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Friends,

I am delighted to share video of my Teacher, Guide &  Friend Sri M. The interview was conducted by  and is a must watch video.

“The amazing first person accounts of Sri M, guru to many and author of what’s said to be among India’s fastest selling book on spirituality, “Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master: A Yogi’s Autobiography”.

Sri M lives in the ashram he created in Madanapalle, India. Born into a Muslim family as, Mumtaz Ali Khan, Sri M is considered to be one of India’s leading contemporary mystics. As a young man, Sri M lived for several years high in the Himalayan mountains with his teacher, Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji who in turn was the disciple of Mahavatar Babaji.

In this interview, Sri M tells of meeting in person, Shirdi Sai Baba, Mahavatar Babaji, serpent spiritual beings fro another galaxy and many others, comments that stretch one’s credulity, and faith, just as Sri M prefers.

Welcome to Souljourns,  with Sri M. This interview was recorded in Sri M’s home in Madanapalle, India in December of 2012.

Love All ~ Serve All
Souljourns

A STUNNING FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT OF A MODERN MYSTIC – Part 1


A STUNNING FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT OF A MODERN MYSTIC – Part 2

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Disciplehood

(Photo Credit : ghostsofdc.org)

When the great Sufi mystic, Hasan, was dying, somebody asked “Hasan, who was your master?”

He said, “I had thousands of masters. If I just relate their names it will take months, years and it is too late. But three masters I will certainly tell you about.

One was a thief. Once I got lost in the desert, and when I reached a village it was very late, everything was closed. But at last I found one man who was trying to make a hole in t he wall of a house. I asked him where I could stay and he said ‘At this time of night it will be difficult, but you can say with me – if you can stay with a thief’

And the man was so beautiful. I stayed for one month! And each night he would say to me, ‘Now I am going to my work. You rest, you pray.’ When he came back I would ask ‘Could you get anything?’ He would say, ‘Not tonight. But tomorrow I will try again, God willing.’ He was never in a state of hopelessness, he was always happy.

When I was meditating and meditating for years on end and nothing was happening, many times the moment came when I was so desperate, so hopeless, that I thought to stop all this nonsense. And suddenly I would remember the thief who would say every night, ‘God willing, tomorrow it is going to happen.’

And my second master was a dog. I was going to the river, thirsty and a dog came. He was also thirsty. He looked into the river, he saw another dog there — his own image — and became afraid. He would bard and run away, but his thirst was so much that he would come back. Finally, despite his fear, he just jumped into the water, and the image disappeared. And I knew that a message had come to me from God: one has to jump in spite of all fears.

And the third master was a small child. I entered a town and a child was carrying a lit candle. He was going to the mosque to put the candle there.

‘Just joking,’ I asked the boy, ‘Have you lit the candle yourself?’ He said, ‘Yes sir.’ And I asked, ‘There was a moment when the candle was unlit, then there was a moment when the candle was lit. Can you show me the source from which the light came?’

And the boy laughed, blew out the candle, and said, ‘Now you have seen the light going. Where has it gone? You will tell me!’

My ego was shattered, my whole knowledge was shattered. And that moment I felt my own stupidity. Since then I dropped all my knowledgeability.

It is true that I had no master. That does not mean that I was not a disciple — I accepted the whole existence as my master. My Disciplehood was a greater involvement than yours is. I trusted the clouds, the trees. I trusted existence as such. I had no master because I had millions of masters I learned from every possible source. To be a disciple is a must on the path. What does it mean to be a disciple? It means to be able to learn. To be available to learn to be vulnerable to existence. With a master you start learning to learn.

The master is a swimming pool where you can learn how to swim. Once you have learned, all the oceans are yours.”

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(Photo credit wonderingfair)

(Photo credit wonderingfair)

In a hermitage deep in the forest lived the learned sage, Uddalaka Aruni with his son Shvetketu. When Shvetketu came of age, his father sent him to an Ashram for his education as was customary in those days. When Shvetketu returned home after twelve years of education, Uddalaka asked him, “What did you learn while in the Ashram, my son?”

