Monday, November 12, 2012

Feminism - 2.0 : By Marianne Williamson

Most modern women subscribe to the feminist movement. But what is the Feminist movement aimed at? Is it a effort to equip women with masculine qualities so that they can fight men for equality in the society? Or is it an effort to reawaken and nurture the light of the Sacred feminine that is the innate divine quality of a women. The following is one of the best articles I have read on Feminism. 


When I went to college in the 1970's, the Women's Liberation movement was all the buzz. Women's "consciousness raising groups" were growing up everywhere, as women shared with each other their secrets - and anger -- that they, their mothers and their great, great grandmothers had held tight to their chests for centuries.

Feminists of the time were right about some things, but wrong about others. On one hand, there's no underestimating the explosion of formerly unavailable choices that became ours at last as a consequence of the Women's Movement. Sisterhood truly meant something then; we realized that none of us would succeed in life unless all of us were allowed to. And it became unequivocally clear that women could think as well as men, work as well as men, and deserved the opportunity to do whatever it was that we wanted to do. It's almost hard to believe that that was still somewhat of a radical proposition only forty years ago, but it was.

As with any movement, however -- whether a person's individual journey or the collective journey of a culture -- there were sometimes two steps forward and one step back. While women were powerfully liberated both externally as well as internally by the feminism of the 1970's, we made some serious mistakes as well. Looking back on it now, it's clear that in some ways we denigrated the feminine in the name of feminism. Too often we took liberation to mean simply that we were free now to behave just like men. In the name of feminism, we denied some essential aspects of our authentic selves. While feminism should have been nothing if not a celebration of our own unique characteristics, we insisted that we had no unique characteristics... that gender differences were hogwash, and a feminine woman was nothing more than a plaything for men. Calling a woman "feminine" was practically an insult! Words like nurturing and maternal weren't viewed as feminine and therefore feminist; rather, they were viewed as weak. If men could be tough as nails in the corporate boardroom, then so could we. If men could have sex and not get emotionally involved, then so could we. If men could make business their bottom line and not factor in the welfare of children in formulating social and economic policy, then so could we. Yippee. We were liberated to become their clones. 

The last thing the world needed, of course, was twice as many paternalistic thinkers as there were before. But you live and you learn. In the last two or three decades, a great correction has been underway, as women of my generation have recognized the psychic scars left by our self-inflicted wounding of the feminine self. Too often, having become men, we then had a harder time with men. And having denied the importance (even the reality) of our feminine yearnings, we too often lay havoc to what is for many women a natural yearning of the heart, born of millions of years of evolution, to make a home and raise a family. Choosing to be a "traditional housewife" was seen as relatively unimportant at that time: so much less important, say, than having a real job. 

I looked at my own mother -- at her passionate devotion to husband, children, home and extended family -- and I thought I could improve on that! I would go out into the world, you see -- out where the important things were happening. It took me - as I think of took millions of other women, as well - a few decades to see how very wrong I was. 

In time, I came to understand that spiritual, mythical and archetypal forces are just as powerful and influential as are political, cultural and social ones. Indeed, we overemphasize either category at the expense of something precious that the other has to offer. And in a metaphysical sense - given that as Einstein said, "time and space are illusions of consciousness" - you come to realize that as far as a difference between being "out in the world" and "being at home" is concerned, there actually is no difference. The concept of "out there" or "in here" becomes pretty meaningless once you realize that everything out there is simply a reflection of one's consciousness. If anything, if we tended to the within better, there wouldn't be so many problems without: if we raised our children better and tended to our own psyches more effectively, then we wouldn't have so many political and social problems to begin with. 

I ultimately realized that my mother's very traditional role was far from meaningless. I now see that is a woman's God-given role to tend to the home and take care of the children: it's just that the entire planet is our home and every child on it is one of our children. Hell yes, women need to be out in the world if that's where we feel led to be, but not at the expense of our spiritual mission. Rather, we're in the world to fulfill that mission, by proclaiming that the world is our home and that we're responsible for all of its children.

And that would change the world.

Just as we wouldn't tolerate elements to enter our home that needlessly endanger our own children, so we shouldn't tolerate elements in the world that needlessly endanger anyone's children. Homemaker and motherhood are not just material conditions that belong to a few; they are states of consciousness that belong to any woman who assumes them. Women should be the keepers of the conscience of the world. We are keepers of the internal flame - the light of humanitarian values and the primacy of love - and our greatest power lies in keeping it lit.

