Part Three of the Radio Series Exploring the Syriac Mystics of Eastern Christianity: In his spiritual classic, “The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life”, my guest Sebastian Brock has translated some well known Aramaic-Syriac writers including St. Ephraim of Syria, St. Isaac of Nineveh (who was born in Qatar), Evagrius of Pontus, John of Apamathea, but there are also several anonymous texts previously unpublished in English. I place, “The Syriac Fathers” next to the Nag Hammadi Library, The Jesus Sutras, and the Book of the Odes, as being one of the most interesting collections in the genre of Christian/Gnostic mysticism.
“Praise to You
for you are the Light,
and in you our souls have illumination.
You illumine all
with knowledge of Yourself
Draw back the veil of falsehood from our souls
so that we can see Your Light clearly,
for our minds are not totally dark
owing to love of You.”
— John of Apamea, Prayers of the Mystics, “The Syriac Fathers On Prayer And The Spiritual Life,” translated from the original Syriac-Aramaic by Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications
Visions of Primordial Light: “The Light of Christ is noetic Light, and blessed is the soul which is accounted worthy to see it.” (Saint Isaac the Syrian)
Meet the “great grandchildren” of Saint Thomas, Apostle of the East. No doubt this is one of the few programs on radio that has ever explored this little-known tradition of antiquity. Hear Aramaic chant along with readings from the Syriac Mystics of Eastern Christianity (Persian Gulf/Iraq/Syria, India) and another installment of my conversation with Syriac scholar Sebastian Brock of Oxford. We discuss another “Nag Hammadi-like”, “Philokalia-like”, “Dead Sea Scrolls-like” collection — an anthology of the sacred texts and wisdom of an ancient spiritual community of the Middle East/Near East with its own rich contemplative heritage of Gnosis and mysticism. We talk about Saint Isaac the Syrian, the Thomas tradition and writings, including the Gospel of Thomas, Acts of Thomas, and Manichaean Psalms of Thomas, the Jesus Sutras found in China, and various translations of Syriac mystical texts that have appeared in English.
“The rays of primordial Light that illumine purified souls with spiritual knowledge not only fill them with benediction and luminosity; they also, by means of the contemplation of the inner essences of created things, lead them up to the noetic heavens. The effects of the divine energy, however, do not stop here; they continue until through wisdom and through knowledge of indescribable things they unite purified souls with the One, bringing them out of a state of multiplicity into a state of oneness in Him.” (Philokalia)
“The one who possesses noetic Light has no need of visible light. Now the Light of the mind, they say, is the knowledge of the truth, whereby the soul can distinguish the truth from similitudes. The one who has found this, has found a Treasury of Life.” (Book of Grace, Saint Isaac the Syrian)
Create eyes in me, and so may I see with Your eyes,
for I cannot see with my own eyes.
May my mind travel inwards
towards the hiddenness of Your sacrifice,
just as You have travelled out into the open
and been cojoined to Your Mysteries.
At this moment
may I be totally forgetful of myself,
and remain utterly unmindful
of my own person.
May every bodily image
be wiped away from my mind’s Eye,
and may You alone
be depicted before the Eye of my mind.
And now, when Your Spirit descends from heaven
upon your Mysteries,
may I ascend in spirit from earth to heaven.
— Prayers of Joseph the Visionary, “The Syriac Fathers On Prayer And The Spiritual Life,” translated from the original Syriac-Aramaic by Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications
“Sebastian Brock (born 1938, London) is generally acknowledged as the foremost and most influential academic in the field of Syriac language today. He is a former Reader in Syriac Studies at the University of Oxford’s Oriental Institute and currently a Professorial Fellow at Wolfson College. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.” (Wikipedia)
He has translated Aramaic texts from these Syriac mystics who lived between the 4th and 8th centuries in Iraq/Syria. Their roots go back to Saint Thomas. His books include: The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life, The Wisdom of St. Isaac of Nineveh, A Garland of Hymns from the Early Church, and, The Luminous Eye. Discover the forgotten and unknown Aramaic-speaking Mystics and Saints of the Syriac East, the Church of the East.
The final installment of this amazing Gnostic Radio Series with Stephan Hoeller of Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles and the Gnosis.org website. Our conversation is about all things “Gnostic”, the lost spirituality of the West, Gnostic Gospels, Nag Hammadi Library, Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, lost books of the Bible, meditation practice, etc…
All for the love of wisdom and radio,
A conversation about the Gnostic Gospels, those scriptures discovered near the village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, including a collection of early sayings of Jesus known as the Gospel of Thomas, also discussion about vowel chant, and altered states achieved by Gnostic meditation practice.
Sant Mat Satsang Podcast, Part One (March 16th, 2014): “The Devotee Who Wishes Liberation Should First Practice the Nine-fold Devotion” — A Reading from the Brahm Nirupan of Kabir on nine stages of devotion (Bhakti) important to developing a spiritual way of life.