“I learned everything that can be known, father,” Shvetketu answered.

When he heard this, Uddalaka became silent and thought, “What pride! Such conceit is born only out of ignorance. My son has not yet grasped the essence of the supreme knowledge of Brahman which brings humility.”

Shvetketu observed the change that came over his father and inquired, “Why did you become so quiet, father?”

“Dear son,” replied Uddalaka, “You say that you know everything that can be known. Then you must know that knowledge or wisdom by which what is unknown becomes known and what is unseen becomes seen?”

“No, I don’t,” replied Shvetketu. “But please, father, tell me about it.”

Uddalaka lovingly said, “Well son, look at those pots and toys. They are made of clay. The potter takes a lump of clay and makes all kinds of different shapes out of it. So by knowing one lump of clay, one can know everything that is made of clay!”

“This is true for everything, son,” continued Uddalaka, “If you know the fundamental structure of gold, you will also know all the ornaments made out of it. If you know a piece of iron, you know all the utensils made of iron.”

To make things clearer for his son, Uddalaka headed towards the river while continuing his conversation, “Therefore, my child, you must get to know the essence of all things, the One that exists in everything in this Universe, the great power of Brahman.”

“It is that same power which guides the river from the hills to flow into the ocean. That power then causes the water in the ocean to evaporate and form clouds which will produce rain to replenish the river, thus completing the cycle.”

Pointing towards a tree which was chopped down by a woodcutter, Uddalaka said, “Take for example that tree over there. The sap, which is it’s life and enabled it to draw sustenance from the earth, is leaking out of it.”

“Can you tell that one of the branches of the tree is dead?” questioned Uddalaka. “Each branch of that tree if deprived of the sap, which is it’s life, will dry up. And when the entire tree is drained of the sap, the whole tree will die.”

While Uddalaka and Shvetketu were talking, they saw a dead body carried by a group of people for cremation. Uddalaka pointed towards the dead body and spoke to his son, “Similarly, my son, when life forsakes the body, the body dies, but the life itself does not die.”

The son looked puzzled when Uddalaka explained, “My son, that which does not die is called the Atman and you are that Atman. The Atman is all pervasive and is present in everything that you see, living or nonliving.”

“Why can’t I see this Atman which is all pervasive and in everything?” Asked Shvetketu.

baniyan fruit

To explain this, Uddalaka asked his son to bring a fruit which was hanging from a Banyan tree (a tree common in India which gives plenty of shade and bears small fruits).

Shvetketu picked a fruit from the tree and brought it to his father.

“Break it, son, and look inside,” suggested Uddalaka.

“What do you see?” Uddalaka questioned.

“Tiny seeds, father,” replied Shvetketu.

“Do you see anything inside?” asked Uddalaka.

“No! There is nothing there” responded Shvetketu.

“If there is nothing inside,” said Uddalaka, “Then how can that tiny seed gives rise to this huge Banyan tree? That, Shvetketu, is the Atman, the essence of all things. The Atman pervades the universe, and, my son, you are a part of that universe.”

“Well father, if we cannot see the essence, how do we know that it exists?” said Shvetketu with a puzzled mind.

“I shall explain that to you, my son” affirmed Uddalaka. “First put some water in that pitcher.”

“Now bring some salt and put the salt in the water,” instructed the father. Shvetketu did as his father asked.

“Keep the pitcher aside for now,” said Uddalaka, “And bring it to me tomorrow morning.”

Early the next morning, Shvetketu went to his father with the pitcher of water.

“Can you see the salt?” asked Uddalaka.

Shvetketu searched, and of course, the salt was no longer visible.

Shvetketu said, “No, father, it must be dissolved in the water.”

“Now taste it from the top,” instructed Uddalaka.

Shvetketu dipped his finger into the water and tasted the water from the top.

“It is salty,” Shvetketu said.

