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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 Visualphotos)

(Photo Credit Visualphotos)

Suppose our instrument of perception, let us take the eye, is made like a telescope or a microscope. Our view of the universe would be entirely different. The 3 dimensions of an object that we see before us, will be different. The shape may be different, the view may be different.

So can we conclude, what we see is entirely dependent upon our instrument of perception, in this case, the eye?

Secondly, the eye is the instrument and by a process the image is being interpreted by brain.

Could it be a possibility that what the brain interprets and what is out there, is not same?

Would do you say?

 

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matrix

“I don’t have time.” I told my daughter Leena. She wanted me to sit and watch her color.
“Do you ?” said my mom. I turned towards her. It was an unusual question. She has seen me running all day, day after day, trying to juggle mundane routines.
“What are you saying, mom?” I asked.
She said, “Haven’t we all heard this? I don’t have time. But what do you truly mean? Do you really not have time or you have more things to do in limited time hence priorities?”
She made me stop and think. Yes, she is right. I have exactly same numbers of hours as anyone else has. I left home deep into my thoughts. How can it be? There is time, we all have time but we don’t have time?
The day went like a crazy race and before no time, it was night and I was pulling out of the office while stars were shining bright with a lovely moon, piece of cake as Leena would call it.
While driving, thoughts again started on the morning conversation. I thought to myself, “When can we do anything – In present moment. I answered myself.
Nothing can be done in past or future.
“But these is always nothing else but present moment” a naughty thought peeped into my sequence of thoughts. It stunned me blank. I was blank for few movements. This is true, I told myself. Than what is past & future?
Knock, Knock…. Someone was knocking on my glass. I was holding up the traffic. Signal had turned green and I was dumbfounded in the redness of this newfound understanding.
I reached home and after a nice meal, came and sat with my mom. I felt there was a reason why she said what she said in the morning.
I asked “Is there time, Mom?” I felt funny, asking this question, like a child. She smiled and showed me a card which said, “Time is an illusion – Albert Einstein”.

“Right here, right now, is what is.” She said. We both sat in silence listening to the tick tock of the clock and muddling with what is real and what is not….

 

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Caravanserai

One night in Baghdad, the king heard somebody walking on the roof of his palace. He shouted, “Who is there? And what are you doing there?”

The man was not a thief. Without any fear he said, “Don’t shout, that may disturb other people’s sleep. It is none of your business. I am looking for my camel. My camel is lost and it is time for you to go to sleep.”

The king could not believe what kind of madman could be on the roof of a palace searching for his camel. He called the guards and they searched all over the place but could not find the man. And the next day when he was sitting in his court he heard the same voice again; he recognized it.

The king immediately said, “Bring that man in,” because he was arguing with the guard in front of the gate that he wanted to stay in the caravanserai.

And the guard said, “You will be getting into problems unnecessarily. This is the palace of the king; this is not a caravanserai.”

The man said, “I know it is a caravanserai and you are just a guard. Don’t bother me. Just let me go in. I want to discuss the matter with the king himself. If I can convince him that this is a caravanserai then I will stay. If he can convince me it is not a caravanserai, then of course I will leave. But I won’t listen to you; you are just a guard.”

And just at that moment the message came from inside, “Don’t stop that man. We are in search of him; bring him in.”

The Sufi mystic was called in and the king said, “You seem to be a very strange fellow. I recognize your voice. You were the man on the roof searching for your camel and now you are calling my place, my home, a caravanserai.”

The man laughed and said, “You seem to be a man of some understanding. It is possible to talk with you. Yes, it was me who was looking for the camel on the roof of the palace. Don’t think that I’m insane. If you can look for blissfulness sitting on a golden throne, if you can look for God while continuously conquering and butchering and burning living human beings, what is wrong in searching for a camel on the roof of the palace? You tell me!

“If I am inconsistent you are also not consistent. And what right have you got to call this place your home, because I have been here before and on the same golden throne I have seen another man sitting. He looked just like you — a little older.”