Sant Mat Satsang Podcast, Part Two (March 16th, 2014): “Why We Seek to See the Inner Light During Meditation”:
“Look within yourself with the inner eye. The whole expanse inside is replete with the refulgence of the Divine Light.” (Sant Dadu Dayal)
“Within thine own Self, behold the splendor of thy Beloved.” (Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras)
“And through the Light bindu-point (the tenth gate, third eye) the practitioner enters into the realm of Light. In that state the practitioner begins to experience awe-inspiring Lights of varying forms… Sometimes the practitioner may experience Light similar to that of a streaming ray of the sun reflecting colorful floating particles; or he may experience the radiance of a precious jewel. Or we may experience the Light similar to that of nine kinds of glowing gems… We may see the North Star rising in the morning, or the Light from a cluster of stars, which is called ‘the star mandala’. We may see the Light of the five elements, or the Light of moonlight…” (Swami Vyasanand, The Inward Journey of the Soul)
My radio guest is the Gnostic Bishop: Stephan Hoeller. Our conversation is about all things “Gnostic”, the lost spirituality of the West, Gnostic Gospels, lost books of the Bible, meditation practice, etc… Stephan Hoeller of Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles and the Gnosis.org website is “an author and scholar of Gnosticism and Jungian psychology, Hoeller is Regionary Bishop of Ecclesia Gnostica, and the senior holder of the English Gnostic transmission in America.” “He has continued to serve as bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica for over four decades.” “Stephan A. Hoeller (November 27, 1931) is an American author and scholar. He was born in Budapest, Hungary into a family of Austro-Hungarian nobility. Exiled from his native country as the result of the communist rule subsequent to World War II, he studied in various academic institutions in Austria, Belgium, and Italy. In 1952 he immigrated to the United States and has resided in Southern California ever since.” (Wikipedia) Books authored by Stephan Hoeller: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing; Jung and the Lost Gospels: The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead; The Fool’s Pilgrimage: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot; The Fall of Sophia: A Gnostic Text on the Redemption of Universal Consciousness by Violet MacDermot with a commentary by Stephan A. Hoeller; and, Freedom: Alchemy for a Voluntary Society.
PODCAST: Some Radio For Peace: Education For A More Peaceful Planet: The Ethical Foundation of the Masters of Inner Light and Sound — on peace and ahimsa (non-violence in thought, word, and deed) as practiced in Sant Mat as well as Jainism: Spiritual Awakening Radio Podcast. Click to Stream or Download via SoundCloud: https://SoundCloud.com/santmat/spiritualawakeningradio293
Spiritual Awakening Radio with James Bean explores the world of spirituality, comparative religion, world scriptures and other books, East and West, God, meditation, near death experiences, the vegan diet, and ahimsa ethics — education for a more peaceful planet.
Quote from Wikipedia about, “The China Study”, by T. Colin Campbell about the many benefits of adopting a vegan diet: “The China Study is a book by T. Colin Campbell, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. It was first published in the United States in January 2005 and had sold over one million copies as of October 2013, making it one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition. The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel. The authors conclude that people who eat a whole-food, plant-based/vegan diet—avoiding all animal products, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates — will escape, reduce or reverse the development of numerous diseases. They write that ‘eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.’” (Wikipedia) Also see this video lecture by T. Colin Campbell: https://www.Youtube.com/watch?v=LOEeTJY5zCM
As more and more people around the world are looking for an alternative way of living, the Vegetarian House hopes to offer a bridge to a noble plant based diet. The single most effective thing we as an individual can do to save the planet is eat an organic vegan diet. It can stop 80% of global warming, end world hunger, drastically reduce pollution, end deforestation, conserve water & energy and make ailments such as cancer and heart disease a rarity rather than a common occurrence.
During this radio satsang hear various musically accompanied readings from the mystic poetry or prose of various Masters and scriptures of India about Inner Light and Sound meditation practice — the inward journey of the soul to the heavens within, the inner regions, Kingdom of God within you. “According to Sant Mat, having crossed these realms or levels, we achieve the final goal called Mukti (i.e. salvation). To attain liberation, Sant Mat does not follow numerous complicated practices, but two essential methods: 1) Drishti Marg (i.e. the Path of Inner Light/Transcendental Seeing/Vision) and, 2) Shabd Marg (i.e. the Way of Inner Sound/Transcendental Hearing). Unlike other worship methods popular in religions and sects with different names, these two methods are not man-made. God himself is the founder and operator of these methods. Since the beginning God has kept these two methods inside human beings with full qualifications. The way of redemption of jivas (i.e. bounded souls) is available within all human beings.” (Baba Devi Sahab, Sant Mat Tradition of India)
There are some examples of visionary literature in the Dead Sea Scrolls, various descriptions of things going on in the heavens. The Mandaean texts seem to be a continuation of that visionary tradition of Light-mysticism and Ascension-mysticism. In my view the Mandaean scriptures probably represent the most heavenly or otherworldly documents of the west, brimming with out-of-this-world visions of God, descriptions of the heavens, souls, angels, and life after death. They speak directly to both the heart and soul of the reader through hymns and prayers of incredible beauty. The Nag Hammadi Library represents the prose of the Gnostics, but the Mandaean scriptures are the poetry. (James Bean, Spiritual Awakening Radio)
When has there ever been “only one” true Sant Mat guru or “one Gurumukh successor” “of the time” in Sant Mat history? The answer is: never has there been only “one” Sant Sat Guru at a time on planet earth, at least since before the days of Kabir, Nanak, and Dadu Dayal several centuries ago.
"It is not necessary that there should be only one Master in the whole world or even in a single country. There have been different Masters in different countries at the same time, and even in the same country. Thus Guru Nanak and Kabir were contemporaries, and so also Dadu and Guru Arjan. But their teaching is the same at all times and in every country." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
As part of my series on the history of mystics I contend that, in terms of Sant Mat history, there has never been a time during the last several centuries when there was “only one” Sant Satguru operating in the world. The reality is there have been multiple lineages of spiritual Masters contemporary with one another since at least the time of Kabir and Guru Nanak in the 14th century. My focus is the Sant Tradition of India, the Path of the Masters. I include musically accompanied readings from various poet-mystics and sacred texts from India.
One of the most mysterious passages recorded in the New Testament is: “’Teacher’, said John, ‘we saw a man driving out demons in your Name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’
“’Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘No one who does a miracle in my Name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.’” (Mark 9: 38+39)
One can wonder who this mystery person was and what unknown sect or faction of the Jesus Movement he belonged to, since the disciples had apparently never encountered him before. There is a passage somewhere in the New Testament which says, “I have sheep not of this fold”, also implying multiple groups or disciples — more than one community of devotees out there somewhere, in other words.
The initial reaction of the disciples is quite typical of human nature. Some things never change. Same as ever. I’ve seen people react this way many times: “…..We told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” It’s the “You’re Not One Of Us! Treatment” ……… again.
I was given a video tape once from someone in Oregon. They said it was from Kirpal Singh’s Sant Mat group. I watched this video, but none of the faces looked familiar to me. None of the names, buildings or the locations were recognizable either. It was like seeing a satsang in a parallel universe or meeting “cousins” you didn’t know you had. It turns out it was at a place called Kirpal Sagar (“Ocean of Kirpal”). Eventually I discovered that this was a gathering in India at a school associated with an initiate of Master Kirpal Singh who said he was instructed to look after this particular school and satsang center. It was a different branch of Ruhani Satsang that did not sign up with any living guru after the passing of Kirpal Singh in 1974.
According to Ruhani Satsang there were thirty six teachers that emerged after the passing of Kirpal who claimed to be his spiritual successor . Seriously. 36! Most of these teachers are not known to us in the Western world but have ashrams or satsangs in various parts of India.
With Sant Mat, and with most spiritual paths, East and West, there is an etiquette of focusing upon your teacher. Each satsang is associated with a certain guru. Only his photographs and those of his or her predecessors in the same lineage will be displayed at such gatherings.
Quite often in many groups there is an ethos that their teacher is the “one-and-only” competent living guru of the “present time”, that usually there is only “one” such teacher or true “gurumukh” spiritual successor at a time on planet earth. I think of this as being not so much a literal statement of fact but more of a “bhakti” or “devotional truth” for the satsangi. Having a spiritual Master is somewhat like marriage, as it should be. Spiritual promiscuity isn’t desirable. The non-committal “new age” mentality has never amounted to much, has never been a successful approach to enlightenment. As one teacher used to say, “Better to dig one deep well and strike water than to keep digging dozens of shallow holes in the ground getting nothing, seeking but never finding.” Your teacher is your “one-and-only”, so to speak.
In terms of Sant Mat history however, there has never been a time during the last several centuries when there was “only one” Sant Satguru operating in the world. The reality is there have been multiple lineages of spiritual Masters contemporary with one another since at least the time of Kabir and Guru Nanak in the 14th century. Both Guru Kabir and Guru Nanak were founding gurus who appointed successors. These are guru lineages now spanning many generations. Generally speaking, we have the various Sikh Gurus in one line, and the successors and devotees of Guru Kabir in another. Of course, it’s much more complicated than this, with the formation of many Nanak and Kabir Panths and sects over the centuries.
"It is not necessary that there should be only one Master in the whole world or even in a single country. There have been different Masters in different countries at the same time, and even in the same country. Thus Guru Nanak and Kabir were contemporaries, and so also Dadu and Guru Arjan. But their teaching is the same at all times and in every country." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
And there are many more lineages than those two general “Nanak” and “Kabir” categories. Quite a few famous and highly celebrated Sants of India were not initiated by a Sant Satguru affiliated with either a Nanak or Kabir related sect or parampara. For instance, in the Southern Sant tradition, Sant Tukarama of Maharashtra was initiated by Babaji Raghavachaitanya in 1619. Where did he come from?
At the same time the Tenth Sikh Guru (Gobind Singh) was alive was another Master, and this Master was the one who initiated Sant Paltu Sahib (1710-1780). Paltu became a well-known poet-mystic and Sant.
There was also Sant Dadu Dayal of Rajasthan. Dadu was initiated by a Master by the name of Buddhan in 1555. Dadu would eventually establish a satsang center and appoint successors to carry on, thus we have another multi-generational lineage of gurus that are based in Rajasthan.
And it does not end here. One could site scores and scores of similar examples of recognized Sants being initiated by gurus that in some case we know virtually nothing about.
Dariya Sahib, Saint of Bihar
Dariya was born in 1674 and passed in 1780. At the age of sixteen Dariya was initiated into Surat Shabd Yoga by a Sant Mat Master referred to as “Sat Saheb”. Dariya eventually became the successor of Sat Saheb, and a towering figure in Sant Mat history, authored around twenty books of hymns and discourses, and founded the Dariya Panth, a spiritual movement with a large number of ashrams, satsangs, and followers. Many of Dariya’s followers believe him to be the reincarnation of Kabir, very much in the tradition of the Anurag Sagar. Dariya appointed at least two spiritual successor gurus to carry on with the work of Sant Mat after his departure from the world. Their names were Guna Das and Teka Das. Eventually Guna Das died so Teka Das became the guru of the main sangat.
Tulsi Sahib, Saint of Hathras
Tulsi was born in 1763 and passed on in 1843. He would have been in his teens when Dariya Sahib was still alive — old enough to have received initiation from Dariya, in other words.
Early in his life Tulsi did extensive travelling around India. In the book, “Tulsi Sahib — Saint of Hathras”, it states: “Tulsi Sahib’s works include words and expressions of Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian ….. Marathi …. he has freely used words of Braj, Avadhi, Rajasthani (Marwari), Gujrati, Punjabi and Maithili, which leads one to conclude that, like many other Saints, he must have travelled widely in U.P., Rajasthan, Gujrat, Punjab and Bihar.”
What Sant Mat Master or spiritual path did Tulsi Sahib receive initiation from? This “pre-Tulsi Sahib Sant Mat path”, if you will, would have used a sacred text called the “Anurag Sagar” (Kabir’s Ocean of Love), since Tulsi Sahib did. One of their spiritual practices was the repetition (simran) of the Five Names (the Panch Naam mantra). ALL FIVE names were part of their mystical vocabulary. Having the understanding that “Sant Dharam Das is the primary spiritual successor of Kabir” is another central teaching. These are all hallmarks of this group, “the People of the Anurag Sagar”, as I like to call them, this “pre-Tulsi Sahib Sant Mat path”. They existed in India PRIOR to the time of Tulsi Sahib. Since these elements became part of Tulsi Sahib’s teaching — his Sant Mat — including the use of the Five Names — most likely he learned of them at the feet of his spiritual Master.
The Unknown Guru of Tulsi Sahib likely was Sant Dariya, a successor of Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar like Sant Tika Das, or a related Satguru connecting somewhere along the way back to Sant Dharam Das and the Dharamdasi branch of Kabir Panth. In any case, the only contemporary spiritual Master Tulsi Sahib named in his writings is Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar, which for me is a very significant clue.
I can also share that I’ve found proof from multiple sources that the Panch Naam mantra, “the Five Names” as we call them, were used by a Dharamdasi sect prior to the time of Tulsi Sahib. Since these are secret names, I will respect this Indian tradition of not revealing sacred names and not include that information here.
Tulsi Sahib eventually established a satsang in Hathras, where he initiated souls into Surat Shabd Yoga meditation. And his mission was contemporary with Sant Tika Das’s mission in Bihar, providing us with yet another example of two recognized Sant Satgurus operating in the world at the same time. At present, there are still Masters in the lineage of Tulsi Sahib leading satsangs and initiating souls in Hathras, Bihar and other locations around India and Nepal. The same might be true in the Dariya Sahib branch of Sant Mat. Tika Das appointed guru successors. That lineage may still be with us even now. According to Domain Singh, webmaster of the Dariya Sahib Website, there are “two hundred Saints” presiding over various ashram centers in the Dariya sangat at present. It is my prayer that he is correct about this, as the world needs as many enlightened souls as possible.
