Sharnoff’s Global Views
What are the Secrets to a Successful Life?
Sharnoff’s Global Views
Maya Pathak, an India-based documentary filmmaker and Dr. Amna Mirza, an author and academic, discuss Indian politics and tips on how to be successful in life. life-india-politics. Indian author and academic Dr. Amna Mirza. Photo courtesy of Maya Pathak.
Govt schemes on old age pension far from being successful
Times of India
TRICHY: At a time when the world is celebrating the international day of the elderly, a large number of old-aged people still live on the streets doing odd jobs trying hard to make ends meet. In the city alone it is estimated that about 600 elderly …
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be returning to Dubai and India this month, with additional stops in Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain in April! I can’t wait to return to the gulf to teach several powerful workshops designed to help you develop a clear, personal plan of action to help take you from where you
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be returning to Dubai and India this month, with additional stops in Kuwait and Bahrain in April! I can’t wait to return to the gulf to teach several powerful workshops designed to help you develop a clear, personal plan of action to help take you from where you are
All methods are traps. In my relation to my guru, at first my love was so strong, all I wanted to do was rub his feet and look at his form and just be around him. Then, as time went on, not that the love grew less, the love grew different, until I was very fulfilled just being at a distance in relation to him. It kept growing deeper and deeper until I really didn’t care whether I was with his form anymore. I started to relate to him in a way where it wasn’t that man in India anymore, it was the essence of love, and I began to experience it in myself in relation to him. The whole quality of the dynamics of the situation was changing as I was growing in wisdom and as my heart was opening and my surrender was greater.
When I have kidded about it I said, I worshipped his form until I realized that that was just the doorpost and I was just rubbing the doorpost- I had to look through the keyhole and each surrender led me in and in and in. It was a method that took me right back to myself and to beyond form. In the presence of love a lot of the qualities of renunciation or intellectual discriminations that are really difficult when you are trying to do them in a rajasic, “I can do it!” way, are indescribably easy in the presence of that unconditional love.
Those of you who have had a really powerful love relationship will recognize what it is like to care more about your beloved than about yourself. Your favorite food comes on the table and your main concern is that the other person has enough of it, not that you get enough of it. You are fulfilled that they should eat it. When you have a child, that’s the kind of experience you have. People say, “aren’t you self-effacing, aren’t you sacrificing your child,” but it isn’t sacrifice, it’s joy. All austerities with a dry heart are heavy, but with love they become, “Oh, I’ll do this for my beloved. I’ll give this up, it will get me closer!” When you really want to get close to your beloved, you can’t give things up fast enough.
Ram Dass, 1973
This article is from a Ram Dass lecture that took place in 1976. It can be argued that much of the “upleveling” of spiritual consciousness described here is still taking place in the West. Like many of Ram Dass’ words, this description of the spiritual state of the U.S. applies just as much to current beliefs as it did over thirty years ago.
There’s a tremendously delicate predicament with the scene in America now. Historically we have to go back to the opening of the sixties, the opening of consciousness that made many hundreds of thousands of people realize suddenly that there is something else. We were looking for new models then, and we bought them as fast as we could. We imported them as fast as we could, and the imports were somewhat second rate, most of them, because we didn’t know enough. We couldn’t discriminate yet. We couldn’t get the pure thing because we were going in too grossly to grab at whatever we could get.
As the years go by, the nature of the intermediaries who are bringing back the teachings is growing purer and purer. When the first people came back they brought a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Eclecticism was riding high, everybody taking a little of this and a little of that, at the wrong level in a way. Nobody was really getting the teachings out of it. They were getting a little teaching, and the beginnings of a realization that there are beings that have done this kind of thing. But they weren’t getting the full blast because there was nobody around to give it.
Slowly the demand for more purity of lineage and tradition has increased. In the past ten years in America we’ve seen a tremendous upleveling of the whole process. There is now a demand and a readiness in a sizeable population in the west to receive higher teachings. And that’s really what it’s about, because the higher teachings are attracted by the readiness of people to receive them. What we’ve seen in the past fifteen years in the U.S. is a profound growth in the spiritual community in America. I’m talking about the upper end of this continuum, of the people who are ready to receive higher teachings.
In a country like India those people are very few percentage wise, even though there are millions of sadhus. Many of them just have it as a way of life, a religious way of life, but it isn’t the highest teachings. Now this demand is bringing forth some of the higher teachers and higher forms of teachings in America.
It is also true that because of its affluence and its democracy and its decadence, this country is in a unique position, maybe just a fertile moment before suppression reigns. The whole thing could turn into a very militaristic situation in which there would be a tremendous suppression of all this stuff, because it is all in a way heretical to any political structure, and to nationalism at that level. But at this moment there is a very fertile field for very rapid spiritual growth in this country, in the Western hemisphere. And we are all taking advantage of it as fast as we can, so the teachings are appearing here where before they were not received or supported. There are very few young people in India who want to study this stuff. In India if you go to the scenes that are run by Tibetans or Indians, most of the young people are all westerners now. We are importing it back to the west, and we are just starting to get the higher teachers and teachings now.
The predicament is that westerners tend to look at the whole thing as if they were going shopping at the supermarket. You have to be aware of the subtleties to discriminate between methods and their values, and the ways they work on you, but at the beginning you just can’t hear. You just can’t differentiate the very gross teaching from the finer teaching. In fact, the grosser teachers usually attract people much more quickly because they are designed to do that. The higher teachers don’t want those students. I can feel in myself the way the whole change in my being is changing the quality of the people who come into my office. The quality of them is changing because my desire structure is changing. Before they were important or they were sexually attractive or they were rich or they were fascinating in some way. Now the only people I am interested in are those who really want to go to God. Far out, the whole game is changed!
One story that Maharaji told was about an old pujari, an old temple priest, who left a young boy in charge of his temple when he went away. The way it happens is that you bring food and you offer it to the murti and the pujari takes it in behind the curtain, he draws the curtain, and he offers it to Hanuman. Then usually what the pujari does is he takes a little of the food and he keeps it to distribute to the poor and the rest he gives back as Prasad that comes from the murti. Everybody does it at different levels, some think it’s a game and some accept it as the living prasad.
This young boy didn’t know what the routine was behind the curtain because he had never been behind the curtain. So when the first food was brought he went behind and offered it to Hanuman and Hanuman didn’t take it. The boy got freaked since he didn’t want to take the offering back to the people unaccepted, so he took a stick and threatened Hanuman and said, “You have to take this!” So Hanuman took the whole thing, everything on the plate disappeared. He went out and told the family that Hanuman took the whole thing and they beat him, thinking he had stolen it. When the old pujari came back and heard the story he said, “All my life I have been waiting for this to happen, but I was never pure enough for Hanuman to do it for me.”
The stories of murtis manifesting in India are so common that most of us who have lived in these temples have developed a tremendous amount of honor and love and respect and realize that the murti is, just like the avatar, a manifestation of the living God.
Ram Dass, 1976
Talking about Maharaji, I get speechless. On the physical plane he is a jungle sadhu who in recent years has started to spend more time in temples around northern India that devotees have built in order to try to capture him, or hold onto a little bit of that light. And he appears in one, and stays for a little while, and then just when they get all their rituals in order to hang onto him forever, he’s hone. In the middle of the night he just disappears again – I mean, not in any astral sense, he just gets someone with a car to take him off somewhere, and nobody knows where he’s gone, and then he turns up somewhere else. And he floats around in that way, so that nobody can really control that kind of light in him.
When you’re with him, when I’m with him, I experience many levels. At the personality social level, he’s often infuriating and frustrating and Mickey Mouse and repetitive and childlike and stubborn and willful and playful and funny and an old man and a little child and very concerned and very indifferent, and that’s one level.
At another level, when I’m in his presence, I experience ecstasy and bliss from the depth of the love that our relationship has for me. And that’s the drunken kind of love where I often find myself just dissolved into tears because I’ve just never experienced such profound love from any being. And often just when I’m going into that he will interrupt it with some question like “How much money does Stephen make?” or something like that just to bring me back to the plane. He keeps me very firmly down on the physical plane until my work is done. He doesn’t allow me to just float around in bliss very much when I’m around him.