Corporate profits should not be our economic bottom line; the safety and welfare of this planet, our collective habitat, should be our bottom line. On this, we should insist. For we are the homemakers of the world....
Money should not be our societal bottom line; the welfare of our children should be our bottom line. On this, we should insist. For we are the mothers of the world...

Any mother, should she see something dangerous in her home, would say, "No, not in this house! No way! Not here!" And as women of the world become the strong moral force that in our collective state we are capable of being, then when dangerous elements born of unrestrained greed and aggression enter the world, it is we who should lead the cry, "No, not on this planet! No way! Not here."

A common anthropological characteristic of every advanced mammalian species that survives and thrives is the fierce behavior of the adult female of the species when she senses a threat to her cubs. From the lioness to the tigress to the mama bear, any threat to her cubs is met with the fiercest response. The adult female hyenas even encircle their cubs while they're feeding, not letting the adult males get anywhere near the food until the babies have been fed. 

Imagine if we were to insist -- as with our collective political and financial power we could insist that the amelioration of unnecessary human suffering become society's new bottom line. From the 17,000 children on this planet who starve to death each day to the millions who lack a basic elementary education, from the relative complacency of the industrialized nations to the brutalization of women through the world to the billion souls among us living as best they can on less than $1.25 a day, it is the sleeping giant of a conscious and awakened womanhood that can provide the only sustainable solution: putting human civilization back on the track to probable survival by giving back to it its heart.

Women worked hard, and many at great personal sacrifice, to provide for the modern Western woman the extraordinary opportunities and powers that we now enjoy. While not all our battles for equality have been won, still enough of them have been won that our focus should not be solely on getting more power, but on how to use most effectively the power that we have. We have not only the right but also the moral responsibility to speak out loudly not only for our planet and our children, and for the millions of sisters around the world who cannot speak up for themselves. Not centuries ago but weeks ago, a fourteen year old girl in Bangladesh was raped, then caned as her "punishment," and then died of her wounds. Let us speak, and act, for her.

In honor of our foremothers, for the sake of our oppressed sisters around the world, and for the love of all of our children both born and not yet born, we should wake up now... kick ass now... and change this world before it is too late. For that kind of thing is woman's work. Twas always thus, and will always be....

Marianne Williamson

Friday, November 9, 2012

In a High state of Consciousness - An Experience : Part 2.

( Cont from Part 1 )

With this question in mind, I laid down on the couch and closed my eyes in preparation of the answer I knew, with certainty, I would receive. A faint amount of awareness of the body remained, but not enough to make it move. I became aware of a shapeless force, like a mist or very fine vapor entering all objects. Taking on their shape, it animated and brought life into all forms. Everything, people, plants and animals were lifeless before the mist entered. It was like seeing a hidden hand slip into a limp puppet, bringing it to life.

The mist could take any shape or form. It was pure intelligence. It was gentle. It was Love. It was Consciousness, and I was that consciousness.

How simple it all was. All I had to do was shift my focus. The body is just an empty shell, like the puppet. The body has no life until the Divine hand enters and gives it life.

As I lay contemplating and identified with consciousness, I experienced more joy than any earthly pleasure imaginable. I lost completely my sense of time and had no reason to move my body. After hearing my name repeatedly called, I made several attempts to move but failed until my husband came into the room. I managed finally to open my eyes and saw my husband's form but no longer as before. I was now aware of the mist that gave him life. The same mist that gave me and everything else life.

I went outside and looked at the birds and the sky as if seeing everything with new eyes, and for the first time. Now, I was seeing through the eyes of Love. The oaks and eucalyptus trees were like dear old friends. What indescribable beauty they possessed. I mentally embraced them, and they embraced me in return. There was no difference in any of us, only our forms.

I found it no longer necessary to practice any teachings as they had become my essence. If my children did something wrong, I did not identify them with the act and all correction was said without a tone of condemnation. I felt only pure infinite love towards them. It was not "my" love. Rather, it was the essence of the mist. I found that words sent by the power of a higher frequency, always hit their mark. Then, a correction was made by them without the usual resistance or protest. How true are Swami's words, "Change yourself and you change the world."

By keeping the attention on spirit, the senses become starved from lack of stimulation. It is hard to keep our attention on spirit as our senses enjoy stimulation. We spend most of our lives finding stimulants to feed the insatiable senses. Our body becomes the enjoyer, as we, in turn, become identified with the body. Our ignorance is in thinking that the senses give more pleasure than the spirit.

In that High state all previously conditioned thinking, opinions and judgements were absent. This allowed for Truth to be perceived and experienced

Throughout the few weeks that I was in this higher state of consciousness, I did not speak to anyone about it. Intellectually, I understood that sharing can only occur on a mental level. If there is no awareness, understanding cannot occur. Yet, the urge to share the joy was there.

When I described my condition to a dear friend, I felt a slow descent into humanness. It was almost as if a vacuum drew the mist out of my body and left me with a minimum amount needed to function. The bird had lost its wings, and now I had to walk. Perhaps I should have remembered the warning I had read in several spiritual books, to keep one's spiritual experiences sacred and secret.

On our next trip to India, I asked Swami about the experience, "Swami, what was that experience?" I knew there was no need to elaborate given His omniscience.
"A lot of grace," He replied, "A lot of grace."

If we want to experience God, Swami says, it is very easy. Swami explains that mind is both the cause of bondage and source of liberation.

Only many years later did I understand how I reached such an extraordinary state of consciousness and grace. I had unknowingly practiced what Swami calls "turning the switch to God." Our mind, "the switch," is always turned towards the world. All we have to do is turn the switch towards God.

( The above are extracts from Diana Baskin's book - Divine lessons. This is a wonderful book full of practical lessons that the author has learned in her 40 years of very close association with Swami. Highly recommended.)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In a High state of Consciousness - An Experience.

Once, following a trip to India, my longing to experience the impersonal, innate divinity in all life intensified. My continuous prayer to Him became, " Let me experience the Truth." In the midst of this prayer, I was led to the following words by Manly P. Hall:

" Find the Law! Seek for it in everything, everywhere always. Become aware of the operations of the universal causes in even the apparently trivial incidents."

When I read this, its immediate impact upon me was profound. I recognised these words as a Divine command of immediate import. From then on I kept this injunction in the forefront of my mind, meditating upon it incessantly.

In the weeks that followed, my life outwardly remained the same, but inwardly was transformed to the most gentle, sweet and balanced state of consciousness I had ever experienced. My body continued to perform all that was necessary, but my mind became a tool used by me only when needed. It was not senselessly directing me. Who was that "me"? It was not a personal self, but rather, the "me" was more an impersonal "it." The word consciousness now evoked a feeling of endearment as it took a new meaning.

At the beginning of this new awareness, my life became an exciting adventure, rich with meaning and purpose. I observed an unseen force guiding every event, every person. Each act, no matter how trivial, now had a reason, a teaching. I could see the Divine hand weaving the fabric of life and felt total trust in the finality. The magnitude of this awareness was overwhelming. Many times, I would marvel at the pattern of seeming coincidences and wanted to exclaim in Joy, " bravo, how ingenious!" Often I was filled with a sense of gratitude, not only for the lessons learned, but for the Divine Artist that lovingly painted the masterpiece. It was a gift presented with such delicate care and consideration. So subtle were the teachings, that if one blinked an eye, they might be missed.

With the passage of a few days, the thrill of the new discovery subsided. I became aware of other aspects and levels of the working of consciousness. My focus shifted from the initial awareness of its teachings and operation in my own affairs, to a sensitivity of the states of mind and feelings of others. The intentions of others became transparent. No matter what they demonstrated outwardly, their true inner condition could be known.  Yet there was no reaction. It was impossible to attach blame to even the most negative of emotions evinced by another. I clearly saw that it was their identification with the body and senses that caused such reactions. This wrong identification arose from ignorance.

Questions arose within. Why are we so ignorant? Why do we believe so strongly that we are our bodies and identify only with our senses? I asked myself these questions with intense concentration. A relapse into my former state of awareness was unbearable, almost a descent into predation, a dark void of unconsciousness. So I sought for the answers.

To be continued... 

The above are extracts from Diana Baskin's book - Divine lessons.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lord Krishna and Ustad Bismillah khan

(This narration is based on an interview of Ustad Bismillah Khan, reported by Dr.Madhu Vasudevan of Malayala Manorama daily)

Ustad Bismillah Khan, the Shahnai maestro, had a personal encounter with Sri Krishna. In spite of being a muslim, the legendary Ustad  had great respect for Sri Krishna, and that could have prompted the merciful Lord to appear in person .

Once, Ustad Bismillah Khan was traveling by train from Jamdshedpur to Varanasi. It was a coal run passenger train and Ustad was traveling in the third class compartment . From an intermediate rural railway station, a young cowherd boy boarded the bogey in which Ustad was sitting . He was a dark and lean boy; and he was holding a flute in his hands. Slowly the boy started playing his flute . The supreme quality of his music surprised the maestro Ustad who didn't even know the ‘Raga’ the boy was playing. Ustad Bismillah Khan immediately recognized that, the boy is none other than Sri Krishna, the Supreme God Himself. The nectarine Nada-Brahman (Brahman in the form of music) flowing out of Krishna’s flute filled Ustad’s heart with ecstasy; and tears of joy started poring out of his eyes.