“Now taste the water from the bottom,” said Uddalaka.

“It’s salty there too, father” answered Shvetketu.

“Similarly, Shvetketu, as you cannot see the salt, you cannot see the essence. But it is always present everywhere.”

Finally Uddalaka concluded, “My son, this omnipresent essence is called the Atman, which pervades everything. You too are that, Oh Shvetketu.”

“I am grateful father,” said Shvetketu and touched his father’s feet. “You have helped me gain the knowledge with which the unknown becomes known, the unseen becomes seen.”

The father then blessed his son.

 

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Train of thoughts (Photo Credit : Bumpybrains.com)

Thoughts after thoughts, the train is chugging on most of the times, stealing my precious….. present moment.

I can not forget. Once in 1997, I was standing resting my back to wall and thinking about some matter at hand. When I came to a conclusion on that subject, my mind pops up, what net to think about?  I paused.

There was the thought and there was an observer to the thought.

That was one milestone moment for me as I noticed my mind pattern. Since then I have been seeking to understand mind better. One of the method I adopted, is described below.

As you sit and watch the thoughts, that is thought watching thought, as you watch, one thought comes up, before it becomes a chain, stream, use your thought again as a weapon, think that you, with your mind, have made a sword and as soon as the thought comes up, cut it off.

 

It is similar to the analogy of using a thorn to remove another. Let me explain. If one gets a prick of a thorn, it is removed by using another thorn or needle.

 

This practice can easily highlight that we are not our thoughts and there is more to us then just mere thoughts.

 

Go on, give it a try and see for yourself.  I would love to hear your experience too.

 

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sensuall brunette woman in underwear, studio shot, dark background,

Today I am going to talk about Solitude. Now please don’t get it wrong, it doesn’t mean that all human beings who are interested in spiritual matters should run away and sit alone in the mountains or in a cave and remain forever in solitude. This is not what I am talking about.

Solitude actually is a state of mind. It’s the understanding that dawns upon the mind, that one is really alone in the sense, like a great soul once said, Alone, A-L-O-N-E is actually all one. Now alone is not isolation. So the solitude which I am talking about is not isolation. It is not something that is imposed upon us. It is not as if we are arrested and put under solitary confinement. That is not solitude. Solitude is a spiritual word indicating a beautiful state of mind. Where one is ONE. One is ONE… Yes. Meaning, oneself is one with the entire universe. It is a result of a spiritual experience, where we begin to understand and realize that the whole world is one and we are a part of it. That is what I mean by Solitude.

Now, at another level, solitude is what the poets talk about. Well, you lead your life, you have your family, you have your friends, you enjoy yourself and then you decide, “Now I have to be alone for a while, to think, to ruminate, to meditate, to contemplate”. So what do I do? I quietly walk off, to the sea-shore and sit on the sands, and look at the waves, thinking particularly about nothing. Just watching the waves come up and down, seeing the vastness of the sea, and the silence that is heard in the midst of the dashing waves of the ocean. Now that is a spiritual experience. Or I go off for a walk in the woods, just keep walking in the woods, looking at the great tall trees, listening to the insects, no human being in sight. The dew dripping down from the leaves that is again solitude. Or I sit near the sand dunes in the desert, like Jaisalmer for instance, and watch the camels go by, and watch the sands being shifted by the wind. That is solitude too. Or I relax in an easy chair, sitting in my own personal little sit out, and hear the birds outside, sometimes even the traffic going past in the road, that is also solitude. Or if I am a yogi, I sit quietly in a beautiful place, where there is plenty of fresh air and oxygen, open or close my eyes, and just remain quiet and alone with myself. That is what is known as Yogic Solitude.

Now though, these may be different expressions of solitude, or different ways of enjoying solitude, which I think every human being needs at some time or the other, the result of all this is finally that one feels a oneness with the entire universe. With the breeze, with the waves, with the plants, with the birds, with the dew, with the woods. There is a strange feeling that steals in which you feel that you are a part of the whole and not different from anything else. And that there is only ONE. That I would call Spiritual Solitude.

