is forbidden.  Why is that?  Because we know we live by fear.  We are shaken with fear at all times in our lives.  The Yoga-sutras  define fear as violence.  It is not fear of violence committed by others towards us; it is the recognition of the violence within us:  I know within me that I have hurt living beings.  ‘Living beings,’ I am saying, not human beings.  I have hurt ‘living beings.’  I have visited death upon them.  I believe I said this last year from my hospital bed.  We are living in this fear at all times.  While you are asleep, thousands of living beings are being killed so that you may eat them for breakfast.  Every morning you are served dead corpses to eat.  And the sigh that goes out of those living beings when they face extinction is the same fear that make you tremble at the thought of death – that you want to push it away.

The other day my son Angiris and I went out for a walk into a little village of mud huts on the other side of the Ganges.  And there were all these goats roaming free around the house, not needing to run away because they knew that those were their homes.  And we picked up the kids and held them in our arms and the kids’ mothers (the ewes) came to greet us.  And I said in my mind, “How is it possible that people can bite into these and eat these?”  In all spiritual traditions of the world there are days without meat.  The question was even brought to St. Paul: Romans 14.

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In the most ancient scriptures of the world there is one thing that has been constantly preceding truth.  You all think that truth is higher than anything – so in the Sanskrit language satyam (truth).  But there is something higher than satyam, and that is called rtambha (Supreme Truth).  The word rta has come before satya.   In the Yoga-sutras the word the word ahimsa (non-violence, universal compassion) has come before satya (truth).  Before learning to practice truth, you have to learn to express your love by understanding not killing, not harming, not injuring, not hurting.   (Swami Rama)

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So . . . extend your non-violence to all living beings . . . .  No, you’re not doing anything special for them.  It is not an act of compassion towards them.  It is a recognition of the oneness of the In-Dwelling Spirit.  Every act of murder is a suicide because that other is also I, the Universal Self.  Please remember that: Every act of murder is a suicide.  There is no distinction between the two.

I, myself in my life, have never killed a fly.  No, literally so.  Mosquitoes I have killed.  I do want to reach that stage which some yogis have reached where they do not need to kill mosquitoes because the mosquitoes would not bite them.  No, this is also true.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  But it takes time to reach that state of spiritual development where mosquitoes would not bite you.  But let us start slowly.  So this is one step towards non-violence.  Now, don’t give me the “carrot argument:”  “What about carrots?”  Let us start with cows first, or goats, or sheep.  We will come to carrots some other time when we no longer need to eat anything.

As I have said at times in the past, you have a kitchen garden, and a guest comes.  You are very proud of your kitchen garden, and you take him or her for a walk around your kitchen garden and show the best carrots you have produced, or the tomatoes.  Have you ever taken your friends for a walk in a slaughter house?  Well, why not?  So that should show you the difference between eating carrots and eating corpses.

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“There is one religion — the religion of love, of heart.  There is one message, the message of Ahimsa, the message of beholding one’s own Self in all beings.”  (Swami Sivananda)

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A story I have told you elsewhere before of the great sage Vyasa, who composed the epic Mahabharata:  His only son, Shukadeva, was an enlightened being, and – it’s a long story – finally Shukadeva decided to renounce the world and enter the final moksha , the final liberation, and drop his body in the state of highest light.  He walked away, and Vyasa, so attached to his son, ran after him through the forest, calling, “Shukadeva, Shukadeva, my son!  Shuka!  Son!”  It is said in the scriptures that Shuka had become so one with the In-Dwelling Spirit, that every blade of grass, every tree, every vine, every flower, the very mountains, valleys and rivers, contained his spirit.  And when Vyasa called for Shuka, it is said that the entire forest resounded.  Every flower and shrub, every vine and every tree cried out, “Here I am, Father!”  It is said that when Shuka finally sat on the mountain top to leave his body, he left his body with such a light that the mountain was split by the force of his light and energy.

We are not there yet, but make a start.  So conquest of the urge to use other living beings for your pleasure.  Conquest of the urge to use others as your safety valves.  Both are violations of the principle of the one, In-Dwelling Spirit. And I don’t believe any of these theories of the survival of the fittest and all that nonsense. These have been created to justify what the world wanted to do in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Holy spirit

Giving life to all life

Moving all creatures

Root of all things

Washing them clean

Wiping out their mistakes

Healing their wounds

You are our true life

Luminous, Wonderful

Awakening the heart from its Ancient sleep.

(Hildegard of Bingen)

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“Each man is haunted until his humanity awakens.” (William Blake)

“I know of no more beautiful prayer than that Hindu prayer which says, ‘May all that has life, be delivered from suffering.’” (Arthur Schopenhauer)

“God is singing and Creation is the melody.” (David Palmer)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=auSo1MyWf8g%3Frel%3D0


 

January 4 and 5, 2017

Swami Veda’s talk on the Vasudeva Principle from the Annual Spiritual Festival (1992)

The Vasu-Deva Principle –  Part One:

I would like to extend again the invitation to continue living in the Vasu-deva principle, the principle of the In-Dweller, the single In-Dwelling Deity, the In-Dwelling Force.  How do we go about doing this?  All these years we have prepared for this step.  And what is that step?  The very, very first step in yoga.  This year we shall introduce yoga into our lives, the first step in yoga, consciously.

As you know, that of the eight limbs or steps on the ladder of yoga, the first one is Yama, the interior spiritual disciplines.  And the very first one of the five Yamas is Ahimsa , or non-violence.  And we want to introduce this principle into our lives.  How do we introduce this principle into our lives?  I’ll share some thoughts with you.  When we live by the In-Dweller principle, we know that Spirit in all beings is one.  We must not be satisfied by merely paying lip-service to this principle.  We must live by it in our relationships with all beings.

Much is being said about ecology these days: “Oh, how the species of wildlife are becoming extinct.  Oh, we have to save the earth’s biodiversity.”  Why?  Because it is good for human beings, which means it is of long-term commercial benefit.  This is nonsense.  That is not how our ecology is going to be saved. . . .

(Many “Thank-you’s”  to Stoma for explaining the etymology of Vasu-deva.  Very often by understanding the derivation of a word, we can learn the essence of the concept behind it.  Swami Veda has often said, “Words are like idea capsules.”  If you have the keys to opening up words, treasures can be revealed.) 

Stoma tells us,

“There are two etymological routes. for “Vasu-deva,” both of which issue from the verb root vas, meaning “to dwell,” “to live,” “to stay,” “to abide” – also “to be,” “to exist,” “to be found in.”

The word vāsu means the (in-dwelling) Soul of the Universe or Supreme Being, and is usually, but not always, an epithet of Vishnu.

On this path, Vāsu-deva becomes that deva which is the In-dwelling Supreme Being of the Universe. (That would certainly be the more Vedantic interpretation.)

Vasudeva is the name of the father of Krishna and, like all patronymics in Sanskrit, the vowel is lengthened in reference to the son. Krishna, therefore, is known as Vāsudeva, the son of Vasudeva,  as in Verse 7.19 from the Bhagavad-gita

bahūnāṁ janmanam ante      At the end of many lifetimes

jñānavān māṁ prapadyate    one endowed with knowledge attains Me,

vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti             knowing ‘the In-Dweller is All.’

sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ       Such a great-souled one is very difficult to find.  


 

January 3, 2017

Love goes down deep to the soul level, where you understand that you are a ripple of bliss, and your partner is also a ripple of bliss. Then you ask yourself how you can hurt this other ripple, because you are actually two children of Eternity. (Swami Rama – Path of Fire and Light II, p. 92.)

What is Love? When two waves realize they are part of same ocean. (Swami Veda)

Nirvana is the basis of everything, as water is the basis of any wave. If the wave meditates, if it takes a moment to look at its own nature, it recognizes that it contains all the other waves.  It is like a flower –it contains the whole cosmos. (Thich Nhat Hanh)


 

January 2, 2017

The fundamental truths of all great religions are one and the same because God is the inner dweller of everybody’s heart whether you are born in the West or East. (Swami Rama)

Why do people ask, “What is the difference? “Why do people not ask,  “What is the unity? What is the connection?”  (Swami Veda Bharati)

“There’s too much said for the sake of argument and too little said for the sake of agreement.”  (Cullen Hightower)

The Deity Who is in the fire, in the waters, The One Who has entered to dwell in the entire universe, The One who is in herbs and plants, Unto That Divinity we make obeisance.(Shvetashvatara Upanishad 2.17)

In the manner, the way ye attend, ye treat or ye hold – in thy mental self – thy brother’s position, or thy neighbor’s or thy friend’s as thy own, that is the manner, the concept ye hold of thy Creator!  (Edgar Cayce, Reading 1603-1

All are but parts of one stupendous whole Whose body Nature is . . . and God the soul.” (Alexander Pope)


January 1, 2017

Wishing you the very best for the new year . . . and far, far beyond.

There will be quotes coming out every day throughout the year, from various scriptures and sages of many spiritual paths, all pertaining to the Vasu-deva Principle.  If one were to point to one universal principle that encompasses all religions and ethical standards, it would be the Vasu-deva Principle. For humanity to realize that there is one all-embracing spiritual presence pervading all things may be the only saving grace for the times we are now facing.

THE VASU DEVA PRINCIPLE

Vasu-Deva-Sarvam – The Indweller Who is All

Sarva sharī reshu chaitanya-eka-tānatā dhyānam. (“To recognize in all the bodies one single continuum of consciousness is meditation.”)

Why does anyone want to do something for others?  Where does this motivation come from?  Where does this loving tendency in human beings come from?  That love comes from when one has become aware of the unity in diversity and realizes that we are all one essentially.”  (Swami Rama in Choosing a Path, p. 108)

At the end of many lifetimes one endowed with knowledge attains Me, knowing ‘the Indweller is All’ (vasudeva sarvam iti).  Such a great-souled one (mahatma) is very difficult to find. (Bhagavad Gita 7.19)

For you the world outside will now stand transformed as the very expression or manifestation of God — everywhere the Light of God will dazzle your eyes; even in the apparent diversity and activity of nature you will strangely be conscious of an all-pervading stillness and peace of the Eternal – a consciousness which is unshakably permanent. You will also feel that you are liberated from the harassing dualities of life followed by the crowning experience of an abiding state of ineffable ecstasy. (Swami Ramdas)

Great Spirit — All over the world the faces of living ones are alike. With tenderness they have come up out of the ground. Give us the strength to understand, and the eyes to see. Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives to all that live. (Prayer of Sioux people)

Love and pity and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love, and then you dwell in God.  (William Law)

 

 

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