After the stunning performance, Ustad called the boy near and presented him with a coin requesting him to play the song again. Krishna obliged. This repeated again an again until Bismiillah Khan’s wallet became empty. Young Krishna got down at the next railway station and disappeared.

In fact, Ustad was en route to participate in a music concert related to Kumbha mela (a Hindu religious gathering of millions of devotees). In that concert, Ustad presented the new ‘Raga’ (which he learned that day from Krishna). This melodious ‘raga’ was greatly appreciated by the audience who begged Ustad to sing it many times. The music scholars around couldn’t make out the name of the ‘Raga’ and they asked about it to Bismillah Khan. Ustad replied that the name of the Raga is ‘Kanhaira’.

Next day’s news papers contained headlines about the melodious new ‘Raga’ invented by Ustad Bismillah Khan. Having read it, Hariprasas Chaurasya, the legendary musician (Flautist), asked about ‘Kanhaira Raga’s' details from Bismillah Khan. Ustad revealed the truth and sang Kanhaira; and Hariprakash Chaurasya, the topmost Flautist in the word, burst into tears of joy.

‘Kanhaira’ is a divine gem in Indian music, as it originated from the lotus lips of Sri Krishna, the Stealer of Hearts!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blessings from Arunachala..

6 months ago i had no awareness of even the word Arunachala. But then so much information mysteriously came my way, including generous offers from near and far ones to help me go there and arrange accomodations for me. I then learnt that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had asked a few of His youths to make a pilgrimage to this sacred place and do Giripradakhshina. A few days later my friends at Devasunlimited ( Dr Srikant and Shivani Sola ) posted an note revealing interesting information about this very mountain. I could no longer ignore these obvious promptings from the inner Divine to learn more about and go to this sacred place. And when i began my research on what Arunachala was all about, this is what i learnt :

"Once Vishnu and Brahma fell to disputing which of them was the greater. Their quarrel brought chaos on earth, so the Devas approached Siva and besought him to settle the dispute. Siva thereupon manifested himself as a column of light from which a voice issued declaring that whoever could find its upper or lower end was the greater. Vishnu took the form of a boar and burrowed down into the earth to find the base, while Brahma took the form of a swan and soared upwards to seek its summit. Vishnu failed to reach the base of the column but “beginning to see within himself the Supreme Light which dwells in the hearts of all, he became lost in meditation, oblivious to his form and even unaware of himself, the one who sought”.  Brahma saw the flower of an alse plant falling through the air and, thinking to win by deception, returned with it and declared he had plucked it from the summit.

Vishnu admitted his failure and turned to the Lord in praise and prayer: “You are Self-knowledge. You are OM. You are the beginning and the middle and the end of everything. You are everything and illuminate everything.” He was pronounced great while Brahma was exposed and confessed his fault.

In this legend, Vishnu represents 
the intellect, and Brahma the mind while Siva is Atma, the spirit.

The story continues that, because the lingam or column of light was too dazzling to behold, Siva manifested himself instead as the Arunachala hill, declaring: 

“As the moon derives its light from the sun, so other holy places shall derive their sanctity from Arunachala. This is the only place where I have taken this form for the benefit of those who wish to worship me and obtain illumination. Arunachala is OM itself. I will appear on the summit of this hill every year at Kartigai in the form of a peace-giving beacon.” This refers not only to the sanctity of Arunachala itself but also to the pre-eminence of the doctrine of Advaita and the path of Self-enquiry of which Arunachala is the center. One can understand this meaning in Sri Bhagavan’s saying, “In the end everyone must come to Arunachala.”


Ramana Maharshi said that other holy places such as Kailas, Kasi and Chidambaram are sacred because they are the abodes of Lord Siva whereas Arunachala is Lord Siva himself.


"All stones in that place [Arunachala] are lingams. All trees are the wish-granting trees of Indra's heaven. Its rippling waters are the Ganges, flowing through our Lord's matted locks. The food eaten there is the ambrosia of the Gods. When men move about in that place it is the earth performing pradakshina around it. Words spoken there are holy scripture, and to fall asleep there is to be absorbed in samadhi, beyond the mind's delusion. Could there be any other place which is its equal?" -: Arunachala Puranam


"The supreme knowledge (Self-knowledge), the import of Vedanta, which cannot be attained without great difficulty, can easily be attained by anyone who sees the form of this hill from wherever it is visible or who even thinks of it by mind from afar." : Lord Siva in the Arunachala Mahatmyam


In the Golden Age (Sat Yuga), many rishis and saints who have hidden themselves away from the public eye will again become available. A few days ago the Devas showed us a vision of Arunachalam, the sacred hill in Tamil Nadu, south India which is famous for its ancient Shiva temple as well as the ashram of the venerable Sri Ramana Maharshi. Many, many siddha purushas (perfected beings) are ensconced away within the bosom of the sacred hill, silently doing their tapasya for hundreds and even thousands of years.