The king said, “He was my father. Now he’s dead.” And the mystic said, “I was here even before that and I found another man. He also looked a little bit like you but very old.” The king said, “You are right, he was my grandfather.” And the mystic said, “What happened to him?” The king said, “He is dead.”

And the mystic said, “When are you going to die? They also believed that this is their home. I have argued with your grandfather. Now the poor fellow is in the grave. I have argued with your father; that poor fellow is also in the grave. Now I am arguing with you and someday I will come back again and I will be arguing with your son and you will be in a grave. So what kind of home is this where people go on changing? It is a caravanserai. It is just an overnight stay, and then one has to go.”

The king was shocked but was silent. The whole court was silent. The man was right. And the mystic finally said, “If you really want to know where your home is, go to the graveyard where finally you will have to settle, where your grandfather is, where your father is. That is the real place that you can call your home, but not this palace. Here I am going to stay as if it is a caravanserai.”

The king was certainly not an ordinary man. He stood up and told the mystic, “Forgive me, I was wrong. You are right. You can stay as long as you want. I am going in search of my real home. This is not my real home.” This world is only a caravanserai.

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Once upon a time there lived an ideal community in a far-off land. Its members had no fears as we now know them. Instead of uncertainty and vacillation, they had purposefulness and a fuller means of expressing themselves.

Although there were none of its stresses and tensions which mankind now considers essential to its progress, their lives were richer, because other, better elements replaced these things.

Theirs, therefore, was a slightly different mode of existence. We could almost say that our present perceptions are a crude, makeshift version of the real ones that this community possessed.

They had real lives, not semi-lives.

They had a leader, who discovered that their country was to become uninhabitable for a period of, shall we say, 20,000 years. He planned their escape, realizing that their descendants would be able to return home successfully, only after many trials.

He found for them a place of refuge, an island whose features were only roughly similar to those of the original homeland.

Because of the difference in climate and situation, the immigrants had to undergo a transformation.

This made them more physically and mentally adapted to the new circumstances: coarse perceptions, for instance, were substituted for finer ones, as when the manual laborer becomes toughened in response to the needs of his calling.

In order to reduce the pain which a comparison between the old and new states would bring, they were made to forget the past almost entirely.

Only the most shadowy recollection of it remained, yet it was sufficient to be awakened when the time came.

The system was very complicated, but well arranged. The organs by means of which the people survived on the island were also made the organs of enjoyment, physical and mental. The organs which were really constructive in the old homeland were placed in a special form of abeyance, and linked with the shadowy memory, in preparation for its eventual activation.

Slowly and painfully the immigrants settled down, adjusting themselves to the local conditions. The resources of the island were such that, coupled with effort and a certain form of guidance, people would be able to escape to a further island on the way back to their original home. This was the first of a succession of islands upon which gradual acclimatization took place.

The responsibility of this “evolution” was vested in those individuals who could sustain it. These were necessarily only a few, because for the mass of the people the effort of keeping both sets of knowledge in their consciousness was virtually impossible. One of them seemed to conflict with the other. Certain specialists guarded the “special science.”

This “secret,” the method of effecting the transition, was nothing more or less than the knowledge of maritime skills and their application. The escape needed an instructor, raw materials, people, effort and understanding. Given these, people could learn to swim, and also to build ships.

The people who were originally in charge of the escape operation made it clear to everyone that a certain preparation was necessary before anyone could learn to swim or even take part in building a ship. For a time the process continued satisfactorily.

Then a man who had been found, for the time being, lacking in the necessary qualities rebelled against this order and managed to develop a masterly idea. He had observed that the effort to escape placed a heavy and often seemingly unwelcome burden upon the people. At the same time they were disposed to believe things which they were told about the escape operation. He realized that he could acquire power, and also revenge himself upon those who had undervalued him, as he though, by a simple exploitation of these two sets of facts.

He would merely offer to take away the burden, by affirming that there was no burden.

He made his announcement: “There is no need for man to integrate his mind and train it in the way which has been described to you. The human mind is already a stable and continuous, consistent thing. You have been told that you have to become a craftsman in order to build a ship. I say, not only do you not need to be a craftsman – you do not need a ship at all!

“An islander needs only to observe a few simple rules to survive and remain integrated into society. By the exercise of common sense, born into everyone, he can attain anything upon this island, our home, the common property and heritage of all.”

The tonguester, having gained a great deal of interest among the people, now “proved his message by saying: “If there is any reality in ships and swimming, show us ships which have made the journey, and swimmers who have come back!”

This was a challenge to the instructors which they could not meet. It was based upon an assumption of which the bemused herd could not now see the fallacy. You see, ships never returned from the other land. Swimmers, when they did come back, had undergone a fresh adaptation which made them invisible to the crowd.

The mob pressed for demonstrative proof.

“Shipbuilding,” said the escapers, in an attempt to reason with the revolt, “is an art and a craft. The learning and the exercise of this lore depends upon special techniques. These together make up a total activity, which cannot be examined piecemeal, as you demand. This activity has an impalpable element, called ‘baraka,’ from which the work ‘barque’ – a ship – is derived. This word means ‘the Subtlety,’ and cannot be shown to you.”

“Art, craft, total, baraka, nonsense!” shouted the revolutionaries.

And so they hanged as many shipbuilding craftsmen as they could find.

The new gospel was welcomed on all sides as one of liberation. Man had discovered that he was already mature! He felt, for the time at least, as if he had been released from responsibility.

Most other ways of thinking were soon swamped by the simplicity and comfort of the revolutionary concept. Soon it was considered to be a basic fact, which had never been challenged by any rational person. Rational, of course, meant anyone who harmonized with the general theory itself, upon which society was now based.

Ideas which opposed the new one were easily called irrational. Anything irrational was bad. Thereafter, even if he had doubts, the individual had to suppress them or divert them, because he must at all costs be thought rational.

It was not very difficult to be rational. One had only to adhere to the values of society. Further, evidence of the truth of rationality abounded—providing that one did not think beyond the life of the island.

Society had now temporarily equilibrated itself within the island, and seemed to provide a plausible completeness, if viewed by means of itself. It was based upon reason plus emotion, making both seem plausible. Cannibalism, for instance, was permitted on rational grounds. The human body was found to be edible. Edibility was a characteristic of food. Therefore the human body was food.

In order to compensate for the shortcomings of this reasoning, a makeshift was arranged. Cannibalism was controlled, in the interests of society. Compromise was the trademark of temporary balance. Every now and again someone pointed out a new compromise, and the struggle between reason, ambition, and community produced some fresh social norm.

Since the skills of boatbuilding had no obvious application within this society, the effort could easily be considered absurd. Boats were not needed—there was nowhere to go. The consequences of certain assumptions can be made to “prove” those assumptions. This is what is called a pseudocertainty, the substitute for real certainty. It is what we deal in every day, when we assume that we will live another day. But our islanders applied it to everything.

The words “displeasing” and “unpleasant” were used on the island to indicate anything which conflicted with the new gospel, which was itself known as “Please.” The idea behind this was that people would now please themselves, within the general need to please the State. The State was taken to mean all the people.

It is hardly surprising that from quite early times the very thought of leaving the island filled most people with terror. Similarly, very real fear is to be seen in long-term prisoners who are about to be released. “Outside” the place of captivity is a vague, unknown, threatening world.

The island was not a prison. But it was a cage with invisible bars, more effective than obvious ones ever could be.

The insular society became more and more complex, and we can look at only a few of its outstanding features. Its literature was a rich one. In addition to cultural compositions, there were numerous books which explained the values and achievements of the nation. There was also a system of allegorical fiction, which portrayed how terrible life might have been, had society not arranged itself in the present reassuring pattern.

From time to time instructors tried to help the whole community to escape. Captains sacrificed themselves for the reestablishment of a climate in which the now concealed shipbuilders could continue their work. All these efforts were interpreted by historians and sociologists with reference to conditions on the island, without thought for any contact outside this closed society.

