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The Essays of Brother Anonymous
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Contents

Contents

Dark Night of the Soul - See Trials and Tribulations - Dark Night of the Soul
Death
Death - Death comes to all
Death - Occurs when the Self or Spirit departs
Death - Knowledge of the Self or the Self's survival of death takes away fear
Death - Deeds of this life determine what occurs after death
Death - Importance of the moment of death
Death – Sri Ramakrishna’s realization of its impact on householders
Death – A sage’s death
Death – Being carried off to God - See also Angels - Angels welcome the virtuous or carry them off to heaven
Death – Reincarnation – See also Enlightenment - To have eternal life – that is, to be free from the need to reincarnate – requires that we realize God
Death - Reincarnation - In Bible
Death - Reincarnation ends with enlightenment
Death - Prepare for the life hereafter
Death - The fate after death of the sage
Depth – One must dive deep – See Spiritual Practice – One must dive deep
Design of Life – Through the world, God expresses a plan and a purpose that we are to follow
Design of Life – God created others so that he might enjoy His own Bliss
Design of Life - Enlightenment is the purpose of life - See Enlightenment - Enlightenment is the purpose of life
Design of Life – In the end, we all return to God – See Enlightenment – But everyone is destined to experience it one day
Design of Life - Reincarnation - See Death – Reincarnation
Design of Life - Purpose of the world
Design of Life - The purpose of the body - See the Body - The body is an instrument for enlightenment only
Design of Life - Humans made in the image of God - See The Self - It is made in the image of the Father
Design of Life - Difference between man and God
Design of Life - All creatures, of whatever order, are affected by the cosmic forces or gunas - See The Gunas - All creatures, of whatever order, are affected by the gunas
Design of Life - Work is part of the Divine Plan - See Action - We cannot escape the need to act or work
Design of Life – God’s Plan is spiritual evolution – See also Angels - Intimations of the evolution of consciousness through ranks of beings and Enlightenment – Enlightenment or the purpose of life can be seen as the fulfillment of spiritual evolution
Design of Life - Descriptions of the sacred arc and spiral journey that each soul follows
Design of Life - Suggestions that our knowledge of God evolves
Design of Life - God is all that can be lawfully desired - See Devotion - God is all that can be lawfully desired
Design of Life - A human birth is precious and rare
Design of Life - Those attached to unfulfilled desires must be born again and again to satisfy them - See Desire - Those attached to unfulfilled desires must be born again and again to satisfy them
Design of Life - God protects the seeker - See Devotion - God protects the seeker
Design of Life - Are there further stages of evolution past the human? See Angels - Are there further stages of evolution past the human?
Design of Life - God provides – See Surrender - Surrender to God and let Him supply your every need
Design of Life - Natural Law - See Natural Law
Design of Life - Flesh and blood cannot inherit Kingdom of God - See The Body - Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God
Design of Life - Every nation is given a mentor – See Angels – Angels direct human destiny and mentor nations
Design of Life - The senses were made to turn outwards - See Turn Inwards - The senses were made to turn outwards and The Senses - The problem they present
Design of Life - Why did God create impurities? - See Impurities - Why did God create them?
Design of Life - Natural laws - See Natural Law and The Mother – Natural Law
Design of Life - As above, so below - See Natural Law - As above, so below
Design of Life - Sexuality - See Sexuality
Desire - What desire is
Desire – The dualistic experiencer (the ego) arises with the desire for sensation – See also The Ego
Desire - Desire is the root of sorrow
Desire – Desire endlessly multiplies
Desire – Desire creates dissatisfaction, seeking, conflict
Desire - What the addicts of desire are like
Desire – Desire prevents experiencing and enlightenment
Desire – We cannot serve two masters
Desire – When desire and attachment go, enlightenment arises
Desire - Those attached to unfulfilled desires must be born again and again to satisfy them
Detach from the Unreal – See Karma Yoga
Determination – Determination is needed to succeed in spiritual life
Determination – Types
Determination - The spiritual quest takes courage
Determination – Master your will
Determination - Be steadfast; persevere; persist until the end
Devote Yourself to the Real - See Bhakti Yoga; see also Paths
Dharma - Act righteously
Dharma – Be in dharmic relationship with life
Dharma – Pro: Right action leads to enlightenment
Dharma – Con: Right action does not lead to enlightenment
Dharma - Return good for evil
Dharma - Follow the example of the righteous
Dharma - Follow your own duty
Dharma - When duty ends
Dharma - Self-serving righteousness, self-righteousness
Dharma - The Good
Dharma - God favors the good
Dharma - The wise prefer the good to the pleasant
Dharma - The Good and the Evil
Discriminate between the Unreal and the Real, Detach from the Unreal, and Devote Yourself to the Real - Three Prerequisites for knowing God
Discriminate between the Unreal and the Real – What is discrimination? – See Jnana Yoga – What is discrimination?
Divine Emotion – Its impact on the body of the ordinary man
Divine Law - See The Mother - Natural Law
Division - See Non-Duality
Doctrine and Dogma
Doubt and Cynicism – See also Faith
Dream Instruction
Drugs
Dualities – Virtue and vice
Duality - See Non-Duality



Dark Night of the Soul - See Trials and Tribulations - Dark Night of the Soul

Death

Life and death are important. Don't suffer them in vain. There's no advantage in deceiving yourself. Even if you have mountains of jewels and as many servants as there are grains of sand along the Ganges, you see them when your eyes are open. But what about when your eyes are shut? You should realize then that everything you see is like a dream or illusion. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 6-7.)

Don't hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you'll witness the beginning of nirvana, and in death you'll experience the assurance of no rebirth. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 29.)

Transcending life and death is leaving home. Not suffering another existence is reaching the Way. Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. No affliction is nirvana. And no appearance of the mind is the other shore. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 24-5.)

How shall the wise man, who desires tranquillity, wait for old age, when he knows not when the time of death will be?

When death stands ready like a hunter, with old age as his weapon, and diseases scattered about as his arrows, smiting down living creatures who fly like deer to the forest of destiny, what desire can there be in any one for length of life?

When does that fear seize you? Does it come when you do not see your body, say, in dreamless sleep or when you are under chloroform? It haunts you only when you are fully “awake” and perceive the world, including your body. If you do not see these and remain your pure self, as in dreamless sleep, no fear can touch you.

If you trace this fear to the object, the loss of which gives rise to it, you will find that that object is not the body, but the mind which functions in it and through which the environment and the attractive world is known as sights, sounds, smells, etc. Many a man would be too glad to be rid of his diseased body and all the problems and inconveniences it creates for him if continued awareness were vouchsafed for him. It is the awareness, the consciousness, and not the body, he fears to lose. Men love existence because it is eternal awareness, which is their own Self. Why not then hold on to the pure awareness right now, while in the body and be free from all fear? (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 39.)

They say that I am dying, but I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Chapter 4.)

The personal life is centered upon the world-field; though it is a doomed life in any case since, inevitably, Death reaps all here. Still, the personality never quite believes this and strives in its feebleness to will its continuance in the outer world, until in ripe old age it craves rest, even though it be at the price of extinction. But when this hour of tiredness has come, it is already too late to achieve the Awakening in that body, for this Awakening calls for a profound, though possibly subtle, virility. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PTS, 37-8.)

Death is a mystery that refers to both the end of physical life as well as the psychological death of a separate self, which is the hallmark of true spiritual transformation. (Adyashanti, http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Death - Death comes to all

As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:15.)

How shall the wise man, who desires tranquillity, wait for old age, when he knows not when the time of death will be?

When death stands ready like a hunter, with old age as his weapon, and diseases scattered about as his arrows, smiting down living creatures who fly like deer to the forest of destiny, what desire can there be in any one for length of life?

It well befits the youthful son or the old man or the child so to act with all promptitude that they may choose the action of the religious man whose soul is all mercy -- nay, better still, his inactivity. (The Buddha in BMT, 120.)

God is engaged in three kinds of activity: creation, preservation, and destruction. Death is inevitable. All will be destroyed at the time of dissolution. Nothing will remain. At that time the Divine Mother will gather up the seeds for the future creation, even as the elderly mistress of the house keeps in her hotchpotch-pot little bags of cucumber seeds, “sea-foam” blue pills, and other miscellaneous things. The Divine Mother will take her seeds out again at the time of the new creation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 209.)

One should constantly remember death. Nothing will survive death. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 105.)

Death - Occurs when the Self or Spirit departs

Without the Self, there is no life. (UPAN, 27.)

The body dies when the Self leaves it -- but the Self dies not. (UPAN, 70.)

Radiating from the lotus of the heart there are a hundred and one nerves. One of these ascends toward the thousand-petaled lotus in the brain. If, when a man comes to die, his vital force passes upward and out through this nerve, he attains immortality; but if his vital force passes out through another nerve, he goes out to one or another plane of mortal existence and remains subject to birth and death. (UPAN, 24.)

And [the dead] Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? (I Samuel 28:15.)

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7.)

Bodies are said to die, but That which possesses the body is eternal. It cannot be limited, or destroyed. (Sri Krishna in BG, 36.)

But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead (1) bury their dead. (2) (Matthew 8:21-2.)

(1) Unenlightened mortals, who must pass through death and rebirth, again and again.
(2) The bodies of those who, in our ignorance, we unenlightened mortals ("the dead") consider to be dead.

And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

He is not the God of the dead, (1) but the God of the living. (2) (Jesus in Mark 12:26-7.)

(1) He is not a God who presides over beings who die.
(2) He is a God who presides over beings who never die.

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Jesus in Matthew 22:31-2.)

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. (Jesus in John 6:63.)

The body without the spirit is dead. (James 2:26.)

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some of you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. (St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:12-3.)

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:50.)

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some of you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. (St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:12-3.)

There are ... celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial. ... There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:40+44.)

For we that are in this [earthly] tabernacle (1) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, (2) that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (3) (St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:4.)

(1) The Body.
(2) Clothed with light, or enlightened.
(3) That we be freed from mortal life, to live eternally beyond the cycle of physical birth and death.

Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. ... We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:6+8.)

Without this [original] mind, we can't move. The body has no awareness. Like a plant or stone, the body has no nature. So how does it move? It's the [original] mind that moves. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 21.)

Many yogis are known to have retained their self-consciousness without interruption by the dramatic transition to and from "life" and "death.” If man be solely a body, its loss indeed ends his identity. But if prophets down the milenniums spake the truth, man is essentially a soul, incorporeal and omnipresent. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 2.)

Death - Knowledge of the Self or the Self's survival of death takes away fear

When does that fear seize you? Does it come when you do not see your body, say, in dreamless sleep or when you are under chloroform? It haunts you only when you are fully “awake” and perceive the world, including your body. If you do not see these and remain your pure self, as in dreamless sleep, no fear can touch you.

If you trace this fear to the object, the loss of which gives rise to it, you will find that that object is not the body, but the mind which functions in it and through which the environment and the attractive world is known as sights, sounds, smells, etc. Many a man would be too glad to be rid of his diseased body and all the problems and inconveniences it creates for him if continued awareness were vouchsafed for him. It is the awareness, the consciousness, and not the body, he fears to lose. Men love existence because it is eternal awareness, which is their own Self. Why not then hold on to the pure awareness right now, while in the body and be free from all fear? (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 39.)

Death - Deeds of this life determine what occurs after death

Whosoever has been born and whosoever shall be born must act in such a way that, when the moment comes to leave this world, he may have Paradise as his portion, and the Home of Song as his reward. (Zarathustra in GZ, 109-10.)

Death - Importance of the moment of death

Radiating from the lotus of the heart there are a hundred and one nerves.

One of these ascends toward the thousand-petaled lotus in the brain. If, when a man comes to die, his vital force passes upward and out through this nerve, he attains immortality; but if his vital force passes out through another nerve, he goes out to one or another plane of mortal existence and remains subject to birth and death. (UPAN, 24.)

The Self dwells in the lotus of the heart, (1) whence radiate a hundred and one nerves. From each of these proceed one hundred others, which are smaller, and from each of these, again, seventy-two thousand others, which are smaller still. In all these moves the Vyana, which is the fourth Prana.

And then at the moment of death, through the nerve in the center of the spine, the Udana, which is the fifth Prana, leads the virtuous man upward to higher birth, the sinful man downward to lower birth, and the man who is both virtuous and sinful to rebirth in the world of men. (UPAN, 38.)

Whatever his thought at the moment of death, this is it that unites a man with Prana, who in turn, uniting himself with Udana and with the Self, leads the man to be reborn in the world he merits. (UPAN, 38.)

(1) The Hirdayam, or spiritual heart, rather than the physical heart or the anahata chakra or heart lotus. See Ramana Maharshi, SRG, 25-31.

When a man leaves his body and departs, he must close all the doors of his senses. Let him hold the mind firmly within the shrine of the heart, and fix the life-force between the eye-brows. Then let him take refuge in steady concentration, uttering the sacred syllable OM and meditating upon me. Such a man reaches the highest goal. When a yogi has meditated upon me unceasingly for many years, with an undistracted mind, I am easy of access to him, because he is always absorbed in me. (Sri Krishna in BG, 76.)

At the hour of death, when a man leaves his body, he must depart with his consciousness absorbed in me. Then he will be united with me. Be certain of that. Whatever a man remembers at the last, when he is leaving the body, will be realized by him in the hereafter; because that will be what his mind has most constantly dwelt on, during this life. (Sri Krishna in BG, 75.)

On Him let man meditate
Always, for then at the last hour
Of going hence from his body he will be strong
In the strength of this yoga, faithfully followed:
The mind is firm, and the heart
So full, it hardly holds its love.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 75-6.)

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. (1) (St. Paul in II Timothy 4:6-8.)

(1) St. Paul has the promise of the same mergence with God.

Day and night a man should practise worship, japa, meditation, and other spiritual exercises. Only then, by virtue of practice, will he be able to think of God in the hour of death. If one dies thus, thinking of God, one will acquire God's nature. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 820.)

He who has renounced his attachment to worldly enjoyments will remember nothing but God in the hour of death. Otherwise he will think only of worldly things: wife, children, house, wealth, name and fame. Through practice a bird can be trained to repeat “Radha-Krishna”; but when a cat catches it, it only squawks. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1017.)

If a man practises spiritual discipline before his death and if he gives up his body praying to God and meditating on Him, when will sin touch him? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 912.)

Death – Sri Ramakrishna’s realization of its impact on householders

Akshay died before my very eyes. … The next day … I felt a racking pain for the loss of Akshay, as if somebody was squeezing my heart like a wet towel. I wondered at it and thought that the Mother was teaching me a lesson. I was not much concerned even with my own body – much less with a relative. But if such was my pain at the loss of a nephew, how much more must be the grief of the householders at the loss of their near and dear ones! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 40.)

Death – A sage’s death

When Chuang-tzu was about to die, his disciples signified their wish to give him a grand burial. "I shall have heaven and earth", he said, "for my coffin and its shell; the sun and moon for my two round symbols of jade; the stars and constellations for my pearls and jewels; will not the provisions for my interment be complete? What would you add to them?" The disciples replied: "We are afraid that the crows and kites will eat our master." Chuang-tzu rejoined: "Above, the crows and kites will eat me; below, the mole-crickets and ants will eat me; to take from those and give to these would only show your partiality." (From James Legge: "The Texts of Taoism" presented on http://www.taopage.org/chuangtzu.html, downloaded 17 July 2007.)

Now I seek to lead back the Self within me to the All-self. (1) (Plotinus in ESO, 21.)

(1) Hindus would say he plans to merge the Atman with Brahman at the moment of death.

When [Abba Agathon] was at the point of death he remained three days with his eyes fixed, wide-open. The brethren roused him, saying, "Abba Agathon, where are you?" He replied, "I am standing before the judgment seat of God." … When they wanted to question him further, he said to them, "Of your charity, do not talk to me any more, for I no longer have time." So he died with joy. They saw him depart like one greeting dearest friends. (SDF, 24-5.)

Now I turn away freely from all creatures and turn toward the naked Godhead and into the primal origin of eternal blessedness. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 126.)

Old man Zibo is leaving the mountain
Relax, you Zen men in the hall
Above your head there’s the sky
Opening the correct eye [we see]:
In any situation, disaster and blessings
All come from past causes.
(16th Century Ch’an master Zibo, being led away to imprisonment, torture, and death in ZIBO, 23.)

After he had washed himself Zibo told his attendant, “I’m going. Please thank all the protectors of the Dharma [back home] in Jiangnan for me.” The attendant began to cry. Zibo scolded him saying, “Twenty years with me, and you still behave like this?” Then Zibo spoke several verses for the man, and when he finished, peacefully passed away sitting upright.

[A man whom Zibo had met and comforted in the prison] hurried to Zibo’s side when he heard he had died. He rubbed Zibo and said, “The Teacher departed well.” Zibo opened his eyes and with a slight smile said goodbye. (16th Century Ch’an master Zibo dies after having been imprisoned and tortured in ZIBO, 25.)

[Ramana Maharshi’s] Mother’s health declined from 1920. The best medical attention was of no use. On 19th May 1922, her condition became critical. Bhagavan knew that the time had come. He went inside her room in the morning and sat by her side. Throughout the day He had His right hand on her spiritual heart [Steve: this is the hridayam and not the physical heart or heart chakra] on the right side and His left hand on her head. What happened was later described by Bhagavan thus:

“The vasanas of the previous births and latent tendencies which are the seeds of future births came out. She was observing the scenes of the experience of vasanas one after another. As a result of a series of such experiences, she was working them out.” …

At eight at night Mother attained Mahasamadhi. Bhagavan had literally battled with the Mother’s tendencies and succeeded in directing the mind back to the Heart.  At the time of the merging of the mind in the heart, there was a slight sound. Bhagavan waited for some time. On an earlier occasion, when he similarly tried to help Palaniswami, an attendant who had looked after Him for many years, He had removed his hand immediately after life passed out. Palaniswami’s life force escaped through the eyes indicating higher birth and not liberation. Bhagavan did not want to take any risk.  When he got up, His face radiated His happiness at Mother’s liberation.

Mother’s face shone like that of a yogini in meditation. The brightness was dazzling. When someone said that Mother had passed away, Bhagavan corrected, “No, she did not pass away, she was absorbed.” (BRAM, 39-40.)

One day Bhagavan was telling us that the Tamil Saint Manickavasagar’s body disappeared in a blaze of light leaving no residue. I asked him how that had happened and he explained that the body is solidified mind. When in Jnanam the mind dissolves and consumes itself in a blaze of light, the body is burnt up in the process. He gave Nandanar as another example of this. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 60.)

Let the body, the result of fructifying karma, rest or move about, live or die, the Sage who has realized the Self is not aware of it, just as one in [a] drunken stupor is not aware of his clothing. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 53.)

The Jnani who has found himself as formless pure Awareness is unaffected though his body be cleft with a sword. Sugar-candy does not lose its sweetness though broken or crushed. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 53.)

“When we have finished a meal do we keep the leaf-plate on which we have eaten it?” On another occasion he told [pus] that the Jnani rejoices as a servant rejoices to lay down his burden at the place of delivery. (Subbaraya Karnath of Sri Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 53.)

There is no need for alarm. The body is itself a disease. Let it have its natural end. Why mutilate it? Simple dressing of the affected part is enough. (Sri Ramana Maharshi when the doctors wanted to amputate his arm to save his life in SMSLS, 49.)

It is for us to witness all that happens. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 51.)

Have I ever asked for any treatment? It is you who want this and that for me, so it is you who must decide. If I were asked I should always say, as I have from the beginning, that no treatment is necessary. Let things take their course. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 51.)

They say that I am dying, but I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Chapter 4.)

There were some American reporters and photographers, who were [near Sri Ramana’s ashram at the time of his death] just … for a scoop. They were living less than half a mile away [from the ashram]. One of them standing outside the house suddenly looked up and saw a very bright star or meteor swing slowly across the sky towards the North over the top of [Arunachala] Hill. He called out to the rest of the party who rang out and saw the same phenomenon. One and all agreed that something had happened to Bhagavan. … It happened at exactly the time of the passing, (8-47 p.m. on April 14th, 1950) and was seen by many people, all of whom, strangely enough, associated it with the same thing. People in Madras, too, saw it and some got into their cars immediately and made their way to the Ashram. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 68.)

Death – Being carried off to God - See also Angels - Angels welcome the virtuous or carry them off to heaven

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (II Kings 2:11.)

And [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them.

And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-1.)

It was said of Abba Sisoes that when he was at the point of death, while the fathers were sitting beside him, his face shone like the sun. He said to them, "Look, Abba Anthony has come." A little later he said, "Look, the choir of prophets is coming." Again his countenance shone with brightness and he said, "Look, the choir of apostles is coming." His countenance increased in brightness and lo, he spoke with someone. Then the old men asked him, "With whom are you speaking, Father?" He said, "Look, the angels are coming to fetch me, and I am begging them to let me do a little penance." The old men said to him, "You have no need to do penance, Father." But the old man said to them, "Truly, I do not think I have even made a beginning yet." Now they all knew that he was perfect. Once more his countenance suddenly became like the sun and they were all filled with fear. He said to them, "Look, the Lord is coming and he's saying, 'Bring me the vessel from the desert.'" Then there was a flash of lightning and all the house was filled with a sweet odour. (SDF, 215.)

In the nunnery ruled over by the blessed Radegund there died a girl called Disciola, who was the niece of Salvius, the saintly Bishop of Albi. The circumstances of her death were as follows. When she began to feel ill, the other nuns nursed her with great care. The day came when she was on the point of death. At about nine o'clock, she said to the nuns: "I seem to be lighter in body than I was. My pain has gone. Please do not worry about me any more, or nurse me with such great care. Perhaps you will leave me now, so that I can manage to sleep for a while." When the other nuns heard this, they left her cell. Later on they returned and stood there at her bedside, wondering if she would have the strength to speak to them. She spread her hands wide and seemed to be asking a benediction of someone. "Give me your blessing, holy messenger from God on high," she whispered. "This is the third time today that you have taken the trouble to visit me. Why, holy one, do you take such pains for a poor, feeble woman?" The nuns asked her whom she was speaking to, but she did not answer. Some time passed and then she laughed aloud. Just as she did so, she died. [A man possessed of a devil said:] "The Archangel Michael has just received that sister's soul," said he, "and he is even now carrying it off to heaven. My own master, he whom you call the Devil, has no share in her at all!" Those who washed Disciola's body said that it shone with a snow-white purity, and that the Abbess could not find in her cupboard a winding-sheet which was whiter than she was. They wrapped her in clean linen and committed her to the grave. (Gregory of Tours, HF, 356.)

Soon [Mathir Nath Biswas’s] part in Sri Ramakrishna’s divine drama came to an end. On July 14, 1871, he died of typhoid fever after a short illness. … [On that day] Sri Ramakrishna … became absorbed in deep samadhi in his room for a couple of hours while his spirit went forth to help Mathur attain the goal. At five o’clock Sri Ramakrishna came out of samadhu and said to Hriday, “The companions of the Divine Mother took Mathur with love and care into their celestial chariot and his soul has ascended to the sphere of the Mother [Deviloka].” Later that night the news reached Dakshineswar that Mathur had passed away just at five o’clock. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 34.)

The passing of each of the devotees of the Master is a wonderful event in itself. The departure of Balaram Babu was equally wonderful. His disease [cholera] had taken a serious turn, and all were anxious. … One day, before the final departure, the doctor came in and declared that he was beyond cure.

At the last moment, we were seated around [Balaram Bose], while his wife, stricken with unspeakable grief, was in the inner apartment with Golap-ma, Yogin-ma, and others. Just then she noticed something like a piece of black cloud in the sky, which became denser by stages and began to descend. Soon it assumed the shape of a chariot and alighted on the roof of Balaram Babu's house. The Master came out of that chariot and proceeded towards the room where Balaram Babu lay. Soon after, he issued forth, taking Balaram Babu by the hand, and entered the chariot again, which then ascended and vanished in the sky. This vision raised [Balaram's wife's] mind to a very high plane where there could be no touch of grief or sorrow. When she returned to normal she related this to Golap-ma, who came to apprise us of the fact. Balaram Babu had passed away just a little while before. (Swami Shivananda in TLWG, 132-3.)

Death – Reincarnation – See also Enlightenment - To have eternal life – that is, to be free from the need to reincarnate – requires that we realize God

If a man fail to attain Brahman before he casts off his body, he must again put on a body in the world of created things. (UPAN, 23.)

Your words are wise, Arjuna, but your sorrow is for nothing. The truly wise mourn neither for the living nor for the dead.

There never was a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor any of these kings. Nor is there any future in which we shall cease to be.

Just as the dweller in this body passes through childhood, youth and old age, so at death he merely passes into another kind of body. The wise are not deceived by that. ... That Reality which pervades the universe is indestructible. No one has the power to change the Changeless.

Bodies are said to die, but That which possesses the body is eternal. It cannot be limited, or destroyed. (Sri Krishna in BG, 36.)

You and I, Arjuna,
Have lived many lives.
I remember them all.
You do not remember.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 50.)

This Atman cannot be manifested to the senses, or thought about by the mind. It is not subject to modification. Since you know this, you should not grieve.

But if you should suppose this Atman to be subject to constant birth and death, even then you ought not to be sorry.