Now the question is, if all this is true, okay we agree, but is there a necessity at times, or is there a necessity at all, for those who practice concentration and meditation and who are sadhaks, who are seekers, who are advancing towards spiritual perfection, is it necessary for such people, such sadhaks, such trainees, to actually and deliberately to move away from society? And go to a solitary place and sit in solitude. Is it necessary? Does it help spiritual practice? I would say yes. But not lifelong, because lifelong you really cannot understand, how you have progressed if you sit in a cave all alone. Suppose I sit in a cave for thirteen years, and meditate for thirteen hours a day, and then say I am free of anger and jealousy and all those negative emotions and thoughts, now how do I find out? There is nobody there, I cannot get angry with the cave, I cannot angry with the walls of the cave, I cannot get angry with the darkness. There is nothing to be jealous of. Its only when I come out of the cave and get into a bus or a train and somebody kicks me on my foot, or stubs my toe, that I really realize if I am free of anger, jealousy so on and so forth. So the only way to test oneself, is by communicating, being with society, with people around you.

But all the same, small periods, let me say, short periods of an hour, or a day or if possible two days, or if you have time, a week of solitude, really does wonders to your system. Physical and mental, and that is the time when you can go completely into the practice of whatever you are doing, and remain in complete meditation. I would say that kind of solitude especially for a spiritual practitioner, is very very essential. That’s why Rishis lived in the forest, under the great trees, meditating under the banyan tree and teaching the students also in the forest hermitages. In fact the whole literature of the Upanishads comes from these forest hermitages.

So when you retire in solitude, to pursue your contemplation, thinking and meditation, choose a place which is beautiful naturally. Beautiful hills, or the sea, where there is plenty of oxygen, because the very fact that you breathe fresh air, helps in making your mind clear. And therefore your thoughts are not confused. Now to say that such deliberate, induced solitude I would call it, is escaping from society. Or is actually laziness, that you are trying to run away from life, is stupid. Because, every busy person knows that he needs or she needs a period of quietude or solitude. The busy executive goes to say Ooty or Kodai, or Bandipur or if possible to the Alps just to remain alone, quietly enjoying nature. You can’t say he is running away. Because when he comes back, he is refreshed and is back to work, and the work is often better than it was before.

Caterpillar

In this regard I must tell you a story. Just listen to this little story.

There was this person or let’s say this creature, who was walking along or crawling along the ground, in clay and mud and muck, eating the little insects that were in, that was Mr. Caterpillar. So Mr. Caterpillar moves in the muck, in the clay, in the fields, eating the little insects that were little creatures that crawl, earthworms and so on, until he decides to go into a period of solitude. So what does he do?

He starts weaving a kind of cave around himself. We call it the Cocoon. He weaves and he weaves and weaves and weaves, sticking to a leaf, hanging upside down. And then when he has finished his job, in the darkness of the cocoon, in the safety of that cocoon, he stays absorbed in himself, maybe we imagine that he meditates, we really do not know the state of mind of our friend Mr. Caterpillar. But he is in solitude. That is what I mean, absolute darkness, absolute solitude, not doing anything at all. Almost hibernating and then, what happens? When he is mature enough, the cocoon breaks or rather he breaks the cocoon, and comes out. And now, what has happened to our friend, the lowly caterpillar? He is a beautiful or lets say she is a beautiful butterfly. Beautiful wings, with lovely designs, which even an artist finds it difficult to imitate. And then, not only that, while he was before a lowly caterpillar, moving at one level,on the ground level, or sometimes, under the ground level, or walking up the branches of trees eating little insects or eating green leaves, What’s become of him now?

He soars in the sky, high up, flying as he wishes, as he moves, and glides along, showing off his lovely wings. The beautiful Butterfly. From the lowly crawling caterpillar, to a soaring lovely butterfly.