Then there’s a deeper level, like when I first met him he asked me why I’d come back and I told him it was to purify myself more. He said “I am always in communion with you.” And I have more and more deeply understood that to be the case, and in fact that’s now who he is for me. He is a being who is with me always, and sometimes he’s with me so closely that I am him – I’m saying things to people or I’m acting a certain way towards people and I look at their reaction and I see that they’re not reacting to me, they’re reacting to him. That is him just coming through me completely. And at that point I don’t feel his presence because in some sense I am his presence. And then the rest of the time I just feel like I am constantly hanging out with him at a very subtle plane. And at this plane I just feel him as this gentle, firm guide, who’s slowly drawing me towards himself, just pulling me ever so gently. And there’s no rest, it’s a continuous process. And I take almost everything that happens to me as a part of his teachings to me, I take everything if I can remember. If I get uptight about wanting to do good about something, I see him saying to me “Well, you’re still caught, aren’t you? You really still care, don’t you?” And I can just constantly talk with him all the time at that level.
~Ram Dass, 1973
The minute you know that there is somebody who knows it all, you are free. Because all your secrets become absurd, because somebody knows everything about you and they say, “yeah, right. Look at all that horrible stuff and here we are.” Maharaji knows all about my dirty laundry. I remember once I went into an ashram where you rent a cave for 18 rupees a week and they lock you in and pass food in through a window. It was very hot in there so I was naked all the time. I came back to Maharaji and one of the first things he said to me was, out of a clear sky, “You know, it’s good not to wear clothes.” I said “Oh, yeah Maharaji? Thank you.”
I was in Bombay and I started to drink scotch and sodas. I was with the president of an ashram board of trustees. I was visiting his home and I was a yogi and he said, “The doctors said that for my heart I have to take a little scotch every night,” And I said, “Oh, I understand.” Because it’s not good to drink in India. Conscious beings don’t drunk, because it’s not a very interesting drug actually.
So I went into his room expecting him to bring out a little medicine glass and pour some, but he brought out an ice bucket and two glasses and I remembered the days when I really loved scotch and soda. So he poured one and said, “Would you like some soda water?” I said, “No, I’ll join you.” I figured, “Tantra is for me!” So I got completely crocked and we staggered through dinner, his wife was feeding us, and I could barely find the table. This was on one drink. The next evening we started a little earlier and it was one of those things. After about three days I went back up north to Brindaban and that evening Maharaji called me out to his tucket and he started talking about this other yogi who was an American who was being taken care of by these very devoted women.
He said, “He’s with women!” I said, “Yes, I know Maharaji.” He said, “What does he call them?” I said, “He calls them his mothers,” “Oh, how old are they?” I said, “Well, one is twenty years old.” He was just taking me through this whole thing, he had done it a dozen times before. He said, “You know what his mothers give him?” I said, “No, what?” He said, “They give him milk.” I said, “That’s wonderful. Mothers, milk, that’s just right on.” He said, “Every night they give him milk.” I said, “Oh, that’s wonderful Maharaji.” Maharaji comes up to me really close and he says to me, “You know what they put in the milk?” I say, “No Maharaji, what do they put in the milk?” He says, “Liquor!” and I said, “No!” And he comes closer and he says, “Yes!” and shakes his finger at me.
So where am I going to hide? You think because he is not in a body it makes any difference?
There’s that constant feeling, if you can’t hide it’s all out in the open and if it’s all out in the open, well, here we are. You have to be what you are because you can’t make believe you are something else, because who are you going to fool? It’s far out, there is just nowhere to lock the door. That’s quite freeing, it turns out.
~Ram Dass, 1977
With Maharaji’s permission, Ram Dass published the book Be Here Now in America in 1971. He gave instructions to the publisher to print the book and came to India with the first copy to present to Maharaji. Maharaji had not studied English. Yet five months later he drew Ram Dass’ attention to some untruths in two passages of the book and said, “Lies should not be mentioned in this book. They will hurt you. Delete those passages from the book.”
Ram Dass became anxious because a long time had elapsed, and the book might already have been published. He expected that about thirty thousand copies would have been printed. He contacted Steve Durkee and found out that the next thirty thousand copies were, in fact, in print. Explaining the situation to Baba, he said that the changes could only be incorporated into the next edition. It would be a loss of $10,000 to reject the thirty thousand books. Maharaji said, “Money and truth have nothing to do with each other. When you printed it first, you thought it was true, but now that you know it isn’t, you can’t print lies. You will be hurt by it. You must correct it now.”
Ram Dass sent a cable to Steve. After a week he received a reply reporting a strange incident. The book could not be printed because Baba’s photograph, which was to be printed on a full page, was missing. The original was also missing, so a new plate could not be made. The printed had pulled the job off the press to await further instructions.
Excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”