Some of these rishis, the Devas told us, come into the world only during each Sat Yuga. Others hid themselves away so as to be unaffected by the onslaught of Dwapara and Kali Yugas.

In the years to come, many of these rishis will awaken from their Samadhi and become available to us. Some will form new spiritual centers of learning. Others will go about quietly meeting and teaching those souls who are ready for advanced lessons. And still others will simply vibrate at a high rate of consciousness, silently blessing all those around.

We cannot go and interact with these rishis just yet, as the depth of their Samadhi does not permit communication with us. However, we can go near and attune our awareness to theirs, allowing us to benefit from their presence.

: Devas Unlimited


'Bhagavan, who scarcely ever gave advice to devotees unless asked, wholeheartedly encouraged their going round the hill as conducive to progress in sadhana,' : A book


The importance of pradakshina became evident to him 'from the frequent references by Bhagavan himself to its great significance, and from the fact that thousands of people do it, including almost all the close disciples of Bhagavan, even those who may be considered the most advanced among them.' 

Though comparatively little has been recorded of what Sri Bhagavan used to say about the power of pradakshina, there is no doubt that he considered it to be an act having great spiritual efficacy. In fact he used to say that the benefits which can be gained by meditation and various other forms of mind-control only after great struggle and effort, will be effortlessly gained by those who go round the hill. 
'Bhagavan often said that those unable to meditate would succeed in their endeavour by circumambulating Arunachala.'  


Sri Bhagavan said to Kunju Swami, 'This hill is the storehouse of all spiritual power. Going round It benefits you in all ways'.


To even think of Arunachala, let alone perform giri valam, one must have lots of good karma in his or her spiritual bank account, say the Siddhas.


What is the difference between Mt Kailash and Arunachala? How is it that the glories of Arunachala, the embodiment of Siva Himself is known only to a few in the south yet Mt Kailash, His abode attracts all attention?

Mji: Mt Kailash is like a junction of divine energies. One feels those and is uplifted by their intense presence. Arunachala is Supreme Stillness it self. One does not feel stillness. Stillness is Nothingness. Nothingness is everything.


The Maharshi encouraged all of his devotees to make the nine-mile circuit, even those who were infirm, knowing for certain that the spiritual benefits of giripradakshina far outweighed any physical hardships.

Arunachala Mahatmyam says:

"By seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation."

Through Divine grace i, along with my mother and a Sai sister was able to visit Tiruvanamalai and perform the Giri pradakshina last Thursday, 25th Oct. In my conversation with Dr Srikant before leaving, he had suggested that i go into an inner communion with the various Siddhas within the holy mountain and also with the Devi of the mountain, who i understand is its presiding diety. 

On Thursday morning as i woke at 4 for my meditation, i was surprised by the effortlessness with which i was able to still myself just thinking of the Arunachala. My mind didn't rebel, as if it ceased to exist. My attempts at connecting with God in various forms seemed unnecessary as the feeling of Oneness overwhelmed me. I could have continued, i think for hours but for the fact that we had to begin out Giripradakshina by 6 and so i got up. While doing the circumambulation of the sacred mountain an inspiration occurred to me to carry and spread the blessings of the mountain to fellow souls. 

During the journey, i found myself a large rock of the mountain and seated myself on it to be in contact with the mountain and while so in contact wrote the following : 

" Om Namah Shivaya

Beloved Shiva, my Supreme Atma Self, Dear Siddha's, Dear Devi, in contact with Thee i invoke Thy blessings - Bless that whosoever may read this, understanding the glory of this sacred Arunachala; may receive Thy grace of enlightenment and eternal freedom in the Self.

Om Guru
Om Sairam. "

Dear Reader, having read the above and if it be your sweet will - then keeping in mind the sacred promise given above that - "by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation" i suggest you to close your eyes for one minute and put all you mind, thoughts and heart on thinking of the Arunachala mountain that is nothing but the Supreme Shiva, your Supreme Self.

The sacred Arunachala

May all blessings be yours...

Samastha Loka sukhino bhavantu..
My mother, the Sacred Arunachala & i
Beautiful Peacocks amply found around there

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