Death is certain for the born. Rebirth is certain for the dead. You should not grieve for what is unavoidable.

Before birth, beings are not manifest to our human senses. In the interim between birth and death, they are manifest. At death they return to the unmanifest again. What is there in all this to grieve over? (Sri Krishna in BG, 38.)

Helpless all, for Maya is their master,
And I, their Lord, the master of this Maya:
Ever and again, I send these multitudes
Forth from my Being.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 80.)

[Pythagoras] derived many advantages from his purity, above all that of perceiving his own soul [i.e., enlightenment]. He had been born [as Euphorbus] in the time when Troy was fighting on behalf of Helen, and he was the most beautiful of the sons of Panthus and the most beautifully equipped. He died so young as to give Homer a subject for a lament, and passed into several bodies according to the law ... whereby souls migrate. Finally he ... was born the son of Mnesarchides of Samos [i.e., his present incarnation], so that he became a wise man who had been a barbarian, an Ionian who had been a Trojan, and a man so immortal that he did not even forget that he had been Euphorbus. (Apollonius of Tyana, LA, 212.)

Allah has brought you forth from the earth like a plant, and to the earth He will restore you. Then He will bring you back afresh. (Koran, 22.)

It is Allah who has created you and given you your daily bread. He will cause you to die hereafter and will then bring you back to life. (Koran, 190.)

It must be distinctly understood that it is not the soul that comes and goes, but the thinking mind of the individual, which makes it appear to do so. On whatever plane the mind happens to act, it creates a body for itself: in the physical world, a physical body, in the dream world, a dream body, which becomes wet with dream rain and sick with dream diseases. After the death of the physical body, the mind remains inactive for some time, as in dreamless sleep, when it remains worldless and therefore bodiless.

But soon it becomes active again in a new world and a new body – the astral – till it assumes another body in what is called a “rebirth.” But the Jnani, the Self-Realised man, whose mind has already ceased to act, remains unaffected by death: it has dropped never to rise again to cause births and deaths. The chain of illusions has snapped for ever for him.

In the “Talks” [Sri Ramana Maharshi] explains how egos are reborn into a succession of bodies; so long as the individual idea persists there must be some form for it to take until the individual ceases to exist, and this continued individualization consists in a constant change of form. For as one set of Vasanas is worn away another takes its place. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 40.)

Real rebirth is dying from the ego into the Spirit. This is the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus. Whenever identification with the body exists, a body is always available, whether in this [life] or in any other one, till the body-sense disappears by merging into the Source – the Spirit, or Self. The stone which is projected upwards remains in constant motion, till it returns to its source, the earth, and rests. Head-ache continues to give trouble, till the pre-headache state is regained.

Thirst for life is inherent in the very nature of life, which is Absolute Existence – Sat. Although indestructible by nature, by false identification with its destructible instrument, the body, consciousness imbibes a false apprehension of its destructibility, hence it tries to perpetuate that instrument, which results in a succession of births. But however long these bodies may last, they eventually come to an end and yield to the Self, which alone eternally exists. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, GR, 41.)

It is now clear that there is neither real birth, nor real death. It is the mind which creates and maintains the illusion of reality in this process, till it is destroyed by Self-Realisation. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, GR, 40.)

Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] taught us always to look to the present, find out who you are now, whereas re-incarnation tends to put things off to the future. What does it matter, you will have innumerable lives in which to put things in order? (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 40.)

Death - Reincarnation - In Bible

And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the Lord stood above it. (1) (Genesis 28:12-14.)

(1) Several interpretations of this vision are offered: (1) The ladder is the subtle energy system; as in a condition of Self-knowledge, the energy is freely flowing up to the crown chakra from the root chakra and again down; the Lord stands at the apex of the energy system. Cf. Shiva greeting Shakti at the crown chakra in Hindu symbology. (2) Consciousness is descending from God into matter and ascending to God from matter. (3) Another interpretation points to the metaphor of the soul's coming out from God and returning to Him. There are endless outgoings and returns: the soul goes out from the Spirit with each birth and returns with each death; the soul goes out from God upon its initial separation and returns upon the attainment of Self-knowledge; the avatar goes out from God (hence avatara or "descent") upon the commencement of his or her mission and returns upon its completion. All of these levels of meaning are implied in Jesus's saying: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." (John 16:28.)

Cf. the Koran: “Allah ... is the Lord of the Ladders, by which the angels and the [Holy] Spirit will ascend to Him one day: a day whose space is fifty thousand years.” (Koran, 57.)

After six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them into an high mountain apart,

And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3.)

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. ...

Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:10-13.)

For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare the way before thee. ...

For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John,

And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was to come. (1)

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:13-15. Cf. Yogananda, SCC, 1, 12.)

(1) I.e., This is Elias, come again or reincarnated.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall no more go out. (1) (Jesus in Revelation 3:12.)

(1) I.e., reincarnate no more.

The doctrine of reincarnation is rather taken for granted in the New Testament than distinctly taught. (Annie Besant, AW, 31.)

"Him that overcometh will [I] make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out (i.e., shall reincarnate no more)." (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 421.)

God so loved the world (or matter) that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem it; that is, God the Father remained hidden as Christ Intelligence in all matter and in all living beings in order to bring all things, by beautiful evolutional coaxings, back to His home of All-Blessedness when they should overcome all mortal tests, and should reincarnate in matter no more; i.e., "go no more out.” (Paramahansa Yogananda in SCC, 1, 28.)

Death - Reincarnation ends with enlightenment

Knowing him ..., one is freed from death. (UPAN, 20.)

Those who reach [my highest state of being] are not reborn. (Sri Krishna in BG, 77.)

Then, (1) though you die,
You shall not perish. (Lao Tzu, WOL, 68.)

(1) Then = when you are enlightened.

As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:15.)

The dead are not alive (1) and the living shall not die. (2) (Jesus in GATT, 7.)

Don't hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you'll witness the beginning of nirvana, and in death you'll experience the assurance of no rebirth. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 29.)

Realize Brahman, and there will be no more returning to this world -- the home of all sorrows. (Shankara in CJD, 69.)

When your heart is free from ... ignorance, there will no longer be any possibility of your rebirth. You will reach immortality. (Shankara in CJD, 59.)

I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’ (Rumi, ILWL, 58.)

So long as a man has even the slightest desire, he must be born again and again. When he gets rid of all desires, then he is liberated. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 940.)

"God so loved the world (or matter) that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem it; that is, God the Father remained hidden as Christ Intelligence in all matter and in all living beings in order to bring all things, by beautiful evolutional coaxings, back to His home of All-Blessedness when they should overcome all mortal tests, and should reincarnate in matter no more; i.e., "go no more out.” (Paramahansa Yogananda in SCC, 1, 28.)

Death is a mystery that refers to both the end of physical life as well as the psychological death of a separate self, which is the hallmark of true spiritual transformation. (Adyashanti, http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Death - Prepare for the life hereafter

All these are but the fleeting comforts of this life. It is the life to come that Allah reserves for those who fear Him. (Koran, 147.)

The life of this world, my people, is a fleeting comfort, but the life to come is an everlasting mansion. (Koran, 161.)

As for those who say: 'Our God is Allah,' and take the right path to Him, the angels will descend to them, saying: 'Let nothing alarm or grieve you. Rejoice in the Paradise you have been promised. We are your guardians in this world and in the next. You shall find there all that your soul’s desire and all that you can ask for: a rich provision from a benignant and a merciful God.' (Koran, 157.)

Death - The fate after death of the sage

It was quite usual that souls would appear to him when they had departed this world, telling him how things had gone for them, … what their reward from God was like. Among others were the blessed Meister Eckhart and the holy Brother John der Fuoterer of Strasbourg. Meister Eckhart informed him that he (Eckhart) lived in overflowing glory in which his soul had been made utterly godlike in God. The servant [HSU himself] desired to find out two things from him. The first was how those people were in God who were satisfied with seeking the eternal truth in true detachment without duplicity. He was shown that it could not be captured in words how these people were taken within the limitless abyss. …

The second person, Brother John, showed him in a vision the delightful beauty by which his soul had been transfigured. … He drew pleasure from this, and it often gave him a graphic example and support for the life he was living. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 74-5.)

Depth – One must dive deep – See Spiritual Practice – One must dive deep

Design of Life - God created the world - See also The Father - He stands behind the Mother as the Source of Creation

The Cause of all is above all and is not inexistent, lifeless, speechless, mindless. It is not a material body, and hence has neither shape nor form, quality, quantity, or weight. It is not in any place and can neither be seen nor touched. It is neither perceived nor is it perceptible. It suffers neither disorder nor disturbance and is overwhelmed by no earthly passion. It is not powerless and subject to the disturbances caused by sense perception. It endures no deprivation of light. It passes through no change, decay, division, loss, no ebb and flow, nothing of which the senses may be aware. None of all this can either be identified with it nor attributed to it. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 141.)

God has created the world in play, as it were. This is called Mahamaya, the Great Illusion. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 116.)

The very nature of God’s creation is that good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, will always exist in the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 246-7.)

He who has made the law can also change it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 817.)

This world is a superstition. We are hypnotized into believing it real. The process of salvation is the process of de-hypnotization. … This universe is just the play of the Lord – that is all. It is all just for fun. (Swami Vivekananda in GLWT, 61.)

The creation is sometimes described as the lila, the sport of Brahman, who creates the universe out of sheer sportive pleasure from the very fulness of His nature. (Swami Nikhilananda, HIN, 41.)

Why does the world exist?
Because emptiness dances, because it is wild,
because it endlessly gives birth.
(Adyashanti, Downloaded from Nonduality Salon Highlights, http://www.nonduality.com/hl1477.htm, 11 March 2006.)

Design of Life – Through the world, God expresses a plan and a purpose that we are to follow

Those who co-operate with Mother Earth, O Lord, wisely co-operate in Thy (Majesty's) noble Plan labouring in Righteousness. (Zarathustra, GZ, 207.)

You must understand Me fully, for everyone who understands Me follows Me and tries to satisfy Me. (The Father, Ahuramazda in GZ, 96.)

[God] created nothing whatever useless. (Zarathustra in GZ, 141.)

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (1)

For thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thine hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea. (Psalms 8:4-8.)

(1) ”The son of man” – The enlightened person; often, however, used to refer to the avatar: in other words, not the ascending person but the descending Person.

The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Proverbs 16:4.)

God has never created anything useless. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 36.)

Judas should be seen as someone cooperating with God, one through whom a person is to attain what is best for him. When Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss, Christ called him his friend. (Interior voice to Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 154.)

Everything is good in God's eyes. (William Blake in CC, 193.)

The really important thing is ... the knowledge of God's plan for men. For God has a plan, and that plan is evolution. When once a man has seen that and really knows it, he cannot help working for it and making himself one with it, because it is so glorious, so beautiful. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 17.)

Design of Life – God created others so that he might enjoy His own Bliss

Brahman [i.e., God] at rest
Wished
To create.
He wished to be many,
To grow forth,
To enjoy his own exuberance and play,
To know himself in manifestation.
Like a hen on her eggs ...
After hatching, He impelled the All, 'what is'
Simply to be.
Having created,
He entered into His creation....(UPAN2, 70. )

I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known, and I created the creation so that I be known. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 3.)

I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, 'O thou I!' (PP, 12.)

It is the Godhead that has become these two [God and devotee] in order to enjoy Its bliss. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 305.)

When Siva realizes his own Self, He dances about in joy exclaiming, “What am I! What am I!” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 393.)

Self-perception or God-realisation is said to consist in the Jiva or soul becoming food, i.e., object of enjoyment or experience to the Lord. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, 65.)

Why did God desire to create the world? So that He might be made manifest. (Beinsa Douno, "Life is the Musical Manifestation of God," WOG, n.p.)

This space I produce that My Glory shall be revealed; yet I alone Realize that Revelation. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PTS, 18.)

Design of Life - Enlightenment is the purpose of life - See Enlightenment - Enlightenment is the purpose of life

Design of Life – In the end, we all return to God – See Enlightenment – But everyone is destined to experience it one day

Design of Life - Reincarnation - See Death – Reincarnation

Design of Life - Purpose of the world

The purpose of this world is to provide us with experience and thus to lead us to liberation. (Patanjali, EB, 76.)

Design of Life - The purpose of the body - See the Body - The body is an instrument for enlightenment only

Design of Life - Humans made in the image of God - See The Self - It is made in the image of the Father

Design of Life - Difference between man and God

Iswara, (1) technically, is Brahman (2) associated with Maya, (3) or universal ignorance, and the individual man is Brahman associated with individual ignorance. The distinction between God and man is that God controls ignorance, man is controlled by it. (Prabhavananda in UPAN, 51n.)

(1) The Personal God or conditioned Brahman.
(2) The Father.
(3) The Mother.