Plausible explanations of almost anything were comparatively easy to produce. No principle of ethics was involved, because scholars continued to study with genuine dedication what seemed to be true. “What more can we do?” they asked, implying by the word “more” that the alternative might be an effort of quantity.

Or they asked each other, “What else can we do?” assuming that the answer might be “else”—something different. Their real problem was that they assumed themselves able to formulate the questions, and ignored the fact that the questions were every bit as important as the answers.

Of course the islanders had plenty of scope for thought and action within their own small domain. The variations of ideas and differences of opinion gave the impression of freedom of thought. Thought was encouraged, providing that it was not “absurd.”

Freedom of speech was allowed. It was of little use without the development of understanding, which was not pursued.

The work and the emphasis of the navigators had to take on different aspects in accordance with the changes in the community. This made their reality even more baffling to the students who tried to follow them from the island point of view.

Amid all the confusion, even the capacity to remember the possibility of escape could at times become an obstacle.

The stirring consciousness of escape potential was not very discriminating.

More often than not the eager would-be escapers settled for any kind of substitute.

A vague concept of navigation cannot become useful without orientation. Even the most eager potential shipbuilders had been trained to believe that they already had that orientation. They were already mature. They hated anyone who pointed out that they might need a preparation.

Bizarre versions of swimming or shipbuilding often crowded out possibilities of real progress. Very much to blame were the advocates of pseudoswimming or allegorical ships, mere hucksters, who offered lessons to those as yet too weak to swim, or passages on ships which they could not build.

They needs of the society had originally made necessary certain forms of efficiency and thinking which developed into what was known as science. This admirable approach, so essential in the fields where it had application, finally outran its real meaning. The approach called “scientific,” soon after the “Please” revolution, became stretched until it covered all manner of ideas.

Eventually things which could not be brought within its bounds became known as “unscientific,” another convenient synonym for “bad.” Words were unknowingly taken prisoner and then automatically enslaved.

In the absence of a suitable attitude, like people who, thrown upon their own resources in a waiting room, feverishly read magazines, the islanders absorbed themselves in finding substitutes for the fulfillment which was the original (and indeed the final) purpose of this community’s exile.

Some were able to diver their attention more or less successfully into mainly emotional commitments. There were different ranges of emotion, but no adequate scale for measuring them. All emotion was considered to be “deep” or “profound”—at any rate more profound than non-emotion. Emotion, which was seen to move people to the most extreme physical and mental acts known, was automatically termed “deep.”

The majority of people set themselves targets, or allowed others to set them for them. They might pursue one cult after another, or money, or social prominence. Some worshipped some things and felt themselves superior to all the rest. Some, by repudiating what they thought worship was, thought that they had no idols, and could therefore safely sneer at all the rest.

As the centuries passed, the island was littered with the debris of these cults. Worse than ordinary debris, it was self-perpetuating. Well-meaning and other people combined the cults and recombined them, and they spread anew. For the amateur and intellectual, this constituted a mine of academic or “initiatory” material, giving a comforting sense of variety.

Magnificent facilities for the indulging of limited “satisfactions” proliferated. Palaces and monuments, museums and universities, institutes of learning, theater and sports stadiums almost filled the island. The people naturally prided themselves on these endowments, many of which they considered to be linked in a general way with ultimate truth, though exactly how this was so escaped almost all of them.

Shipbuilding was connected with some dimensions of this activity, but in a way unknown to almost everyone.

Clandestinely the ships raised their sails, the swimmers continued to teach swimming…

The conditions on the island did not entirely fill these dedicated people with dismay. After all, they too had originated in the very same community, and had indissoluble bonds with it, and with its destiny.

But they very often had to preserve themselves from the attentions of their fellow citizens. Some “normal” islanders tried to save them from themselves. Others tried to kill them, for an equally sublime reason. Some even sought their help eagerly, but could not find them.

All these reactions to the existence of the swimmers were the result of the same cause, filtered through different kinds of minds. This cause was that hardly anyone now knew what a swimmer really was, what he was doing, or where he could be found.