From the book, Dariya Sahib — Saint of Bihar, we read: “It was also made clear by Dariya Sahib that these successors would have the right to appoint their own successors and that is how the order would continue. On being asked by Fakkar Das, his brother, how long this order would continue Dariya Sahib replied that as long as the practice of the Sound Current remained central to the discipline, and the order kept pure and free from external rituals and formalism, the line would continue. When the practice of the Sound Current is mingled with outer appearances (bhekh) and external rituals, the Sound Current (Shabd) will part company. Then the power transmitted by me, said Dariya, will leave, and the souls will go into the mouth of Kal. At that stage, he would come to this world and start a line of the Sound Current once again. This is how, he said, he had been coming for aeons.
“Thus, having explained everything and all aspects of the saintly mission, and having fulfilled the purpose of his life, he passed on his responsibilities to his successors and departed from this world in ….. 1780.”
One devotee of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib was Shiv Dayal Singh of Agra. Tulsi was the guru of Shiv Dayal’s family. After the death of Tulsi Sahib, Shiv Dayal Singh along with several others became gurus, in and outside of, the sangat of Tulsi Sahib: Baba Devi Sahab, Sur-swami, Radha-swami, Girdhari Das, and Ramkrishna. One branch of the Tulsi Sahibi group refers to Shiv Dayal Singh as “Sant Radhaswami Sahib.”
Of course, I have only written very briefly above about a few of the “Northern Sant” lineages. At the same time as there were Northern Sant lineages of gurus, contemporary with those are many more operating to the south in India, the so-called “Southern Sants” of Maharashtra. Typically, the Northern Sants are slightly closer to Sufism and further away from the Vaishnava tradition. The Southern Sants however seem closer to the Gita, Krishna and Vaishnava.
Tulsi Sahib was of the opinion that Sant Mat dates back to the time of Krishna thousands of years ago, and that Krishna knew of Sants back then during the time of the composition of the Bhagavad Gita.
When has there ever been “only one” Sant Mat guru or “one Gurumukh successor” “of the time” in Sant Mat history? The answer is: never has there been only “one” Sant Sat Guru at a time, at least since before the days of Kabir, Nanak, and Dadu Dayal several centuries ago.
Paraphrasing Guru Nanak’s Jap Ji:
Countless are the gurus,
Countless the gaddis,
Countless are the Sants,
Countless are the Mats,
Countless the satsangs,
Countless are the satsangis.
Of course these groups are not all the same. One size or description does not fit all. Not being aware of the existence of an obscure Sant Mat path doesn’t make it “false” or “of Kal”, anymore than being intimately familiar with, or attached to, a spiritual path necessarily makes it “true”.
There are several stages groups might pass through during their history here in this Ocean of Samsara, the world of illusion and change. Some may be legitimate and in the “alive” category, with both guru and disciple having inner experiences or a rich contemplative life. Inner regions are experienced during meditation. For them, mysticism is not reduced to theory, confined to books or legends.
There are groups that have lost their living guru fairly recently and he appoints no successor, thus no new people get initiated in those groups. The Light grows dim as the remaining devotees pass from the scene.
A few larger organizations may be on their way to becoming new world religions or institutions.
There are groups where nobody has inner experiences, period, no inner Light, no mystic Sound, no water in the well, only dusty “cups” used to quench the thirst of others who lived decades or centuries earlier.
Some became, or are gradually becoming, mainstream religions administered by a house of justice or council, looking to past Masters or holy books for inspiration, with lots of buildings, temples and holy relics.
There’s always a few unethical teachers around making the headlines, manipulating people, adhering to a cultic approach.
Some troll for disciples in the West and are fast becoming more astral with each passing day, as the ranks swell with a growing new age population. We may ask, who is converting whom?
There are sadhus with some degree of attainment that have helped the souls that have crossed their path — nothing wrong with that.
There have been nice-guy-gurus without much spiritual attainment but nevertheless seem harmless and have helped to make the world a better place by spreading some of the teachings and ethical principals of the Masters to larger audiences.
In other words, with such a long list of newer and older paths will be found sant panths representing many different states of consciousness and stages of development, vibrancy or decline, crisis and renewal.
Thankfully, there have been many honest, loving, radiant, Godly beings that have graced this planet with their enlightened compassion. They work with those who seek the path of the Masters and successfully practice Surat Shabd Yoga in a way that is almost identical to the Ideal spiritual path described by Swami Ji of Agra, Tulsi Sahib of Hathras, and Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar,with a rich mystical approach to meditation practice, travelling quite far along in their journey back to God. For them these teachings of Sant Satgurus are not merely “group think” or “myth” or “belief” or about a “hypothesized” Higher Self sadly never realized. They have very real experiences commencing with meditation practice. It’s not so hard really. “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” (Maharaj Woody Allen Ji) The Divine Light and Sound are within everyone. With the proper guidance, positive influence (satsang), and correct meditation practice, those meant to find the path during this life will see, will hear, and explore the Inner Regions, the Kingdom of the Heavens within.
“Another common misconception is that prophets, saints and mystics search for ‘new’ truth. Rather, what they do is to simply remove the layers of dirt — of accumulated misinterpretations — that have corrupted the truth. Then the living teacher will bring forth the very same truth in a new light. The original truth must repeatedly be presented to suit the current age.” (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, Harmony Of All Religions)
There is no single, permanent ancient ‘Institution’ or ‘University of Mysticism’, but a decline-renewal process, a continuous pattern of Masters leaving older groups, movements, ashrams or real estate, and emerging in new locations to begin again, to reboot, to reset, to renew the mystic-path on Planet Earth, to keep the torch of spirituality burning bright for another generation or two.
The art of listening in the silence of meditation provides us with countless opportunities to see clearly without the usual day-to-day distractions, perceiving the events of our life from a higher vantage-point.
PODCAST: Frances Worthington, author of, “Abraham — One God, Three Wives, Five Religions” (Bahai Publishing). The five religions we discuss are: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Babism, and the Bahai Faith. Listen for free anytime, 24/7.
"Abraham: One God, Three Wives, Five Religions ‘brings a fresh and lively interfaith perspective to the four-thousand-year-old story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Keturah and their eight children. Follow the adventure from the lush marshes of Mesopotamia to the cleverly designed beehive houses of Turkey to the dry hills of the Land of Canaan. Ponder the mystical fire into which Nimrod threw Abraham, the spiritual nature of the water discovered by Hagar in Arabia, and how Keturah was connected to Moses’ first wife. Trace the line of Abraham down through the centuries, all the way to His current descendants.’
"Frances Worthington is a graduate of Duke University who was an award-winning garden columnist/photographer before she began concentrating on writing about religion. She has been active in interfaith activities for several decades and served three terms as chair of the Interfaith Forum in Greenville, South Carolina. Her passion for encouraging appreciative interfaith dialogue was the driving force behind this book, which draws from the sacred scriptures of five religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, the Babi Faith and the Baha’i Faith — to tell the fascinating story of Abraham, His wives, and His numerous offspring." (website: Bahai.us)
My guest is Art Hochberg of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, a Sufi group based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Today we explore the teachings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Sufi Mystic from Sri Lanka. Coleman Barks, famous translator of Rumi poetry, was a follower of Muhaiyaddeen.
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, the Man in the Dream
"Coleman Barks, a poet and translator into English of the works of the 13th-century Sufi poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi, has described how he met Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in a dream on May 2, 1977. As a result of that meeting, he began to translate the poems of Rumi. Coleman finally met Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in person in September, 1978 and continued to have dreams where he would receive teachings. In Coleman’s estimation, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen is on the same level of enlightenment as Rumi and Shams Tabrizi, the companion of Rumi." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bawa_Muhaiyaddeen
"In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate: The first thing we must do is to accept the fact that God is always with us. He stays with us, even if everybody else leaves us. He is the One who will never turn aside. He will always share our sorrows and joys. God is within us and we are within God. Have trust in Him, have faith in Him, and let His truth be in you. Whatever disease may come, whatever sufferings and sorrows may afflict us, we must surrender all of them to God. To surrender to God and live in that state until the last day of our lives will be our exaltedness." (M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Questions of Life Answers of Wisdom Vol. 1)
PODCAST: Coleman Barks Interview (Rumi Poetry and an Exploration of Sufi Mysticism, Part 5) — Spiritual Awakening Radio — Click the Play Button to Listen
My guest is best-selling author and Rumi poetry translator Coleman Barks. “Barks, a poet and professor emeritus at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, has gained world renown for his translations of Near Eastern poets, especially Jalal al-Din Rumi. He is also an accomplished poet, whose interest in Near Eastern mysticism infuses his observations of southern landscape and life. Barks has published several collections of his own poetry and numerous poetry translations, and his work has appeared in a wide array of anthologies, textbooks, and journals, including the Ann Arbor Review, Chattahoochee Review, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Plainsong, Rolling Stone, and Southern Poetry Review. He was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2009.
Barks is internationally known for his translations of Islamic poetry. In 1976 the poet Robert Bly showed him some academic translations of Jalal al-Din Rumi, a thirteenth-century Islamic poet. Following Bly’s suggestion that “these poems need to be released from their cages,” Barks began translating the thousands of poems by Rumi. He has published numerous volumes of Rumi translations, including The Essential Rumi (1995), in collaboration with other translators. He has been interviewed by Bill Moyers as part of two Public Broadcasting Service television series on poetry, The Language of Life and Fooling with Words, and his translations of Rumi appear in the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. The Essential Rumi has even appeared on nonfiction best-seller lists around the United States.