Design of Life - All creatures, of whatever order, are affected by the cosmic forces or gunas - See The Gunas - All creatures, of whatever order, are affected by the gunas

Design of Life - Work is part of the Divine Plan - See Action - We cannot escape the need to act or work

Design of Life – God’s Plan is spiritual evolution – See also Angels - Intimations of the evolution of consciousness through ranks of beings and Enlightenment – Enlightenment or the purpose of life can be seen as the fulfillment of spiritual evolution

Ahuramazda … created the creatures for progress, which is His desire -- that is, the practice of worship and the struggle (with evil). (Zarathustra in GZ, 141.)

And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the Lord stood above it. (1) (Genesis 28:12-14.)

(1) Several interpretations of this vision are offered: (1) The ladder is the subtle energy system; as in a condition of Self-knowledge, the energy is freely flowing up to the crown chakra from the root chakra and again down; the Lord stands at the apex of the energy system. Cf. Shiva greeting Shakti at the crown chakra in Hindu symbology. (2) Consciousness is descending from God into matter and ascending to God from matter. Another interpretation points to the metaphor of the soul's coming out from God and returning to Him. There are endless outgoings and returns: the soul goes out from the Spirit with each birth and returns with each death; the soul goes out from God upon its initial separation and returns upon the attainment of Self-knowledge; the avatar goes out from God (hence avatara or "descent") upon the commencement of his or her mission and returns upon its completion. All of these levels of meaning are implied in Jesus's saying: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." (John 16:28.)

God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. (1) (Jesus in Matthew 3:9.)

(1) St. Paul recalls this statement in asserting that "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” (I Peter 2:5.)

This assertion implies that, as souls, we have evolved through the kingdoms of matter, from stones upward. Nonetheless, another level is literal: that nothing is impossible with God and that he could raise children of stones if He wished.

For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, (1)

Saying, Fear not, Paul: thou must be brought before Caesar. (Acts 27:23-4.)

(1) Probably Jesus.

I do not need to remind you ... of the fact that because of [Jesus'] generous work for salvation he himself entered the order of revealers and is called the "angel of great counsel." Indeed, when he announced what he knew of the Father, was it not as an angel? (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 159.)

I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’ (Rumi, ILWL, 58.)

Level after level he traverses the seven spheres and comes down into the Globe of Fire, then Air, then Water, then falls on earth; after that to the Minerals, Plants, Angels, then visits Mankind and the Jinn.

Until he reaches the degree of human being he passes through many tribulations at every level of his descent; he meets with difficulties. Sometimes he rises; sometimes he goes low; and half a circle is completed till he is lodged with ... mankind. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 20.)

By means of the "alchemy of happiness," [man] rises from the rank of beasts to that of angels. (Al-Ghazzali, AH, 32.)

Fix no limits for your growth. It has no limits, except those you create by your own willing and thinking: therefore think only of growing, and never of being full grown. (Anon., SAO, 35.)

P>Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity.
(William Blake in “Auguries of Innocence,” line 67, downloaded from http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/blake01.html, 27 October 2006.)

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

The Secret Doctrine teaches … the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul – a spark of the [Universal Over-Soul] – through the Cycle of Incarnation (or “Necessity”) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (Divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the … OVER-SOUL … has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara [round of life], and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosopjhy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations. (H.P. Blavatsky, SD(A), 13.)

The really important thing is ... the knowledge of God's plan for men. For God has a plan, and that plan is evolution. When once a man has seen that and really knows it, he cannot help working for it and making himself one with it, because it is so glorious, so beautiful, so, because he knows, he is on God's side, standing for good and resisting evil, working for evolution and not for selfishness. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 17.)

When after ages of struggle and many victories the final battle is won, the final secret demanded, then you are prepared for a further path. When the final secret of this great lesson is told, in it is opened the mystery of the new way -- a path which leads out of all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or imagination. At each of these points it is needful to pause long and consider well. At each of these points it is necessary to be sure that the way is chosen for its own sake. The way (1) and the truth (2) come first, then follows the life. (3) (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 11-2.)

(1) Sadhana or spiritual practice.
(2) The first enlightenment -- the vision of the Child of God.
(3) Self-Knowledge -- the vision of the Father -- and with it immortality.

Just as there is no plant that was not once a seed, so there is no god that was not once a man. (Joan Grant, WP, 39.)

The purpose of life ... is that the only Being makes his oneness intelligible to Himself. He goes through different planes of evolution ... to make clear to Himself His oneness. And as long as this purpose is not accomplished, the one and only Being has not reached His ultimate satisfaction, in which lies His divine perfection. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 237.)

Unredeemed souls (1) desire life, and with it they desire the earth, the sky, and its starry beauties. So, in order to fulfill our desire for children, souls come on earth as fleshly human beings. Aum (2) has to create the entire universe at the behest of God the Father. Because of the endless rise and dissolution of the desires of creatures, their universe is endlessly being dissolved and recreated again. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

(1) The unenlightened, or mortals.
(2) The Holy Ghost or Divine Mother.

The dissolving of all creation is impossible until all souls cease to desire anything at all and thus become fully emancipated in God. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

If this tree … understood the Law of Cosmic Love…, it would gradually be transformed into an animal; and if the animal … applied Cosmic Love, it would be transformed into a human being and the human being – into an angel. (Beinsa Douno, “The Cosmic Love,” Lectures, 24 August 1919.)

At present man is in his age of infancy and lives according the law of necessity. When he reaches adulthood, he will live according to the Law of Freedom. (Beinsa Douno, “Freedom,” WOG.)

It is the purpose of life that we should expand in consciousness. … From within himself man will receive the eternal wisdom. (White Eagle, WWE, 90-1.)

Man is learning in incarnation to to expand his consciousness, and with this expansion of consciousness comes all knowledge. (White Eagle, WWE, 92.)

The whole purpose of incarnation is this slow evolution of the spirit, its awakening in matter, to self-consciousness and God consciousness. (White Eagle, WWE, 49.)

The means of access to all the planes of life, from the physical to the dense etheric, the astral, the mental, the higher mental, and the celestial, and even beyond, is already within man; but he has to find the key and learn how to unlock the particular gate leading to them. (White Eagle, WWE, 28-9.)

You have before you the examples of the great ones who have served humanity all through the ages. This is the way of life, to love not only to enjoy yourselves but to beautify, to benefit Earth, to help forward the spiritual evolution of all life. The responsibility rests on each one; on the individual soul the whole community depends. (White Eagle, WWE, 80.)

Design of Life - Descriptions of the sacred arc and spiral journey that each soul follows

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. (Jesus in Matthew 16:28.)

[The] stories of the Christ ... show the spiral journey of the soul until the man of earth and God are one for evermore. (Levi, AGJC, 18.)

Design of Life - Suggestions that our knowledge of God evolves

Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. (Exodus 24:9-11.)

For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?

Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou has heard, and live? (Deuteronomy 4:32-3.)

The word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. (I Samuel 3:1.)

Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer; for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer. (1) (I Samuel 9:9.)

(1) In India a master in ancient times was also called a seer or rishi.

Design of Life - God is all that can be lawfully desired - See Devotion - God is all that can be lawfully desired

Design of Life - A human birth is precious and rare

From worlds in space there are souls who are actually crying to be born upon the Earth. Why should they renounce their celestial abodes for so violent and loathsome a world? Because here alone can they achieve the lessons of spirit that such an evil world can give. (Kuthumi Dhwal Khul in SA, 116.)

There is nothing that cannot be gained through a human birth. (Amritanandamayi, AC, 1, 24.)

Design of Life - Those attached to unfulfilled desires must be born again and again to satisfy them - See Desire - Those attached to unfulfilled desires must be born again and again to satisfy them

Design of Life - God protects the seeker - See Devotion - God protects the seeker

Design of Life - Are there further stages of evolution past the human? See Angels - Are there further stages of evolution past the human?

Design of Life - God provides – See Surrender - Surrender to God and let Him supply your every need

Design of Life - Natural Law - See Natural Law

Design of Life - Flesh and blood cannot inherit Kingdom of God - See The Body - Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God

Design of Life - Every nation is given a mentor – See Angels – Angels direct human destiny and mentor nations

Design of Life - The senses were made to turn outwards - See Turn Inwards - The senses were made to turn outwards and The Senses - The problem they present

Design of Life - Why did God create impurities? - See Impurities - Why did God create them?

Design of Life - Natural laws - See Natural Law and The Mother – Natural Law

Design of Life - As above, so below - See Natural Law - As above, so below

Design of Life - Sexuality - See Sexuality

Desire - What desire is

'I wanted this and to-day I got it. I want that: I shall get it to-morrow. All these riches are now mine: soon I shall have more. I have killed this enemy. I will kill all the rest. I am a ruler of men. I enjoy the things of this world. I am successful, strong and happy. Who is my equal? I am so wealthy and so nobly born. I will sacrifice to the gods. I will give alms. I will make merry.' That is what they say to themselves, in the blindness of their ignorance. (Sri Krishna in BG, 115.)

Our problem is to see the nature of desire, and not merely to overcome conflict; for it is desire that causes conflict. Desire is stimulated by association and remembrance; memory is part of desire. The recollection of the pleasant and the unpleasant nourishes desire and breaks it up into opposing and conflicting desires. The mind identifies itself with the pleasant as opposed to the unpleasant; through the choice of pain and pleasure the mind separates desire, dividing it into different categories of pursuits and values. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 119.)

Positive and negative continuance are similar. The gathering centre is desire, the desire for the more or the less. This centre is the self, placed at different levels according to one's conditioning. Any activity of this centre only brings about the further continuity of itself. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 108.)

The dualism of desire, which the mind has brought about, is an illusion. There is no dualism in desire, but merely different types of desire. There is dualism only between time and eternity. Our concern is to see the unreality of the dualism of desire. Desire does divide itself into want and not-want, but the avoidance of the one and the pursuit of the other is still desire. There is no escape from conflict through any of the opposites of desire, for desire itself breeds its own opposition. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 120.)

Desire is ever seeking fulfilment, attainment, and it is this movement of desire which must be understood and not driven away or under. Without understanding the ways of desire, mere control of thought has little significance. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 230.)

Dependence on outward line and form only indicates the emptiness of our own being, which we fill with music, with art, with deliberate silence. It is because this unvarying emptiness is filled or covered over with sensations that there is the everlasting fear of what is, of what we are. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 64-5.)

An addiction to knowledge is like any other addiction; it offers an escape from the fear of emptiness, of loneliness, of frustration, the fear of being nothing. The light of knowledge is a delicate covering under which lies a darkness that the mind cannot penetrate. The mind is frightened of this unknown, and so it escapes into knowledge, into theories, hopes, imagination; and this very knowledge is a hindrance to the understanding of the unknown. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26.)

Desire – The dualistic experiencer (the ego) arises with the desire for sensation – See also The Ego

The desire to experience creates the experiencer, who then accumulates and remembers. Desire makes for the separation of the thinker from his thoughts; the desire to become, to experience, to be more or to be less, makes for division between the experiencer and the experience. Awareness of the ways of desire is self-knowledge. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 66-7.)

Sensations are ... identified with separateness. ... The constant desire to be more or less gives rise to the feeling of individuality and separateness. If we can remain with this fact without condemning or justifying it, we will discover that sensations do not make up our whole life. Then the mind as memory, which is sensation, becomes calm, no longer torn by its own conflicts; and only then, when the mind is silent and tranquil, is there the possibility of living without the "me" and the "mine." Without this love, collective action is merely compulsion, breeding antagonism and fear, from which arise private and social conflicts. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 76.)

Desire - Desire is the root of sorrow

He who, brooding upon sense objects, comes to yearn for them, is born here and there, again and again, driven by his desire. But he who has realized the Self, and thus satisfied all hunger, attains to liberation even in this life. (UPAN, 48.)

Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death; but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal, seek not the things that pass away. (UPAN, 20.)

Men foolishly cling to Passion, that evil guide..., so that they do not think of Fate and by the bent of their nature forget Death.... They ceaselessly wander about on the path of Desire, they are tossed about by evil Passion, they clothe themselves in Spite while striving after fugitive possessions; in their youth they are drunk with Pride, and at the end of their time they shall be full of Regrets. (Zarathustra in GZ, 107-8.)

The mind of man fastens itself to various material objects hoping to find enjoyment in them. Instead it gathers only misery. (Dattatreya in AG, xxi.)

From pleasure comes grief, from pleasure comes fear; he who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear. (The Buddha in TCB, 63.)

Sensations are both pleasant and unpleasant, and the mind holds to the pleasant, thus becoming a slave to them. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 102.)

