Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kata Tjuta

Painting of The Olgas by the Australian Self-realised artist
John Henshaw

This painting is a depiction of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), a rock formation near Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Central Australia.
Kata Tjuta is a swyambhu (auspicious, sacred, Self-created formation, or Earth Chakra) and a sacred site to the Australian Aborigines. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has identified it as a manifestation of the maternal aspect of the Divine. Hence it is connected to the primordial maternal Kundalini energy. The Kundalini is also associated with the Rainbow Serpent of Aboriginal legend, and the rainbow colours in the painting depict this subtle aspect of the site. The Australian Outback landscape can seem drab compared to the lush environments of Europe or the tropics, but in certain lights one can perceive an amazing iridescence in the greys and ochres of these sacred rocks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Ego stops us from understanding where we stand and to know who we really are."
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
- Italy, 2008

Gold mask cosmetic treatment

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ayn Sof

All the great spiritual traditions of the world posit the existence of a single universal Self; though this is often overlooked, or even hidden.

In the mystical aspect of Judaism, there is the notion of the Ayn Sof (or Ein Sof), which literally means "without end" - limitless, inconceivable being. For centuries it was a hidden teaching that the Creator was actually a creation of Ayn Sof (this is similar to the Gnostic idea of the demiurge - a created creator). The Self is thus the creator of the being commonly conceived of as 'God'.

Many monotheists continue the same relationship with their one God that pagan polytheists had with their many gods, cajoling the deity to get what they want, then perhaps rejecting him if he doesn't deliver the goods. Ayn Sof, however, transcends even deity, and there is the idea that one can go beyond a dualistic, business relationship with It.

Fundamentalists and atheists alike are obsessed with the issue of the existence of God. Many sages have suggested that rather than questioning: "Does God exist?", it might be more fruitful to ask: "Who is the one who is asking the question?" All of the great teachers, from the Buddha to Lord Muhammad, have intimated that it is only by realising the Self that one may realise the nature of God.
Isaac the Blind was the medieval Jewish mystic who first used the term Ein Sof. Though he considered Ein Sof to be inaccessible to thought (like the Brahman of Indian Philosophy) he wrote that It may be approached by a mind free of thoughts. This stressing of the importance of mental stillness, making the mind like a cleaned mirror to perfectly reflect the Divine, is common to all the mystical traditions of the world.

Robert Fludd's view of the tree of the sephiroth (Jewish Mysticism)
from Utriusque cosmi historia, 1621.
The ten Sephiroth are emanations from Ayn Sof (the Self).
The tree is depicted growing downwards - this reflects the idea of the subtle body with its chakras, each looking after a different aspect of manifestation, having its roots in the Sahasrara at the crown of the head. The material world emerges from the spiritual realm. Western science assumes that selfhood and consciousness emerges from matter, Eastern philosophy often reverses this - the world emerges from the Self.

In India, the Creator, Lord Brahma, has only a handful of temples dedicated exclusively to Him, while the other two members of the Hindu trinity (Shri Vishnu and His various aspects, and Shri Shiva) have countless. The reason often given for this anomaly is that, in Hindu mythology, a curse was once laid on Him that He would not be worshipped. This myth is perhaps a metaphor for the Hindu idea of rejecting the created world in favour of the uncreated Self.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Prophecy. Engraving from a book by the English mage Robert Fludd

The experience of Self-realisation is suggested in Christian cultures as either a flame-like energy or a baptism with water at the crown of the head - the Sahasrara Chakra.
The term Self-realisation is the equivalent of Sanskrit Atmasakshatkar or Atmabodha.
Atma means the Self. Sakshatkar refers to the experience of knowing that one is truly that. Bodha refers to knowledge; not knowledge gained from reading books, but experience of the Self directly on the central nervous system, particularly at the crown of the head.
The word gnosis has a similar meaning: knowledge through direct experience - not intellectual belief - that one is the universal Self.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Novalis on the Universal Self

Robert Fludd, The Great Chain of Being

"We dream of travels throughout the universe:
is not the universe within us?
We do not know the depths of our spirit.
The mysterious path leads within.
In us, or nowhere, lies eternity with its worlds,
the past and the future."

"I was still blind, but twinkling stars did dance
Throughout my being's limitless expanse,
Nothing had yet drawn close,
only at distant stages I found myself,
a mere suggestion sensed in past and future ages."

"The first step is to look within,
the discriminating contemplation of the self.
He who remains at this point only half develops.
The second step must be a telling look without,
independent, sustained contemplation of the external world."

[the Self and Universe are one and the same.
Contemplation of world is contemplation of Self;
However, one must first realise the Self through inner contemplation ]

"There is but one temple in the Universe
and that is the Body of Man."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fragrance of the Self

Without a true teacher
man remains ignorant and lost

A lion cub became lost
and wandered into a shepherd’s flock.
He was adopted and raised by the shepherd.
He played and grazed with the sheep,
never realizing his true nature.

A lion came from the forest.
Seeing this fully grown sheep-lion,
he was amazed and outraged.
He caught him firmly and at once explained the truth.
When the sheep-lion saw what he had become,
he smiled.

The fragrance of musk
comes from the musk deer
but the foolish animal runs all through the forest
searching for the source of the fragrance.
If only he could look within,
he would find the fragrance within himself.

Says Kabir – My being is centered,
in between ‘above’ and ‘below’,
the splendorous experience is indescribable.
Listen, oh Aspirant!
Turn within and find your Self.

-Kabir. Contemporary of Ravidas (see earlier post)


Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
And there gaze on Infinite Beauty.
- Sant Kabir

The Garden of Flowers within refers to the Subtle Body with it's flower-like Chakras. The Lotus of a Thousand Petals is the Sahasrara Chakra at the crown of the head, where the yogi achieves Self-realisation. In meditation, this is the best place to put one's attention, as it is above the ego and superego (the mind).


Guru Ravidas (or Raidas) (1398? - 1448?) is believed to be a younger contemporary of Sant Kabir. His occupation involved dealing with leather - dead animal matter - which made him a so-called 'untouchable', yet today he is revered - as is Kabir - by Hindus as well as Muslims, and his poetry is included in the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

Here is one of his devotional poems:

When I existed,
You did not.
Now You exist
and I do not:

As a storm lifts waves from water -
still they are water
within water.

O Madho,
how can we describe this illusion?
What we believe in
does not exist.

A mighty king sleeps on his throne
and in his dream becomes a beggar.
Seeing his kingdom vanish before him
he greatly mourns -
such is our condition.

Like the tale of the serpent and the rope -
I know a little of the secret.
Seeing many bracelets
we think gold has many forms -
but it is always forever gold.

In all things exists the Lord,
assuming countless shapes;
in each pore He plays and sports.
Ravidas says: He is nearer than my hand.
All that comes to pass is by His will alone.

Enormous copy of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib