Notes from Babaji's classes in Portland

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Durga Puja Day: Teachings on the Divine Mother
Durga Puja 2008

Babaji presented 3 charts:
Waves in the Ocean of Mature Universalism
The Three Gunas of Nature
Prakasha Shakti, The Revealing Power

In true spiritual life one must be able to switch gears — from the Advaitic to the Tantric, from inward yoga to external karma. A car doesn't run smoothly if one fails to shift speeds accordingly. So, you should be able to step from Advaita, the nondual perspective that detaches from all name and form, to Tantric deification of form — without skipping a beat. And know that form can give way to formlessness — this also should be "substitutable." Sri Ramakrishna expressed his ideal of universalism using the analogy of cows out in the pasture. There, they all mix together in a friendly manner, but at night they each have their own stall. He therefore meant that His devotees should be able to live with those of all spiritual traditions. Still, you have your own stall. That means you have your own Ideal. But it doesn't mean you can't partake of the wisdom of other ideals. "Share the Road" as the signs say in Portland, Oregon. In true universalism, the Deities become interchangeable. There is the personal Deity, and then there is Its nondual or formless "counterpart" that is identical with those of all other deities: Shiva/Paramashiva; Vishnu/Mahavishnu; Shakti/Mahashakti, who is one with Brahman; who dances on Shiva. The Great Master stated, "If I hadn't searched for God in every religion, then I wouldn't have had any peace of mind."

[One of the niyamas of the Patanjala Yoga system, svadhyaya refers to study and recitation of the revealed scriptures. In combination with tapas (austerity) and Ishvarapranidhana (worship of God), svadhyaya comprises Kriya Yoga, an essential threefold spiritual practice for serious spiritual practitioners.]

When you study and then meditate, and do this repeatedly, this practice will cause transformation without you really noticing. Holy Mother likened this process to taking the train from Kolkata to Benares. If a person does this and falls asleep during the journey, he will not notice the scenery or distance traveled, yet, there he is now, in Benares. Or what about the breakfast we ate this morning? Now the food is digesting, but we aren't thinking about it or noticing it - yet, we are being nourished and energized. Svadhyaya works something like this. Just do it!

Ajativada and Aparinami - these are the two most important concepts for Westerners to learn. But they need to be learned properly and together. Ajativada means "no birth" and aparinami means "no transformation." You have to know that your child doesn't grow. There is no need for attachment. Aparinami is very key for us. If it is true that you must row, row, row, your boat because "life is but a dream," then "Dreamer Awake!" must also follow. As the Upanisads tell us: "Arise, Awake and stop not til the goal is reached!" and "Godspeed to you in crossing over the farther shore beyond all darkness." Arise and awake from this pictorial presentation dancing before the mind and senses connected to the unawakened mind.

The expression "Empty" in spiritual life means no vibration, no objects, as well as the truth that no thing has the ability to satisfy you.

If you commit yourself to the truth that "All is Brahman," then you have to take the step in thinking that there is no transformation.

Lokanath added, "Tantric Buddhism says that you cannot enter Absolute Reality; you cannot exit It either. This is dualistic thinking and it needs to collapse. To use Vivekananda's expression, "Coming and going is all pure nonsense...."

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Teachings on the Divine Mother

Babaji presented 3 charts:
21 Points of Mantra Practice
Four Phases of Mantra Practice
Fundamental Facts About the Mantra.

Ordinary mind says "This is mine," "I did this," etc. The Seer says, "This isn't mine, but it's come out of me." This is the important distinction. In other words, "This isn't mine; its mind."

Bhakti, devotion to God, is the grease for the gears. If the mechanic comes regularly and applies it, then the machine runs smoothly. But if he doesn't come, the machine seizes up and the whole thing breaks down. So the other three yogas — study, work, and worship — are best done on the backdrop of devotion to God.

Sacrifice is the first requisite in life. If something is sensible and rational, it comes out of sacrifice. And that is why the world at this time is so irrational — because there is no sacrifice being done — not of a conscious kind. No bhuta yajna, nara yajna, pitri yajna, rishi yajna, or deva yajna [no worship/sacrifice to lower beings, human beings, forebears, the great teachers, or to the gods and God (Ishvara)].

[Sri Ramakrishna used the example that if one adds up a hundred zeros it is still zero, nothing. But if a "1" is placed before those zeros, the number is huge. The zeros represent maya, the world of name and form in time and space, which is empty. The "1" means Brahman, the Ultimate Reality that gives existence to all.] Vedanta wants us to know the "1" before the "zeros," because this way we can skirt Maya. Tantra ultimately wants the formless, but it goes about it differently — via deification of form. People think that this makes Tantra dualistic. However, the seven qualifications of a Tantric adept include: daksha (intelligence), dvaitahina (that you must be a nondualist), and that Brahman must be your Ideal, path, and refuge. Does this sound like dualism?

The mantra is of key importance. When karma comes, when trouble comes, it isn't "I am Brahman" that helps us as much as the mantra. Knowledge of Brahman is going to help you only if you can transport yourself up to It. Most beings have to take this grand step over stages. So have this knowledge of Brahman working in your consciousness, and in the meantime follow dharma, the practices of spiritual life.

One must get the mantra from a Guru, not from a book. The Great Master said that there is plenty of rain forecast in the Farmer's Almanac, but you cannot get a drop by squeezing it. A book can tell you about wisdom, but cannot confer it upon you. For that one takes a guru.

The Kundalini is present in all the centers, all the time, but the mind is like a hot air balloon containing too many sand bags. As these are let go of, one's awareness opens up to the different chakras.

The gods, the cosmic forces, don't want you to be free. Just like society, which restricts you, there is a society of celestials, and they want you under their control — which is the control of nature. To get free you have to have a real love of freedom, a good dole of forbearance, and a practice that is long-suffering if necessary.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

(charts were presented, but not noted down)

There is an ocean of Wisdom before us. The greatest question ever asked by a student was, "Teach me that one thing by knowing which all else is known." Sri Ramakrishna echoed this when he stated, "To know many things is ignorance."

The very thing you are now renouncing to uncover the Self is later realized as a manifestation of that Self; it is a manifestation of the Word. You can destroy the clay cup, but you cannot destroy the thought, "clay cup." And thought merges in Om. The rishis declared:
Vedanta Siddhanta niruktir esho
Brahma'iva jivah, sakalam jagad cha
Akhanda-rupa-stithir eva moksho
Brahma'dvitiye shrutaya pramanam
"The final conclusion of the Vedanta is that Brahman is all: living beings, the universe, and time. Constant remembrance of this truth is what is called, enlightenment. Brahman is one without a second. The revealed scriptures are the valid proof and testimony."

The things of this world will never fulfill you unless you meditate on them as Om and connect them up to meaning, and then to Intelligence. You simply cannot realize the Infinite as the finite. You have to realize the Infinite in the finite.

Point 1: Coming and going, manifestation and nonmanifestation — these are not life and death. This is the earliest teaching by Krishna in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
Point 2: All coming and going is pure nonsense, as Swamiji says. The truth is aparinami, non-transformation. All change is apparent because Brahman, the Reality, is changeless.

The changing part is untrue; the unchanging part is what is true. Instead of only changing the ph balance of my body, I changed the ph balance of my mind — with true philosophy!

The cycles of life and death are what tantracists call dirgha svapna, the long dream. You've been action prone for so long that you've forgotten how to be inactive. Inaction has come to mean only sleep to us. Sri Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita: "He who sees action in inaction, and inaction in action, that one truly sees."

If you start on a path and then fall off, this sets up a bad habit. I want to help Westerners build samskaras — samskaras of perseverance, character, devotion, worship. We don't have much of these from our brief 200 years of American culture. I go to India and the Hindus have no problem with devotion and worship. Building samskaras has to start with perseverance. Your samskaras of perseverance will keep you in love of Brahman.

Kundalini doesn't get "woken up." How do you awaken Divine Mother? Do you wake Her up, or does She wake you up?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Babaji presented in this class the following charts:
The Two Forms and Eight Kinds of Meditation
The Nine Obstacles to Yoga

"Beings suffer via bondage to pleasure due to performing actions because of attraction and aversion to matters they have assumed to be accurate based upon unstable vrttis of the mind." - Lord Patanjali [Babaji's condensation of Patanjali's definition of suffering]

The first thing you should hear when you come out of the womb is, "You are not the body." The material cause of this body is the ovum and sperm. But the efficient (subtle) cause are the 24 Cosmic Principles of Prakrti, Nature, which includes the mind and its karmas and samskaras. The material cause happens inside Nature, and Nature occurs inside Maya. None of these are the Atman, the true Self of living beings.

They glibly say, "I'm all right, you're all right" — but nothing's right in Maya! They also say, "Don't worry, be happy" — but there's no happiness here either.

Ignorant persons criticize India's tendency towards renunciation and transcendence, citing callousness and escapism. Vedanta and Buddhism, both out of India, are transcendent philosophies. Is that a bad thing? Don't you want to transcend death and decay? Both philosophies say in their own way, "Realize the Truth and work It into your life." Does that sound escapist? Realizing the Truth means that you've finally learned to separate matter from Spirit. You now know that you are not fire, earth, water, senses, etc. The seer and an ordinary person can be eating, drinking, and making merry. It looks the same on the outside. But there's a big difference between enjoying while thinking the senses and objects are real, and enjoying all the while knowing they are unreal or empty. The knowledge of their unreal nature keeps one safe from karma, thus creates no bondage via attachment and aversion.

[The Gunas are a foundational teaching in Vedanta and refer to the three modes of nature: activity (rajas), balance (sattva), inertia (tamas). Their disequilibrium is the basis for the realms of name and form. All of manifestation, including the mind, is imbued with and affected by these qualities.]

The great thing about the teaching of the Gunas is that it takes you out of praise and blame. They aren't your fault. This takes away the tendency to feel worthless or prideful. You don't call the cycles of the mind moods anymore; you call them modes — the modes of nature (gunas). You witness these modes, and when rajas (restlessness) and tamas (lethargy) visit, you call on sattva (balance). So move from Mr. Thomas' (tamas) neighborhood to Mr. Roger's (rajas) neighborhood, then to Sattva.

Dharma megha samadhi brings forth a raincloud of virtues. It is truly a "mega samadhi."

We want to be centered in the Self, not self-centered.

People talk about lucid dreaming. Forget about that. What about lucid wakefulness?

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