Desire is the root of all sorrow, disappointment, affliction, for though it has a feverish joy of pursuit and satisfaction, yet because it is always a straining of the being, it carries into its pursuit and its getting a labour, hunger, struggle, a rapid subjection to fatigue, a sense of limitation, dissatisfaction and early disappointment with all its gains, a ceaseless morbid stimulation, trouble, disquiet, asanti. To get rid of desire is the one firm indispensable purification of the psychical Prana, - for so we can replace the soul of desire with its pervading immiscence in all our instruments by a mental soul of calm delight and its clear and limpid possession of ourselves and world and Nature which is the crystal basis of the mental life and its perfection. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 629-30.)

The [grand] deformation which enters in and prevents ... purity ... is desire. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 629.)

Desire is the cause of sorrow. The happiness that we get from worldly objects is only an infinitesimal fraction of the bliss that we get from within. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, 1, 8.)

Desire – Desire endlessly multiplies

Such an one never ceaseth, having unfulfilled desires, and unsatisfiable concupiscences, and always fighting in darkness. (Hermes, DPH, 14.)

Stop up your senses;
Close up your doors:
Be not exhausted
As long as you live.
Open your senses;
Be busier still:
To the end of your days
There's no help for you.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 105.)

These pleasures which are gained and kept by toil -- which after deceiving you return whence they came -- these pleasures which are but borrowed for a time, what man of self-control, if he is wise, would delight in them? (The Buddha in BMT, 114.)

Have you a scripture that promises you whatever you choose? Or have We sworn a covenant with you -- a covenant binding till the Day of Resurrection -- that you shall have what you yourselves ordain? Ask if any of them will vouch for that! (Koran, 62.)

Maya is nothing but [lust and greed]. A man living in its midst gradually loses his spiritual alertness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 131.)

Sensation is always seeking further sensation, ever in wider and wider circles. There is no end to the pleasures of sensation; they multiply, but there is always dissatisfaction in their fulfilment; there is always the desire for more, and the demand for more is without end. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 239.)

Desire is ever seeking fulfilment, attainment, and it is this movement of desire which must be understood and not driven away or under. Without understanding the ways of desire, mere control of thought has little significance. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 230.)

One desire can be overcome by a greater desire, and that desire by still another, and so on endlessly. Desire breeds deception, illusion, contradiction, and the visions of hope. The all-conquering desire for the ultimate, or the will to reach that which is nameless, is still the way of consciousness, or the experiencer of good and bad, the experiencer who is waiting, watching, hoping. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 166.)

It is essential to understand desire. Desire can and does divide itself into pleasure and pain, wisdom and ignorance; one desire opposes another, the more profitable conflicts with the less profitable, and so on. Though for various reasons it may separate itself, desire is in fact an indivisible process. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 117.)

We drift along in confusion desiring now one thing and then another. We are attracted to whatever is the allurement of the moment, but there is no singleness of purpose, no conception of the underlying force that guides our lives. As awareness of the Self awakens, our life takes on a new organization. Although we may at times forget and continue in old habits of drifting about from one attraction to another, we begin to come back from these side roads to a home base. As we experience the comfort of this home again and again, we return to it more and more frequently and wander about less and less. Our growth and evolution consists of realizing that the Self underlies all outer forms and working toward loosening our involvement with external and passing aspects of life. Growth means attaining larger and larger perspective which leaves behind the narrow identification with a particular role, body or personality. (Swami Rama and Swami Ajaya, CUE, 85.)

Build on what you have, not on what you want. For want is an illusion that comes and goes. As soon as the desire is fulfilled, another desire replaces it. The chain of desire is endless. It always takes you away from yourself The marsh of desire is a poor place to pour the foundation of your house. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 34.)

Act from a place of peace, not one of desire. For desires come and go, but peace is eternal. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 34.)

Desire – Desire creates dissatisfaction, seeking, conflict

Conflict exists when desire assumes the form of the experiencer and pursues that which is to be experienced; for that which is to be experienced is also put together by desire. (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 36.)

Sensations are both pleasant and unpleasant, and the mind holds to the pleasant, thus becoming a slave to them. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 102.)

Desire can and does divide itself into pleasure and pain, wisdom and ignorance; one desire opposes another, the more profitable conflicts with the less profitable, and so on. Though for various reasons it may separate itself, desire is in fact an indivisible process. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 117.)

Conflict is inherent in sensation. As long as I want to be powerful or humble, there must be the conflicts of sensation, which bring about private and social misery. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 76.)

The more externalized we are, the more sensations and distractions there must be, and this gives rise to a mind that is never quiet, that is not capable of deep search and discovery. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 14.)

As long as you want to become something, at whatever level, there is bound to be misery and confusion. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 67.)

You struggle after the final end, and another pursues worldly things; your effort may be more ennobling, but it is still the desire to gain, is it not? (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 114.)

Desire may break itself up into many opposing and conflicting urges, but it is still desire. These many urges go to make up the 'I,' with its memories, anxieties, fears, and so on, and the entire activity of this 'I' is within the field of desire; it has no other field of activity. ... The demand for the cessation of the 'I' becomes the new activity of the 'I'; but it is not new, it is merely another form of desire. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 117.)

Desire can be overcome by a greater desire, and that desire by still another, and so on endlessly. Desire breeds deception, illusion, contradiction, and the visions of hope. The all-conquering desire for the ultimate, or the will to reach that which is nameless, is still the way of consciousness, of the experiencer of good and bad, the experiencer who is waiting, watching, hoping. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 166.)

Desire is ever seeking fulfilment, attainment, and it is this movement of desire which must be understood and not driven away or under. Without understanding the ways of desire, mere control of thought has little significance. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 230.)

Desire - What the addicts of desire are like

The man who stirs up his own lusts
Can never know peace.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 43-4.)

Thinking about sense-objects
Will attach you to sense-objects;
Grow attached, and you become addicted;
Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger;
Be angry, and you confuse the mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss life's only purpose.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 42.)

'I wanted this and to-day I got it. I want that: I shall get it to-morrow. All these riches are now mine: soon I shall have more. I have killed this enemy. I will kill all the rest. I am a ruler of men. I enjoy the things of this world. I am successful, strong and happy. Who is my equal? I am so wealthy and so nobly born. I will sacrifice to the gods. I will give alms. I will make merry.' That is what they say to themselves, in the blindness of their ignorance. (Sri Krishna in BG, 115.)

They are addicts of sensual pleasure, made restless by their many desires, and caught in the net of delusion. They fall into the filthy hell of their own evil minds. Conceited, haughty, foolishly proud, and intoxicated by their wealth, they offer sacrifice to God in name only, for outward show, without following the sacred rituals. These malignant creatures are full of egoism, vanity, lust, wrath, and consciousness of power. They loathe me, and deny my presence both in themselves and in others. They are enemies of all men and of myself; cruel, despicable and vile. I cast them back again and again, into the wombs of degraded parents, subjecting them to the wheel of birth and death. And so they are constantly reborn, in degradation and delusion. They do not reach me, but sink down to the lowest possible condition of the soul. (Sri Krishna in BG, 115-6.)

Even if they enjoy them men are not satisfied, like dogs famishing with hunger over a bone -- what man of self-control could find satisfaction in these pleasures, which are like a skeleton composed of dry bones? (The Buddha in BMT, 115.)

Playthings of the passions,
Hither, thither tossed by adverse waves,
Upon a shoreless sea, they blinded roll,
Unable to resist or to the tempest yield.
(Pythagoras in GVP, 8.)

For those lacking in reason [desire] is a limitless appetite for the material, a thrust originating in that chronic urge to dwell with the ephemeral, that living, mastering longing to remain with whatever is applauded by the senses. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 151.)

Desire – Desire prevents experiencing and enlightenment

Lust hides the Atman in its hungry flames,
The wise man's faithful foe.
Intellect, senses and mind
Are fuel to its fire:
Thus it deludes
The dweller in the body,
Bewildering his judgment.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 40.)

Smoke hides fire,
Dust hides a mirror,
The womb hides the embryo:
By lust (1) the Atman (2) is hidden.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 49.)

(1) The lust Krishna refers to is not simply sexually passion, but all forms of craving and attachment.
(2) The Self.

These transient pleasures -- the robber of our happiness and our wealth, and which float empty and like illusions through the world, -- infatuate men's minds even they are only hoped for -- still more when they take up their abode in the soul.

The victims of pleasure attain not to happiness even in the heaven of the gods, still less in the world of mortals; he who is athirst is never satisfied with pleasures, as the fire, the friend of the wind, with fuel. X There is no calamity in the world like pleasures, -- people are devoted to them through delusion; when he once knows the truth and so fears evil, what wise man would of his own choice desire evil? (Buddha in BMT, 112-3.)

I have been wounded by the enjoyment of the world, and I have come out longing to obtain peace; I would not accept an empire free from all ill even in the third heaven, how much less amongst men? (Buddha in BMT, 119.)

Attachments prevent the growth of one's true being. (Lao-Tzu in HHC, 18.)

The integral being is attached to nothing and can relate to everyone with an unstructured attitude. (Lao-Tzu in HHC, 18.)

If you fast not from the world, you will not find the Kingdom. (Jesus in GATT, 19.)

Don't become attached. Once attached, you're unaware. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 15.)

If you seek direct understanding, don't hold onto any appearance whatsoever, and you'll succeed. I have no other advice. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 13.)

Attachment to body, objects and persons is considered fatal to a seeker for liberation. (Shankara in CJD, 45.)

A man by his appetite feed[s] and pasture[s] on worldly things that gratify his faculties. When the appetites are extinguished -- or mortified -- he no longer feeds upon the pleasures of these things, but lives in a void and in darkness with respect to his appetites. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 76.)

An attachment to a creature makes a person equal to that creature; the firmer the attachment, the closer is the likeness to the creature, and the greater the equality. For love effects a likeness between the lover and the object loved. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC , 78.)

Clothed in these affections, (1) a person will be incapable of the enlightenment and dominating fullness of God's pure and simple light, unless he rejects them. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 77-8.)

(1) That is, desires.

By the mere fact, then, that a man loves something, his soul becomes incapable of pure union and transformation in God; for the baseness of a creature is far less capable of the sublimity of the Creator than is darkness of light. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 78.)

Man, deluded by [lust and greed], forgets God. But to one who has seen the beauty of God, even the position of Brahma, the Creator, seems insignificant. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 710.)

Attachment is blinding; it lends an imaginary halo of attractiveness to the object of desire. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 104.)

There is no way back Home if you weave around you a snare of worldly desires. You came to play your part on the stage of time, to fill the role that you were designed for in the divine drama; but the essential part of your role is to think of Him and to do His will, naught else. Every thought, every act, is deluded that does not place Him first. (Paramahansa Yogananda, MEQ, 459.)

What is essential is experiencing, which is denied in the pursuit of sensation. ... Experiencing, which is wholly different from the repetition of an experience, is without continuity. Only in experiencing is there renewal, transformation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 65.)

Sensations have a beginning and an end, they can be repeated and expanded; but experiencing is not within the limits of time. What is essential is experiencing, which is denied in the pursuit of sensation. Sensations are limited, personal, they cause conflict and misery; but experiencing, which is wholly different from the repetition of an experience, is without continuity. Only in experiencing is there renewal, transformation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 65.)

We call God with many desires. The mind is filled with desires, not with God's Form. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, 1, 8.)

Desire – We cannot serve two masters

The Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous (1) God. (Deuteronomy 4:24.)

(1) I.e., He allows us to choose the world instead of Him. But he will not allow us to see and know Him as long as we cherish any other desire but for Him. This is the sense in which He is "jealous."

Every plant (1) which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. (Jesus in Matthew 15:13.)

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(1) Every desire, every work.

Verily I say unto you, That a rich man (1) shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Jesus in Matthew 19:23-4.)

(1) That is, a man "rich" in attachments to possessions.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Jesus in Matthew 6:24.)

Loving, hating, having expectations: all these are attachments.
Attachment prevents the growth of one's true being.
Therefore the integral being is attached to nothing and can relate to everyone with an unstructured attitude.
Because of this, her very existence benefits all things.
(Lao Tzu, HHC, 18.)

Wherever you find delight, you find bondage. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 15.)

Eyes that aren't attached to form are the Gates of Zen. Ears that aren't attached to form are also the Gates of Zen. In short, those who perceive the existence and nature of phenomena and remain unattached are liberated. Those who perceive the external appearance of phenomena are at their mercy. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 30.)

Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

Love for God and love for the world cannot coexist in the same soul: the stronger drives out the weaker, and it soon appears who loves the world, and who follows Christ. The strength of people’s love is shown in what they do. The lovers of Christ set themselves against the world and the flesh, just as those who love the world oppose God and their own soul. (Richard Rolle, FOL, 49.)

Desire – When desire and attachment go, enlightenment arises

It is a venerable way and plain, but hard and difficult for the soul to go in that is in the body.

For first it must war against its own self, and after much strife and dissention, it must be overcome of one part; for the contention is of one against two, while it flies away, and they strive to hold and detain it.

But the victory of both is not like, for the one hasteth to that which is God, but the other is a neighbour to the things that are Evil; and that which is Good desireth to be set at liberty, but the things that are Evil love Bondage and Slavery. And if the two parts be overcome, they become quiet, and are content to accept of it as their Ruler; but if the one be overcome of the two, it is by them led and carried to be punished by its being and continuance here.

This is, O Son, the Guide in the way that leads thither; for thou must first forsake the Body before thy end, and get the victory in this contention and strifeful life, and when thou has overcome, return. (Hermes, DPH, 2.)

When a man is free from desire, his mind and senses purified, he beholds the glory of the Self and is without sorrow. (UPAN, 18.)

The mortal in whose heart desire is dead becomes immortal. The mortal in whose heart the knots of ignorance are untied becomes immortal. These are the highest truths taught in the scriptures. (UPAN, 24.)

This is the keeping of the fast with us -- that we fast from committing sin with our eyes and tongue and ears and hands and feet. (Zarathustra in GZ, 99.)

The integral being is attached to nothing. (Lao-Tzu in HHC, 18.)

The secret (1) waits for the insight
Of eyes unclouded by longing; (2)
Those who are bound by desire
See only the outward container.
(Lao Tzu, WOL, 53.)

(1) Knowledge of God or Self-Realization.
(2) Longing for objects and sensations.

Stop up your senses;
Close up your doors:
Be not exhausted
As long as you live.
Open your senses;
Be busier still:
To the end of your days
There's no help for you.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 105.)

Die, die, die in this love.
If you die in this love, your soul will be renewed.

Die, die, don’t fear the death of that which is known.
If you die to the temporal, you will become timeless.

Die, die, cut off those chains that hold you prisoner to the world of attachment.

Die, die, die to the deathless and you will be eternal.

Die, die, come out of this cloud.
When you leave the cloud, you will be the effulgent moon.

Die, die, die to the din and the noise of the mundane concerns.
In the silence of love you will find the spark of life. (Rumi’s poem from Deepak [Chopra] and Friends, A Gift of Love. Libra Music.)

He who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear. (The Buddha in TCB, 63.)

Into Nirvana my mind has passed,
The end of cravings has been reached at last.
(The Buddha, GB, 33.)

Renunciation brings instant peace to the spirit. (Sri Krishna in BG, 99.)

A man who renounces certain physical actions but still lets his mind dwell on the objects of his sensual desire, is deceiving himself. He can only be called a hypocrite. The truly admirable man controls his senses by the power of his will. All his actions are disinterested. All are directed along the path to union with Brahman. (Sri Krishna in BG, 44-5.)

When a man has achieved non-attachment, self-mastery and freedom from desire through renunciation, he reaches union with Brahman, who is beyond all action. (Sri Krishna in BG, 127.)

When a man's heart has reached fulfilment through knowledge and personal experience of the truth of Brahman, he is never again moved by the things of the senses. earth, stone and gold seem all alike to one who has mastered his senses. Such a yogi is said to have achieved union with Brahman. (Sri Krishna in BG, 64.)

The tortoise can draw in his legs:
The seer can draw in his senses.
I call him illumined.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 42.)

When a man can still the senses
I call him illumined.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 43.)

When the bonds [of desire] are broken
His illumined heart
Beats in Brahman.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 53.)

As a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, so a yogi withdraws his mind and senses from worldly objects and concentrates on the Atman. This is the way one can realize the Supreme Self. (Dattatreya, AG, xxiii.)

The dead are not alive (1) and the living shall not die. (2) (Jesus in GATT, 7.)

(1) The unenlightened, who are "dead" to their Self, are not "alive" to its bliss and wisdom. Conversely, the enlightened, who are immortal and thus "living," will never suffer the death of the body again.

Men can attain to this hidden deity by putting away all that is not God. (Pseudo-Dionysius in MT, 209.)

What is temperance, rightly so called, but to abstain from the pleasures of the body, to reject them rather as unclean and unworthy of the clean? (Plotinus in EP, 39.)

It were well to cast kingdoms aside and the domination of the entire earth and sea and sky if, by this spurning, one might attain this vision. (Plotinus in EP, 41.)

Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

The unimpeded mind reaches the Way. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 36.)

Once you awaken to your original body and mind, you're no longer bound by attachments. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 15.)

By clinging to sense objects, existence or non-existence arises like the up and down of the billowy sea … while by non-attachment a state above existence and non-existence, like smoothly running water, is attained. (Hui Neng in SHN, 27.)

When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to 'come' or to 'go,' we attain … liberation. Such a state is called the function of 'thoughtlessness.' But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed … is an erroneous view. (Hui Neng, SHN, 32.)

Only he who is free from the horrible trap of craving for sense-enjoyment, so hard to renounce, is ready for liberation -- and no other, even though he may be schooled in the six systems of philosophy. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

He who has killed the shark of sense-craving with the sword of true dispassion, crosses the ocean of this world without meeting any obstacle. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

When in the crucible of abstinence [man] is purged from carnal passions he attains to the highest, and in place of being a slave to lust and anger becomes endued [sic] with angelic qualities. Attaining that state, he finds his heaven in the contemplation of Eternal Beauty, and no longer in fleshly delights. (Al-Ghazzali, AH, 17.)

One is not freed from the sufferings and anguish of the appetites until they are tempered and put to sleep. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 74.)

To undertake the journey to God the heart must be burned and purified of all creatures (1) with the fire of divine love. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 75.)

(1) All created things, including desires.

Until a man is purged of his attachments he will not be equipped to possess God, neither here below through the pure transformation of love, nor in heaven through the beatific vision. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 78.)

The light of divine union cannot be established in the soul until these affections are eradicated. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 78.)

The individual must deprive himself of his appetites for worldly possessions. This denial and privation is like a night for all his senses. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 74.)

It is clearly necessary for the soul, aiming at its own supernatural transformation, to be in darkness and far removed from all that relates to its natural condition, the sensual and rational parts. The supernatural is that which transcends nature, and, therefore, that which is natural remains below. Inasmuch as this union and transformation are not cognizable by sense or any human power, the soul must be completely and voluntarily empty of all that can enter into it, of every affection and inclination, so far as it concerns itself.... On this road, therefore, to abandon one's own way is to enter on the true way, or, to speak more correctly, to pass onwards to the goal; and to forsake one's own way is to enter on that which has none, namely, God. For the soul that attains to this state has no ways or methods of its own, neither does it nor can it lean upon anything of the kind. ... To arrive there is to depart hence, going away, out of oneself. ... Our way to Him is therefore, of necessity, in self denial (1). (St. John of the Cross in CC, 145-6.)

(1) A denial of the clamor and demands of the self.

Darkness ... is nothing else than a void within him of all things. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 76.)

Unburden [yourself] of all earthly things, avoid spiritual obstacles, and live in that complete nakedness and freedom of spirit necessary for divine union. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 68.)

If the mind is free from [lust and greed], then what else can obstruct a man? He enjoys then only the bliss of Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 313.)

One must not cherish any desire whatever. The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. But desireless devotion is love for its own sake. You may love me or not, but I love you: this is love for its own sake. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 375.)

You will feel restless for God when your heart becomes pure and your mind free from attachment to the things of the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 375.)

One must not cherish any desire whatever. The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 375.)

The bliss of the Self will not be felt in the intellect which is distracted by desires for objects by one who does not know the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 9.)

Desirelessness is wisdom. The two are not different; they are the same. Desirelessness is refraining from turning the mind towards any object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object. In other words, not seeking what is other than the Self is detachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self is wisdom. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 21.)

When the object of desire is obtained, the intellect becomes steady for a moment and turns inward. Then the bliss of the Self is reflected on it and this gives rise to a delusion that there was bliss in the object. But when other objects are desired the bliss vanishes. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 9.)

In having nothing lies inexhaustible wealth. (1) (Tenko-San in NRAT, 7.)

(1) This of course is a tight epigram, with many levels of meaning. God is nothing: in having God lies all wealth; in renouncing everything lies a rich inheritance; etc.

What is essential is experiencing, which is denied in the pursuit of sensation. ... Experiencing, which is wholly different from the repetition of an experience, is without continuity. Only in experiencing is there renewal, transformation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 65.)

Experiencing can only come with the absence of the desire for sensation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 63.)

The mind must be utterly empty to receive; but the craving to be empty in order to receive is a deep-seated impediment, and this also must be understood completely, not at any particular level. The craving to experience must wholly cease, which happens only when the experiencer is not nourishing himself on experiences and their memories. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 69.)

The moment of experiencing is totally different from the pursuit of sensation. In experiencing there is no awareness of the experiencer and his sensations. When experiencing comes to an end, then begin the sensations of the experiencer; and it is these sensations that the experiencer demands and pursues. ... Sensations become all-dominant, and not experiencing. The longing to repeat an experience is the demand for sensation; and while sensations can be repeated, experiencing cannot. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 64.)

There can be freedom from knowledge only when the process of gathering, the motive of accumulation, is understood. The desire to store up is the desire to be secure, to be certain. This desire for certainty through identification, through condemnation and justification, is the cause of fear, which destroys all communion. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26-7.)

To see the false as the false, and the truth in the false, and the true as the true, is not easy. To perceive clearly, there must be freedom from desire, which twists and conditions the mind. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 125.)

Truth alone liberates, and not your desire to be free. The very desire and effort to be free is a hindrance to liberation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 104.)

When the mind is entirely free of this structure of desire, is the mind then different from the void? (1) (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 37.)

(1) Brahman or God the Father.

There will be no sorrow if and when the sense organs are withdrawn from sense objects. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, 1, 24.)

Desire - Those attached to unfulfilled desires must be born again and again to satisfy them

The cause of death (1) is the love of the body (2). (Hermes, DPH, 12.)

(1) The cause of the need to be born and die.
(2) Attachment to the body and its love of sensations, experiences, pleasures, comforts, etc.

Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death; but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal, seek not the things that pass away. (UPAN, 20.)

He who, brooding upon sense objects, comes to yearn for them, is born here and there, again and again, driven by his desire. (UPAN, 48.)

Prana enters the body at birth, that the desires of the mind, continuing from past lives, may be fulfilled. (UPAN, 38.)

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; (1) but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (2) (St. Paul in Romans 8:5-6.)

(1) That is, keeps one in the mortal round of birth and death.
(2) Leads to Self-knowledge, immortality, and peace.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: (1) but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (2) (St. Paul in Romans 8:12-3.)

(1) Those who have carnal or fleshly desires will not achieve enlightenment, but will be reborn again and again to live out these desires.
(2) However, those who have transcended worldly desires shall find Self-knowledge and pass beyond the cycle of birth and death to immortality.
So-called seekers after liberation, who lack the true spirit of renunciation, try, nevertheless, to cross the ocean of this world. The shark of craving catches them by the throat, and drags them violently from their course, and they are drowned mid-way. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

He who has killed the shark of sense-craving with the sword of true dispassion, crosses the ocean of this world without meeting any obstacle. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

Only he who is free from the horrible trap of craving for sense-enjoyment, so hard to renounce, is ready for liberation -- and no other, even though he may be schooled in the six systems of philosophy. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

So long as a man has even the slightest desire, he must be born again and again. When he gets rid of all desires, then he is liberated. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 940.)

There is no desire in the world which has not its answer. The answer to every desire is somewhere; the fulfilment of every desire must come one day. Therefore, without doubt this desire of living must be fulfilled. And the fulfilment of this desire is in getting above the illusion which is caused by ignorance of the secret of life. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI 197.)

Unredeemed souls (1) desire life, and with it they desire the earth, the sky, and its starry beauties. So, in order to fulfill our desire for children, souls come on earth as fleshly human beings. Aum (2) has to create the entire universe at the behest of God the Father. Because of the endless rise and dissolution of the desires of creatures, their universe is endlessly being dissolved and recreated again. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

(1) The unenlightened, or mortals.
(2) The Holy Ghost or Divine Mother.

The dissolving of all creation is impossible until all souls cease to desire anything at all and thus become fully emancipated in God. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

Detach from the Unreal – See Karma Yoga

Determination – Determination is needed to succeed in spiritual life

Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel. (Genesis 49:4.)

No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Jesus in Luke 9:62.)

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (St. Paul in Phillippians 3:13-4.)

[Zibo was on foot with several companions] when they encountered a stream in full flood. Everyone decided that it was surely impossible to cross. Zibo took off his robe and waded in ahead, calling to the others. The water was up to his shoulders, but Zibo kept plunging ahead. When he was across, he looked back and said to his disciples, “At the gate of birth and death, cross directly to succeed.” (16th Century Ch’an master Zibo in ZIBO, 17.)