“In rendering 700-year-old poems for today’s readers, Barks claims “to make what I am given—which is literal, scholarly transcriptions of poems—into what I hope are valid poems in American English.” Persian poetry is highly structured, and Barks feels that reproducing the same sound patterns found in its rhyming syllables would produce a trivial effect in English. Instead, he has attempted “to connect these poems with a strong American line of free-verse spiritual poetry,” such as that of Theodore Roethke, Gary Snyder, Walt Whitman, and James Wright.
“Rumi’s poetry can be seen as having influenced Barks’s own work. Rumi’s work often puts religious concerns into concrete images, for this mystic poet often uses fables, compares earthly love to sacred love, and puts the daily concerns of living in the context of spiritual challenges.” (New Georgia Encyclopedia)
PODCAST: Rumi Poetry and an Exploration of Sufi Mysticism, Part 4 — Spiritual Awakening Radio — Click the Play Button to Listen
On today’s edition of Spiritual Awakening Radio, another installment in the Rumi Radio/Sufi Series featuring quotes from Rumi, Hazrat Sultan BaHU, and other Poet-Mystics of the East.
What is Sufi Gnosis All About? What is the Secret of Rumi’s Spirituality? Why Are People So Drawn to the Radiance Behind Rumi’s Poems?
Within our grasp is the ability to regain the Vision of our soul and the Communion with our Beloved Allah; both reside together in the mystical garden, the paradise of the spiritual world. Though the material sphere acts as a dense layer of overcast skies obscuring our vision of what lies beyond, Masters have revealed the Secrets of obtaining paradise to anyone who yearns to discover them saying to their students very much like Rumi did, “This is in your power my friend!”
The process of gaining a vision of paradise and mystic transport has been described as “stripping off old garments” and replacing them with a new heavenly robe made of Light. In his Persian Sufi classic, Divine Flashes, Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi describes the process.
"When the Beloved would exalt the lover, He strips from him the garments collected from all the worlds, and clothes him in the robe of His own attributes. Then the Beloved calls him by all his own attributes. Then the Beloved calls him by all his own names, and seats him in his own place. When the lover studies his new clothes he finds himself arrayed in different colors, and will wonder ‘what is this beautiful tint, this garment so unique?’"
This quote from Divine Flashes reminds me of Saying 37 in the Gospel of Thomas, one of the earliest collections of the sayings of Jesus.
His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?" Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you will take your cloths and put them under your feet like little children and trample them, then you will see the Son of the Living One and you will not be afraid." (The Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller, Polebridge Press)
Sufism is a form of Islamic Gnosticism which really does have many affinities with earlier Gnostic mystical traditions of the middle east. Like other movements of the past that embrace spiritual experience and mystic transport through the Seven Heavens, Sufis have found it useful to compare out-of-body or ascension journeys to the stripping or shedding of garments. The above quote illustrates their view that each soul on the earth-plane is wearing several garments. We are souls wearing subtle bodies or coverings; our physical body is made out of the material substance of the physical universe. We are, as the late Dr. Carl Sagan put it, “star stuff pondering star stuff.” Our bodies are made out of atoms that once came from stars and other objects in the cosmos. When we enter into contemplation and mystical states, our awareness is elsewhere; we become “dead to the world,” have risen above body-consciousness.
In that sense, we have, for the duration of our meditation period, “stripped” ourselves of the garment of the body for the purpose of exploring other levels of our existence. The mystic traveler enters into what has been called “the fourth state of consciousness.” In addition to the waking state, the dream state, the unconsciousness state of deep sleep, the truly holistic explorer can also integrate into his or her experience the spiritual worlds.
Mysticism teaches that there are many layers of reality, that there are other garments that will eventually be shed during journeys of ascension. These garments or subtle bodies have been given names in Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Hindi, and other languages. In addition to the “garment” of the physical body, each soul is wearing several other garments or bodies, other sheaths that surround the soul, allowing the soul to connect to the various regions of creation. Counting the physical plane as Level One, Level Two is called by many “the astral plane,” made of astral stuff — astral substance, existing at a slightly higher vibration in the astral region. Level Three is the causal body, made of causal or akashic substance, inhabiting the causal plane. Level Four is the mental body made of mind substance, and is part of the mental plane. The etheric body (Level Five) allows the soul to access that region. Above these worlds of mind and matter, the soul resides in the Timeless Spiritual Realm of Truth (Haq).
Metaphysically speaking, we’re already in heaven, we just don’t know it! ‘Iraqi says:
"By day I praised you but never knew it; by night slept with you without realizing; fancying myself to be myself; but no, I was you and never knew it!"
