In English, it sounds just the same:
a senseless string of words
embued with some sense of mystique
used to convince and tame you;
to teach you follow and not lead;
that first impulse is evil.
If what you seek you have right now,
then why the mad gyrations,
austerities, and endless rules
to curb now’s inclinations?
What higher purpose would you serve
that others claim is worthy?
A thousand saints are born and die
each day, and yet it makes no difference:
if an altered state of mind
could change the world,
it would be changed by now.
Who has convinced you that the truth
is out there for the finding?
If they possessed an ounce or two,
what good is that to you?
They are no different, save for this:
when someone gave them manna
they asked after the recipe
and did not stay for dinner.
What meal can satisfy your urge
that has no form or substance?
What is the point of starving, then,
to merely birth a vision?
The gods, if they exist at all,
have no need of your mantras;
they will enlighten who they will.
Your efforts make no difference.
In that case, why expect reward?
Instead, just go on living
as if this one was all you had;
and nothing will be missing.
31 JUL 2006
Oh, to express in simple words
My fervent wish and prayer:
Mankind, to find its center space
And seek beyond rebirth and death;
Not worry that it leaves behind
Infinite unfinished possibilities.
Peace: that is what we lose
Amidst this daily upmanship,
Denying that with win or lose, what’s
Mine is fleeting, as is yours.
Each treasures their illusions best.
Harm another, harm yourself.
Understanding this, transcend and let
Mankind evolve and learn to live.
31 JUL 2006
Imagine a person made completely out of salt.
If that person chooses to be immersed in the ocean, their very being is absorbed by the sea. Once their head is beneath the waves, no distinction can be made between their now dissolved form and the depths into which they have sojourned. Not even the ocean can separate itself again, saying “this minute portion of me is of that small salt doll, and the remainder is not”.
Such is the case, too, when a person approaches and begins to comprehend the infinite energy of the universe. Once an individual recognizes the eternal within themselves, the external sack of temporal cloth in which that eternal has been stored melts away, and only the infinite remains.
In either case, who is left to report, to return some answer to the question they originally set out seeking? And in what language could that answer be expressed, that those on the shore, whose toes scarcely dare to dip into the surf’s foam, would be able to understand?
Even the cleverest of parables fails. And to speak with the voice of the ocean itself is to be misunderstood as a overwhelming roar.
From Swami Satchidananda’s translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita:
Cherished by your spirit of sacrifice, the gods give you everything you want. (But remember) whoever receives gifts from the gods without offering anything back is a thief.
To take one hundred percent and give nothing in return is to be a thief.
To take one hundred percent and give only fifty percent is to be a debtor.
To take one hundred percent and give one hundred percent is to be a good business person.
To give one hundred percent and take only fifty percent is to be a righteous person.
To give one hundred percent and take nothing in return is to be a saint or a yogi.
We should always examine our transactions and discover in which category we put ourselves.
— Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Three, Verse Twelve
With the replacement of two books in my post-Katrina library, one classic (BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga) and a modern interpretation and condensation of that classic, with great illustrations and “work in the posture” tips (Iyengar students Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta’s Yoga: The Iyengar Way), I have again begun practicing yoga. It’s been a long time since I was able to comfortably do padmasana (the lotus position), let alone matsyasana (the fish), and it’s definitely been at least 75 pounds since my last sirsasana (shoulder stand)! I must admit, my previous practice never made it all that far – years of sitting at a desk had even then seriously reduced my leg flexibility – but let me tell you, it’s not EXACTLY like riding a bike. Very difficult to pick up where you leave off, particularly when the “leaving off” can be measured in dog (or tree) years.
But I’m back at it; working in the garden lately has reminded me of just how stiff, unlimber and soft I’ve become – and trying to get back into the swing of regular meditation with a body that unprepared for stillness is no picnic.
I can’t say enough positive things about Iyengar’s book: his discussion of breathing and the philosophy and art of exercise dovetails quite beautifully with my other current re-reading of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (the Swami Satchidananda translation and commentaries). And the Mehta’s book, although missing a number of key poses and definitely reduced in scope for a less comprehensive audience, particularly on the spiritual aspects, is very good with respect to step-by-step written and photographic instructions. Both works inspirational, and highly recommended for all.
I only managed about 10 minutes worth today; but already I can tell the difference.
Om namah shivaya, ya’ll 🙂
Paraphrased from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra 33:
If someone is happy, offer them friendship (share their happiness)
If someone is unhappy, offer them compassion (lighten their suffering)
If someone is virtuous, offer them delight (celebrate their goodness)
If someone is wicked, offer them disregard (give them no reward)
In this way, you can yourself be calm and untroubled.
Or something like that …
With one word aloud,
the illusion is broken
as the echo fades.
So deep, this still well,
that a small sound is strengthened
and seems so much more.
But echoes will fade;
and in the gaping silence
words do not survive.
The illusion is
that there is one who listens.
Without sound, who knows?
What use is speaking
in such an empty cavern?
My ego needs this?
21 JUL 2006