One succeeds if one develops a strong spirit of renunciation. Give up at once, with determination, what you know to be unreal. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 246.)

The man who says he will not succeed will never succeed. He who feels he is liberated is indeed liberated; and he who feels he is bound verily remains bound. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 706.)

One must have stern determination; then alone is spiritual practice possible. One must make a stern resolve. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 210.)

One cannot achieve anything through laziness and procrastination. People who desire worldly enjoyment say about spiritual progress: “Well, it will all happen in time. We shall realize God some time or other.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 241.)

Does an angler catch a big carp every day the moment he sits with his rod? Arranging everything about him, he sits with the rod and concentrates. Once in a while a big carp swallows the hook, but many times he is disappointed. Don’t relax the practices for that reason. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 29.)

A man will certainly succeed if he will take the plunge. Success is sure for such a man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 272.)

"Practice, practice," [Swami Brahmananda] would tell us: "Through practice of the spiritual disciplines the heart will be purified and a new realm will open. You will realize that God alone is real and that everything else is unreal. But when through japam (1) and meditation a little awakening comes, do not imagine you have achieved the end. Light! More Light! Onward! Onward! Attain God! Gain his vision! Talk to him!" (Swami Prabhavananda, EC, 61.)

(1) Chanting the names of God.

Master found no insuperable obstacle in the mergence of human and Divine. No such barrier exists, I came to understand, save in man's spiritual unadventurousness. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 115.)

Many exclaim, "There is only one." What they are referring to is a vague "one" that is supposed to exist everywhere. But if that is what one truly believes, does one have the guts to take it seriously? Indeed, if there is only one, then that would have to mean that there is only you. Very few are willing to take it that seriously. (Andrew Cohen, FHNH, 6.)

In order to wake up, you must commit all of your inner resources one-pointedly to the task at hand. You must be willing to suspend all other considerations and make awakening the top priority of this life. (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://www.thedailyinspiration.com/cgi/daily.php?id=574, 12 March 2006.)

Determination – Types

Determination inspired by sattwa never wavers. It is strengthened by the practice of yoga. A man who has this kind of determination gains absolute control over his mind, vital energy and senses, Rajas, on the other hand, inspires that kind of determination with which a man follows the object of his desire, or seeks wealth, or does a duty, looking for reward of personal advantage. As for the determination inspired by tamas, it is nothing but obstinacy. It makes a man stubbornly refuse to shake off his dullness, fear, grief, low spirits or vanity. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

Determination - The spiritual quest takes courage

Where the student is exerting all his strength, not a breath of air can pass, and the whole thing may be over as swiftly as a flash of lightning or a spark from a flint. If the student so much as bats an eye, the whole relationship could be spoiled. Apply the mind and at once there's differentiation; rouse a thought and at once there's error. The person who can understand this never ceases to be right before my eyes. (Lin Chi [Rinzai], LCL, 58.)

Followers of the Way, if you want to be constantly in accord with the Dharma, you'll have to begin by learning to be first-rate fellows. Be weak-kneed and wishy-washy and you'll never get there. (Lin Chi [Rinzai], LCL, 41.)

Determination – Master your will

Man's will is the only
Friend of the Atman:
His will is also
The Atman's enemy.

For when a man is self-controlled, his will is the Atman's friend. But the will of an uncontrolled man is hostile to the Atman, like an enemy. (Sri Krishna in BG, 64.)

That serene one
Absorbed in Atman
Masters his will,
He knows no disquiet
In heat or in cold,
In pain or pleasure,
In honour, dishonour.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 64.)

The positive or negative action of will, which is desire sharpened and heightened, always leads to strife and conflict; it is not the means of understanding. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 67.)

Determination - Be steadfast; persevere; persist until the end

So long as the brethren shall not come to a stop on their way to [Nirvana] because they have attained to any lesser thing [such as riches or power] -- so long may the brethren be expected not to decline but to prosper. (The Buddha in CC, 87.)

Those who, either now or after I am dead, shall be a lamp unto themselves, relying upon themselves only and not relying upon any external help, but holding fast to the truth as their lamp, and seeking their salvation in the truth alone, shall not look for assistance to any one besides themselves, it is they, Ananda, among my bhikshus, (1) who shall reach the very topmost height! (The Buddha in TCB, 50.)

(1) A Buddhist monk is called a bhikshu.

He that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Jesus in Matthew 10:22.)

Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (1) ... He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (2) (Jesus in Revelation 2:10-1.)

(1) Self-Knowledge arises when the kundalini energy arrives at the sahasrar or crown chakra, at the top of the head. It brings with it immortality. It is thus a crown of life.
(2) The second death is the death of the personality or ego, which precedes Self-Knowledge.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (1) (Philippians 3:13-14.)

(1) The high calling of spiritual union with the Lord, to be bestowed on him by the benediction of Jesus.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. (II Timothy 4:6-8.)

The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer. (I Peter 4:7.)

Renunciation, suffering, death, or whatever reaching perfection might entail, one must persevere. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 133.)

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to achieve it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

Nothing can be achieved except in its proper time. Some persons must pass through many experiences and perform many worldly duties before they can turn their attention to God, so they have to wait a long time. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 162.)

Go forward. A wood-cutter once entered a forest to gather wood. A brahmachari said to him, “Go forward.” He obeyed the injunction and discovered some sandal-wood trees. After a few days he reflected, “The holy man asked me to go forward. He didn’t tell me to stop here.” So he went forward and found a silver-mine. After a few days he went still farther and discovered a gold-mine, and next, mines of diamonds and precious stones. With these he became immensely rich. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 109.)

Your mind is still attracted by “woman and gold.” What is the use of saying you don’t care for it? Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandal-wood there are many more things: mines of silver, gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. Having a glimpse of spirituality, don’t think you have attained everything. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 239.)

In order to wake up, you must commit all of your inner resources one-pointedly to the task at hand. You must be willing to suspend all other considerations and make awakening the top priority of this life. (Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.thedailyinspiration.com/cgi/daily.php?id=574, 12 March 2006.)

Devote Yourself to the Real - See Bhakti Yoga; see also Paths

Dharma - Act righteously

The strife of piety is to know God, and to injure no Man; and this way it becomes Mind. (1) (Hermes, DPH, 27.)

(1) That is, Universal Mind, pure mind, or God.

If at any time there is any doubt with regard to right conduct, follow the practice of great souls, who are guileless, of good judgment, and devoted to truth. (UPAN, 54.)

Whosoever has been born and whosoever shall be born must act in such a way that, when the moment comes to leave this world, he may have Paradise as his portion, and the Home of Song as his reward. (Zarathustra in GZ, 109-10.)

There is only one Straight Path, that of Righteousness; all others are false paths. (Zarathustra in GZ, 90.)

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, not sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

… For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous:but the way of the ungoldly shall perish. (Psalm 1:1-2 and 6.)

Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. (Psalm 4:3.)

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Jesus in Matthew 6:33.)

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (St. Paul in Romans 2:13.)

In the beginning of the spiritual life we ought to be faithful in doing our duty and denying ourselves; but after that, unspeakable pleasures followed. ... In difficulties we need only have recourse to Jesus Christ, and beg His grace; with that everything became easy. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 17.)

Dharma – Be in dharmic relationship with life

Life is relationship in constant movement, flux, and flow. Dharmic relationship is life flowing without obstruction of ego and is an expression of truth, love, and integrity. To be in Dharmic relationship with all of life, and with all that it means to be human, is a profound discovery that requires a deep transformation at the very core of the human heart. (Adyashanti, http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

If most human beings truly realized the impact that they have on the whole, they’d be crushed by the realization of it. But what I’m talking about is being thrilled by it. (Adyashanti, http://charityfocus.org/insp/clubs/tow/?pg=26#page315, delivered 12 January 2004, 16 May 2004.)

Dharma – Pro: Right action leads to enlightenment

The pure world of Brahman is attainable by those only who are neither deceitful, nor wicked, nor false. (UPAN, 36.)

All good thoughts, ... words, ... and deeds are a pledge of Paradise for the righteous. (Zarathustra in GZ, 12.)

He has promoted nothing, and will promote nothing, who does not promote the laws of perfect Righteousness pondered in his heart. ... For they who are kindest to the righteous and least distress their souls shall behold Paradise. (The Lord Ahuramazda in GZ, 112-3.)

Righteousness ... is robed in celestial light. (1) (Zarathustra in GZ, 182.)

(1) The light of God; i.e., enlightenment.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of the sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scorners.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3.)

For the Lord God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11.)

The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more, unto the perfect day. (1) (Proverbs 4:18.)

(1) The day on which the transcendent Soul or All-Self is known.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (1) (Jesus in Matthew 5:6.)

(1) That is, with God; i.e., enlightened.

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Jesus in Matthew 7:21.)

He that does good, does it for his own soul. Koran, 158.)

The righteous shall surely dwell in bliss. (Koran, 16.)

As for those who say: 'Our God is Allah,' and take the right path to Him, the angels will descend to them, saying: 'Let nothing alarm or grieve you. Rejoice in the Paradise you have been promised. We are your guardians in this world and in the next. You shall find there all that your souls desire and all that you can ask for: a rich provision from a benignant and a merciful God.' (Koran, 157.)

Dharma – Con: Right action does not lead to enlightenment

Right action helps to purify the heart, but it does not give us direct perception of the Reality. The Reality is attained through discrimination. (1) (Shankara in CJD, 34.)

(1) In the sense of knowledge, wisdom, or jnana, which brings on enlightenment directly.

Dharma - Return good for evil

Good and evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend. (Koran, 157.)

Dharma - Follow the example of the righteous

If at any time there is any doubt with regard to right conduct, follow the practice of great souls, who are guileless, of good judgment, and devoted to truth. (UPAN, 54.)

Dharma - Follow your own duty

A man will reach perfection if he does his duty as an act of worship to the Lord, who is the source of the universe, prompting all action, everywhere present.

A man's own natural duty, even if it seems imperfectly done, is better than work not naturally his own even if this is well performed. When a man acts according to the law of his nature, he cannot be sinning. Therefore, no one should give up his natural work, even though he does it imperfectly. For all action is involved in imperfection, like fire in smoke. (Sri Krishna in BG, 127.)

What everybody's established being necessitates him doing, he is obliged to do that. The mystery of the Divine fate necessitates it.

Knowing that the situation is established like this, that everything is tied to his aptitude, a man will do what he has to do accordingly. He cannot go against his state. He finds things happening within himself, one after another, each in its own time. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 29.)

Dharma - When duty ends

Buddhas don't keep precepts. And Buddhas don't break precepts. Buddhas don't keep or break anything. Buddhas don't do good or evil. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 5.)

The blossom drops off when the fruit appears. One doesn't have to do one's duty after the attainment of God, nor does one feel like doing it then. ... As you advance nearer and nearer to God, he will reduce your activities little by little. Have no fear. Finish the few duties you have at hand, and then you will have peace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 114.)

Dharma - Self-serving righteousness, self-righteousness

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2.)

Dharma - The Good

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. (James 1:17.)

Dharma - God favors the good

Impartial though the Way of God may be,
It always favors good men.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 132.)

Dharma - The wise prefer the good to the pleasant

The good is one thing; the pleasant is another. These two, differing in their ends, both prompt to action. Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal. (UPAN, 16.)

The wise prefer the good to the pleasant; the foolish, driven by fleshly desires, prefer the pleasant to the good. (UPAN, 16.)

I have been wounded by the enjoyment of the world, and I have come out longing to obtain peace; I would not accept an empire free from all ill even in the third heaven, how much less amongst men. (The Buddha in BMT, 119.)

As in the works of knowledge, so in dealing with the workings of the heart, we are obliged to make a preliminary distinction between two categories of movements, those that are either moved by the true soul or aid towards its liberation ... and those that are turned to the satisfaction of the unpurified vital nature. ... A division can be made between religious emotions and mundane feelings and it can be laid down as a rule of spiritual life that the religious emotions alone should be cultivated and all worldly feelings and passions must be rejected and fall away from our existence. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 141.)

Dharma - The Good and the Evil

The heart of a wicked man is like a stormy sea. (Isaiah 57:20.)

Abba Ammonas advanced to the point where his goodness was so great, he took no notice of wickedness. (SDF, 27.)

You may ask, 'How, then, can one explain misery and sin and unhappiness?' The answer is that these apply only to the jiva. Brahman is unaffected by them. There is poison in a snake; but though others may die if bitten by it, the snake itself is unaffected by the poison. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 102.)

There is no doubt that virtue and vice exist in the world; but God Himself is unattached to them. There may be good and bad smells in the air, but the air is not attached to them. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 246-7.)