As the life of the island became more and more civilized, a strange but logical industry grew up. It was devoted to ascribing doubts to the validity of the system under which the society lived. It succeeded in absorbing doubts about social values by laughing at them or satirizing them. The activity could wear a sad or happy face, but it really became a repetitious ritual. A potentially valuable industry, it was often prevented from exercising its really creative function.

People felt that, having allowed their doubts to have temporary expression, they would in some way assuage them, exorcise them, almost propitiate them. Satire passed for meaningful allegory; allegory was accepted but not digested. Plays, books, films, poems, lampoons were the usual media for this development, though there was a strong section of it in more academic fields.

For many islanders it seemed more emancipated, more modern or progressive, to follows this cult rather than the older ones.

Here and there a candidate still represented himself to a swimming instructor, to make his bargain. Usually what amounted to a stereotyped conversation took place.

“I want to learn to swim.”

“Do you want to make a bargain about it?”

“No. I only have to take my ton of cabbage.”

“What cabbage?”

“The food which I will need on the other island.”

“There is better food there.”

“I don’t know what you mean. I cannot be sure. I must take my cabbage.”

“You cannot swim, for one thing, with a ton of cabbage.”

“Then I cannot go. You call it a load. I call it my essential nutrition.”

“Suppose, as an allegory, we say not ‘cabbage’ but ‘assumptions,’ or ‘destructive ideas’?”

“I am going to take my cabbage to some instructor who understands my needs.”

A Fable, from book The Sufis, by Idries Shah

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Sufi Stories

 

Everyone loves stories and you will find plenty of them available: Stories that are Buddhist, Christian, Zen, Hasidic, Russian, Chinese, Hindu, Sufi; stories ancient and contemporary. And they all have a special quality: if read in a certain kind of way, they will produce some internal change, growth. Many of these stories trace their origin to folklore and certainly with hidden messages. We are thankful to all those teachers who contributed to embedding these valuable messages in these easy stories.

 HOW TO READ THEM

There are three ways:

1. Read a story once. Then move on to another. This manner of reading will give you entertainment.

2. Read a story twice. Reflect on it. Apply it to your life. That will give you a taste of theology. This sort of thing can be fruitfully done in a group where the members share their reflections on the story. You then have a theological circle.

3. Read the story again, after you have reflected on it. Create a silence within you and let the story reveal to you its inner depth and meaning: something beyond words and reflections. This will give you a feel for the mystical. Or carry the story around all day and allow its fragrance, its melody to haunt you. Let it speak to your heart, not to your brain. This too could make something of a mystic out of you. It is with this mystical end in view that most of these stories were originally told.

 GLOSSARY

Theology: The art of telling stories about the Divine and is also the art of listening to them.

mysticism: The art of tasting and feeling in your heart the inner meaning of such stories to the point that they transform you.

Nasruddin, Nasrudin, or Nasruddin is claimed as well by Afghans, Iranians, Uzbeks, and Arabs, as well as the Turkic Xinjiang area of western China. Since the Seljuk empire of 1000-1400 stretched from Turkey to the Punjab in India, as did the Achmaenid empire a thousand years earlier, carrying enlightening stories along with war, from east to west and back again, such a personage as Nasruddin can well be shared by all, whether as Nasreddin Hodja, Khoja or Mulla Nasruddin. We begin with first story.

A neighbor who Nasruddin didn’t like very much, came over to his compound one day. The neighbor asked Nasruddin if he could borrow his donkey. Nasruddin not wanting to lend his donkey to the neighbor he didn’t like, told him, “I would love to loan you my donkey but only yesterday my brother came from the next town to use it to carry his wheat to the mill to be grounded. The donkey sadly is not here.”

The neighbor was disappointed. But he thanked Nasruddin and began to walk away. Just as he got a few steps away, Mulla Nasruddin’s donkey, which was in the back of his compound all the time, let out a big bray. The neighbor turned to Nasruddin and said, “Mullah Sahib, I thought you told me that your donkey was not here. Mullah Nasruddin turned to the neighbor and said, “My friend, who are you going to believe? Me or the donkey?

(What message do you think this story has?)

 

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