Emerging

And what happened, and how did it happen and what was the process that transformed her?

The process was Solitude. After a certain time of solitude, after a certain period of solitude, out comes the caterpillar transformed into a butterfly. Now this is what happens when you remain in solitude meditating quietly, contemplating, going deeper and deeper into yourself, and then when you come out, you are a changed person.

In fact they say, that the acid test of Samadhi, which is an altered state of consciousness, a super conscious state, that Samadhi, when one goes into it and comes out of it, the person who comes out is no longer the same person who went in. He is a completely transformed Human being.

Now this transformation is possible in Solitude. Therefore, for all serious practitioners of meditation, I recommend short periods of solitude. Find a place where you are not disturbed. Where the day to day things don’t bother you, put off your cell phone.  Put it on only for an hour a day or so, and remain doing your meditational practices, quietly by yourself. And when you are not meditating, go for a walk in the woods, look at the trees, don’t associate with business.

There are people, who cannot but associate things with business. They walk in the woods, and they wonder how much timber can be cut from the trees. If they go to the sea and look at the waves, they wonder how many kilos of fish can be trolled from the sea. Keep all that away. Let us not always think of business, of profit. The greatest profit is peace. And for peace, solitude is a very very important factor.

Once you found your true self, when you have realized, or when we have realized, that we are a part of the Absolute Supreme Whole, of the Universe. When we know that wherever we stand we are still one. When all is One, one is not alone, One is not alone but at the same time one knows that there is only One, alone, then that feeling is the highest spiritual attainment that comes. Once that has come about, then you don’t need to go into solitude. We don’t need to run away to the forest. We don’t need to do nothing. We just carry on. You can sit at Russell Market, or spend all your day there, and still find that you are still enjoying the solitude of oneness with the whole universe. That is only when you have matured. Not before that. Before that, it is very very essential to have periods of Solitude.

Now a practical suggestion. What would I do if were to go for say a two-day solitary meditation? Two days of solitude where I propose to improve my meditation, to clarify, to clear my mind, and to become more peaceful and self-controlled. What would I do? How would my day’s program be?

First, it is important that I find a place, which is a little away from home. Where it is not possible that somebody might run in and disturb me. Now, if it is a beautiful garden, or if it is a lovely mountain top, or if it is a little cottage located in a place like say Bandipur or kodai or Coorg, or a solitary place, that would be ideal place. If not, at least go away to the country side somewhere. Don’t take records or things which you associate with your daily life. Keep them away, so that you can pick them up when you come back. Keep your mobile phone, but switch it off. Then prepare a schedule.

Wake up in the morning before dawn. Very few of us am sure even see the sun rise very often. Because we sleep late, and we wake up late. And then we hurry up to get to the office. So get up a little early, go and sit outside, in an arm-chair, or sit cross-legged. And watch the sun rise. It is one of the most beautiful sights, one of the most beautiful feelings that one can get. Watch the sun rise. Watch the sky turn orange and pink. See the play of colors in the sky. As the sun rises, sit down and chant your Gayatri Mantra. Om BhurBhuvaswah, tat savitravarenyam, Bhargodevasyadhimahi, dhiyoyo nah prajotayat. Or chant Om or some other prayer which you know and relax and just look at the sky, as the sun rises. Once the sun has risen, leave. Don’t keep staring at it, because it’s not good for the eyes. Then close your eyes and meditate. Practice all the techniques which you have been doing, now without worrying about the time. Then go for a good walk, if there is a place to walk, and after you have really sweated, come back, wash yourself, have a bath, and have a light breakfast. Preferably fruit and milk.

Then spend a few hours reading important books that relate to your particular sadhana. The Yoga sutras, the Bhagwat Gita, the Upanishads, the Bhagwat. It depends on what you are doing. Then have a light lunch. And after lunch take a little nap, even if it is for half an hour. A noon day siesta works wonders. Now start meditating again after a cup of tea or coffee. Then meditate till sunset. Allow the sun to set. Watch the beautiful colors; Once again see the golden disc going down the horizon. Hear the cows outside on the fields, see the birds chirping as they go back to sleep wherever they came from. Watch and don’t get worried about anything that is concerned with your day to day life. Just enjoy, be one with the sunset and the birds and the great colors in the sky. Then, meditate. Meditate quietly, thinking of this entire universe, with its magic colors and its magic trees, and the beautiful sights that we see every day. After that listen to music or just sit quietly doing nothing for a while. You may read a novel, or poetry or something like that, but don’t touch the newspaper please. If possible, avoid the newspaper for the two days that you are in solitude. Have an early meal , a light meal and then, go to sleep, you can lie in bed and read for a while, but then read beautiful books, Pancha tantra, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Quran, Bible. And then sleep early and wake up also early, and begin the procedure again.

Do this for two full days and I assure you, when you come back to your world, to your files and your mobile phones, and your office, things will be different. You will be more relaxed, you will understand the value of solitude, you will be kinder to your colleagues. Believe me, try it and see how it works. People might even say, “Oh you seem to have a smile on your face. Something has happened, you have brightened up.” Try it and decide for yourself if it works.

So my recommendation is, while the deep experience, spiritual experience of solitude, is an inner feeling, it can be brought about, at least to a small extent, by short periods of solitude in the midst of your busy life. Those short periods of solitude are the sanctuaries where your soul gets refreshed and absorbs the great energies of this Universe.

(Paraphrased from a talk by my Spiritual Guide Sri M)

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Friends,

Sharing some messages that I received from my spiritual guide, though in pieces on different days but forms a beautiful garland of the subject.

20-2-13

Perception is always relative, it’s comparative. You can only compare. There is no absolute perception.

21-2-13

Vedanta says ‘yes the object exists, of course, but it may not be a cube or a globe or a cone or a rectangle or what you think it is because whatever you think, it is always the result of your relative perceptions.’

22-2-13

‘What is!’, nobody knows or nobody can know because the senses, the sensory organs or the sensory instruments which are used to know an object are themselves imperfect and relative and, therefore, nothing can be known in its absolute content.

23-2-13

Your opinions, your perceptions, your ideas, your images, they are all relative. They are not absolute. But certainly, some thing exists and that which actually exists cannot be found by the sensory organs.

24-2-13

Can the Truth be found through the mind? Vedanta says ‘Well! All that the mind can do is conceive of it or try to conceive it. It can have an idea, a faint idea of it. Beyond that, even the mind fails to understand the real substance of the universe.’

25-2-13

Vedanta also says that the real substance of the universe, is the same everywhere. In you and outside you. And that substance cannot even be found by the mind. Then, if it cannot be found by the mind, what is the use of seeking or exploring?

26-2-13

Vedanta says, ‘when the mind understands, its inability to reach out and find it, finally rests or lets go; surrenders; becomes still and quiet naturally, not forcibly – then, when the mind and the senses have ceased their function – peacefully, tranquilly – in that tranquility and absolute stillness and quietness, there is, what is actually there.

blindmen

 

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Bondage vs Freedom

I couldn’t resist sharing this.

Quotations Treasury - a sub-blog of Soul Needs - 'One Garden'

A Sufi teaching tells of the man who visited a great mystic to find out how to
let go of his chains of attachment and his prejudices. Instead of answering him
directly, the mystic jumped to his feet and bolted to a nearby pillar, flung
his arms around it, grasping the marble surface as he screamed, “Save me from
this pillar! Save me from this pillar!”

The man who had asked the question could not believe what he saw. He
thought the mystic was mad. The shouting soon brought a crowd of people. “Why
are you doing that?” the man asked. “I came to you to ask a spiritual question
because I thought you were wise, but obviously you’re crazy. *You* are holding
the pillar, the pillar is not holding you. You can simply let go.”

The mystic let go of the pillar and said to the man, “If you…

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