Never say that you are a sinner. You are a child of God! Gold, though covered over with mud for centuries, remains gold. Even so, the pure gold of the soul, though covered for eons of time with the mud of delusion, remains forever pure 'gold.' To call yourself a sinner is to identify yourself with your sins, instead of trying to overcome them. To call yourself a sinner is the greatest sin. (Paramahansa Yogananda in Swami Kriyananda, PATH, 221.)

Quite simply, a belief in the good without a belief in the evil, may seem highly unrealistic to you, This belief, however, is the best kind of insurance that you can have, both during physical life and afterward.

It may outrage your intellect, and the evidence of your physical senses may shout that it is untrue, yet a belief in good without a belief in evil is actually highly realistic, since in physical life it will keep your body healthier, keep you psychologically free of many fears and mental difficulties, and bring you a feeling of ease and spontaneity in which the development of your abilities can be better fulfilled. After death it will release you from the belief in demons and hell, and enforced punishment. You will be better prepared to understand the nature of reality as it is. I understand that the concept does indeed offend your intellect, and that your senses seem to deny it. Yet you should already realize that your senses tell you many things which are not true; and I tell you that your physical senses perceive a reality that is a result of your beliefs.

Believing in evils, you will of course perceive them. Your world has not tried the experiment as yet which would release you. Christianity was but a distortion of this main truth -- that is, organized Christianity as you know it. I am not simply speaking here of the original precepts. They were hardly given a chance....

The experiment that would transform your world would operate upon the basic idea that you create your own reality according to the nature of your beliefs, and that all existence was blessed, and that evil did not exist in it. If these ideas were followed individually and collectively, then the evidence of your physical sense would find no contradiction. They would perceive the world and existence as good.

This is the experiment that has not been tried, and these are the truths that you must learn before physical death. (Seth in SETH, 183-4.)

Discriminate between the Unreal and the Real, Detach from the Unreal, and Devote Yourself to the Real - Three Prerequisites for knowing God

He who lacks discrimination, whose mind is unsteady and whose heart is impure, never reaches the goal, but is born again and again. But he who has discrimination, whose mind is steady and whose heart is pure, reaches the goal, and having reached it is born no more. (UPAN, 19.)

The mortal in whose heart desire is dead becomes immortal. The mortal in whose heart the knots of ignorance are untied becomes immortal. These are the highest truths taught in the scriptures. (UPAN, 24.)

On earth there is no purifier
As great as this knowledge,
When a man is made perfect in yoga,
He knows its truth within his heart.
The man of faith, (1)
Whose heart is devoted, (2)
Whose senses are mastered: (3)
He finds Brahman.
Enlightened, he passes
At once to the highest,
The peace beyond passion.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 55.)

(1) Discrimination.
(2) Devotion.
(3) Detachment.

Those who lack tranquillity (1) and discernment (2) will not find him, even though they may try hard to do so. (Sri Krishna in BG, 112.)

(1)

He alone may be considered qualified to seek Brahman who has discrimination, whose mind is turned away from all enjoyments, who possesses tranquillity and the kindred virtues, and who feels a longing for liberation. (Shankara in CJD, 35.)

Of the steps to liberation, the first is declared to be complete detachment from all things which are non-eternal. Then comes the practice of tranquillity, self-control, and forbearance. And then the entire giving-up of all actions which are done from personal, selfish desires.

Then the disciple must hear the truth of the Atman, and reflect on it, and meditate upon it constantly, without pause, for a long time. (1) Thus the wise man reaches that highest state, in which consciousness of subject and object is dissolved away and the infinite unitary consciousness alone remains -- and he knows the bliss of Nirvana while still living on earth. (Shankara in CJD, 42-3.)

(1) Discrimination.

If discrimination and dispassion are practiced to the exclusion of everything else, the mind will become pure and move toward liberation. Therefore the wise man who seeks liberation must develop both these qualities within himself. (Shankara in CJD, 60-1.)

Seek earnestly for liberation, (1) and your lust for sense-objects will be rooted out. (2) Practice detachment toward all actions. Have faith in the Reality. Devote yourself to the practice of spiritual disciplines, such as hearing the word of Brahman, reasoning and meditating upon it. (2) Thus the mind will be freed from the evil of rajas. (Shankara in CJD, 62.)

(1) Devotion.
(2) Detachment.
(3) Discrimination.

If a person wishes to see in a supernatural way in the interior life, three things are necessary. The first of these is the light of God's grace in a higher way than that which can be experienced in a life of exterior works without fervent interior zeal. The second is the stripping of all strange images and solicitude from the heart, so that a person may be free and imageless, delivered from attachments and empty of all creatures. (1) The third thing ... is a free turning of the will and a gathering together of all bodily and spiritual powers in such a way that the will, unencumbered by any inordinate affection, might flow into the Unity of God and of the mind. (2) This allows the rational creature to attain the sublime Unity of God and to possess it in a supernatural way. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 71-2.)

(1) Detachment.
(2) Devotion.

By meditating on God in solitude the mind acquires knowledge, dispassion, and devotion. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 82.)

First of all dive deep. Plunge to the bottom and gather up the gems. Then you may do other things. But nobody wants to plunge. People are without spiritual discipline and prayer, without renunciation and dispassion. They learn a few words and immediately start to deliver lectures. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125-6.)

One may enter the world after attaining discrimination and dispassion. In the ocean of the world there are six alligators: lust, anger, and so forth. But you need not fear the alligators if you smear your body with turmeric. Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal. It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance, and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent. And you must cultivate intense zeal for God. You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him. ... Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 140.)

Further, one must practise discrimination and renunciation; one must be conscious of the unreality of the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 215.)

How will the mere repetition of 'Brahma' profit you if you are not imbued with discrimination and dispassion? It is the empty sound of a conch shell. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125.)

You may say, even though you dive deep you are still in danger of sharks and crocodiles, of lust and anger. But dive deep after rubbing your body with turmeric powder; then sharks and crocodiles will not come near you. The turmeric is discrimination and renunciation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 543.)

When you plunge in the water f the ocean, you may be attacked by alligators. But they won’t touch you if your body is smeared with turmeric. There are no doubt six alligators – lust, anger, avarice, and so on – within you, in the “heart’s fathomless depths.” But protect yourself with the turmeric of discrimination and renunciation, and they won’t touch you. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125.)

What can you achieve by mere lecturing and scholarship without discrimination and dispassion? ... First of all set up God in the shrine of the heart, and then deliver lectures as much as you like. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125.)

How will the mere repetition of 'Brahma' profit you if you are not imbued with discrimination and dispassion? It is the empty sound of a conch shell. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125.)

The gist of the whole thing is that one must develop passionate yearning for God (1) and practise discrimination and renunciation. (2) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 183.)

(1) Devotion.
(2) Detachment.

With the help of austerity, self-control, and intense aspiration, everyone can have a direct experience of God, the source of this world of becoming, and gain union with Him. (Swami Saradananda, SRGM, 6.)

Discriminate between the Unreal and the Real – What is discrimination? – See Jnana Yoga – What is discrimination?

Divine Emotion – Its impact on the body of the ordinary man

An ordinary man couldn’t have borne a quarter of that tremendous fervour; it would have burnt him up. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 14-15.)

Why is it that you are ill? There is a reason for it. Many spiritual feelings have passed through your body; therefore it has fallen ill. At the time an emotion is aroused, one understands very little about it. The blow that it delivers to your body is felt only after a long while. I have seen big steamers going by on the Ganges, at the time hardly noticing their passing. But, oh, my! What a terrific noise is heard after a while, when the waves splash against the banks! Perhaps a piece of the bank breaks loose and falls into the water.

An elephant entering a hut creates havoc within and ultimately shakes it down. The elephant of divine emotion enters the hut of this body and shatters it to pieces.

Do you know what actually happens? When a house is on fire, at first a few things inside burn. Then comes the great commotion. Just so, the fire of Knowledge at first destroys such enemies of spiritual of life as passion, anger, and so forth. Then comes the turn of ego. And lastly a violent commotion is seen in the physical frame. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to the dying Keshab Chandra Sen, in GSR, 322.)

In order to take full advantage of the dew, the gardener removes the soil from the Basra rose down to the very root. The plant thrives better on account of the moisture. Perhaps that is why you too are being shaken to the very root. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to the dying Keshab Chandra Sen, in GSR, 323.)

Divine Law - See The Mother - Natural Law

Division - See Non-Duality

Doctrine and Dogma

Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas or sects or churches or temples. They count for little compared with the essence of existence in each man, which is spirituality; and the more a man develops it, the more power he has for good. Earn that first, acquire that, and criticize no one; for all the doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words or names or sects, but that it means spiritual realization. (Swami Vivekananada in TLWG, xiv.)

Doubt and Cynicism – See also Faith

Doubts do not disappear without Self-realization. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 116.)

All doubts disappear when one realizes the Self. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 252.)

A man does not have to suffer any more if God, in His Grace, removes his doubts and reveals Himself to him. But this grace descends upon him only after he has prayed to God with intense yearning of heart and practised spiritual discipline. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 116.)

All doubts disappear when one sees God. It is one thing to hear of God, but quite a different thing to see Him. A man cannot have one hundred per cent conviction through mere hearing. But if he beholds God face to face, then he is wholly convinced. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 396.)

All doubts disappear after the realization of God. Then the devotee meets the favourable wind. He becomes free from worry. He is like the boatman who, when the favourable wind blows, unfurls the sail, holds the rudder lightly, and enjoys a smoke. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 311.)

Worthless people do not have any faith. They always doubt. But doubts do not disappear completely till one realizes the Self. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 252.)

Tell me your doubts. I shall explain everything. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 271.)

Those who come here will certainly have all their doubts removed. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 258.)

Find out who you are and there will be an end of all your doubts. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

There is no use removing doubts. If we clear one doubt another arises and there will be no end of doubts. All doubts will cease only when the doubter and his source have been found. Seek for the source of the doubter, and you find he is really non-existent. Doubter ceasing, doubts will cease. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 4.)

Know the doubter. If the doubter is held, the doubts will not arise. Here the doubter is transcendent. Again when the doubter ceases to exist, there will be no doubts arising. From where will they arise? All are jnanis, jivanmuktas. Only they are not aware of the fact. Doubts must be uprooted. This means that the doubter must be uprooted. Here the doubter is the mind. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, No. 41.)

That which is does not even say “I am.” For, does any doubt rise “I am not”? (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

Without yielding to the doubt "Is it possible, or not?" one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep "O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?"; one should completely renounce the thought "I am a sinner"; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO,16.)

Doubt is a terrible disease, and a doubting soul suffers very much. But it is hard to uproot doubt from the mind completely. Every spiritual seeker has to pass through this ‘dark night of the soul.’ (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 84.)

Doubt is chronically-energized uncertainty. Doubt is the “hold-basket” of life. Uncertainty relates to outcomes of events; doubt is what you add in considering outcomes. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute, Apr. 15, 1976.)

One way to get out of doubt is to choose. To choose is to select among alternatives freely and after consideration. Victim is helpless child; doubt is adult. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

These are the payoffs for doubt:

(1) Doubt maintains the illusion of endless opportunity. If you open new doors, you never close one.

P>(2) Doubt is image-management – looking busy, working on it. Doubt can be enjoying control, keeping them dangling, keeping everyone waiting, or keeping them on the hook. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

There is nothing more insidiously destructive to the attainment of liberation than self-doubt and cynicism. Doubt is a movement of the conditioned mind that always claims that "it's not possible ... freedom is not possible for me." Doubt always “knows”; it "knows" that nothing is possible. And in this “knowing,” doubt robs you of the possibility of anything truly new or transformative from happening. Furthermore, doubt is always accompanied by a pervasive cynicism that unconsciously puts a negative spin on whatever it touches. Cynicism is a world view which protects the ego from scrutiny by maintaining a negative stance in relationship to what it does not know, does not want to know, or cannot know. Many spiritual seekers have no idea how cynical and doubt-laden they actually are. It is this blindness and denial of the presence of doubt and cynicism that makes the birth of a profound trust impossible. A trust without which final liberation will always remain simply a dream. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Dream Instruction

If, while you're dreaming at night, you see the moon and stars in all their clarity, it means the workings of your mind are about to end. (Bodhhidharma in ZTB, 16.)

If you ever see me instructing you [in a dream], then know that it is Satchidananda Himself that does so. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 301.)

He who receives divine blessings in a dream is sure to attain liberation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 82.)

Drugs

You cannot make [effort] in sleep or under the influence of drugs. Also mukti has to be gained in full awareness, because the Reality itself is pure awareness. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 72.)

Dualities – Virtue and vice

There is no doubt that virtue and vice exist in the world; but God Himself is unattached to them. There may be good and bad smells in the air, but the air is not attached to them. The very nature of God’s creation is that good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, will always exist in the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 246-7.)

Duality - See Non-Duality

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