PODCAST: Rumi Poetry and an Exploration of Sufi Mysticism, Part 3 — Spiritual Awakening Radio — Click the Play Button to Listen
True Spiritual Masters Feed Your Soul
Luckily for us slumbering souls, there are always a few Moses-types in the world freeing those yearning for a real promised land, the Spiritual Realm, an occasional Rumi or Shams, here or there, sharing their Secrets about the soul. Says Rumi: "Feed your heart in conversation with someone harmonious with it; seek spiritual advancement from one who is advanced. Whoever wants to sit with God, let him sit in the presence of the Saints."
Gnostic Rumi’s Ascension — I Died as a Mineral
Rumi says, ”Human beings come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific, to the person.”
"I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? 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, “I Died as a Mineral”, as translated in The Mystics of Islam, 1914, edited by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson, p. 125)
"Originally, you were clay. From being mineral, you became vegetable. From vegetable, you became animal, and from animal, man. During these periods man did not know where he was going, but he was being taken on a long journey nonetheless. And you have to go through a hundred different worlds yet.”
(Rumi, alternate version, as quoted in Multimind, 1986, by Robert Ornstein)
The Abode of the Beloved
Says Rumi: "With every breath the Sound of Love surrounds us, and we are bound for the depths of space, without distraction. Out beyond duality, we have a Home, and it is Majesty. That pure substance is different from this dusty world. We once came down; soon we’ll return.”
Rumi says: “Bring the sky beneath your feet and listen to Celestial Music everywhere.”
Rumi: “I came to this Earth so that I could find my way back to my Beloved.”
PODCAST: Rumi Poetry and an Exploration of Sufi Mysticism — Rumi Radio! Sufi Poetry Series, Part 2 — a Spiritual Awakening Radio — Click the Play Button to Listen
I know a thousand “Rumis” the world needs to hear, to be soothed by the Voice of the Soul that speaks through them all. Hafiz, Shams of Tabriz, Sarmad, Kabir, Rabia, Mira Bai, Daya Bai, Sahjo Bai, Tukaram, Hazrat Sultan Bahu, Baba Farid, Guru Nanak, Dariya Sahib, Tulsi Sahib, Surdas, Namdev, Ravidas, Paltu, Sant Radhaswami Sahib, Maharshi Mehi, and many more besides, up to the living present — countless are lovers of the Beloved.
PODCAST: RUMI Radio! Sufi Poetry Series, Part 1 — Spiritual Awakening Radio — Click the Play Button to Listen
The mystical utterances of Rumi and other great Sufi Masters speak directly to the heart. They encourage us to see the hidden Light, to discover Divine Secrets, to perceive the Way that lovers can find their Beloved. The Sufis, through their poems and ecstatic revelations are attempting to share their Secrets with the world, or at least with those discerning souls who find their words to be not only nice poetry, but something much more — soul-expressions coming from lovers caught up in the divine bliss of a Higher Reality.
The great Sufi mystic Rumi once said, “If you are seeking, seek us with joy, for we live in the kingdom of joy. Do not give your heart to anything else but to the love of those who are clear joy, do not stray into the neighborhood of despair. For there are hopes: they are real, they exist — do not go in the direction of darkness — I tell you: SUNS EXIST!!!”
PODCAST: Mystic Poetry of Darshan Singh: Love’s Last Madness, Part 2: Impressions of Sawan
In addition to poetry readings, I took this rare opportunity to ask Harbans Singh Bedi, an initiate and elder disciple of Huzur Baba Sawan Singh, to share with us what his impressions of Sawan are — to ‘see through his eyes’ to some degree and gain a sense of what it was like to be in the same room as Sawan Singh, the great Saint of Beas, when Sawan was presiding over the satsang back in the 1940’s.
I also asked him about the Gurmat Siddhant (Philosophy of the Masters) project to create some books featuring Sant Mat teachings along with quotes from the world scriptures and mystics. Mr. Bedi said that passages from Sufi poets is what Darshan Singh contributed to these publications, which are still in print under the name “Philosophy of the Masters”, a several volume set.
More with my guests Barry Lerner and Harbans Singh Bedi, translators of, “Love’s Last Madness, Poems on a Spiritual Path”, published by Holm Press, a collection of 86 poems in the Sufi tradition selected from Darshan Singh’s Urdu magnum opus Mataa’-e Noor (“Treasure House of Light”).
"Darshan Singh conveys the nuances of divine romance with such variety, command and sensitivity that it is apparent his poetic muse springs from direct mystical experience, not mere literary imagination. His artistic genius enables him, like Rumi of old, to impart the timeless, haunting fragrance of the inner spiritual realms while retaining its heart-warming humanity and contemporary relevance." — Eliot Jay Rosen, author of the Los Angeles Times best-selling book, Experiencing the Soul — Before Birth, During Life, After Death.
PODCAST: Mystic Poetry of Darshan Singh: Love’s Last Madness, Part 1
My guests are Barry Lerner and Harbans Singh Bedi, translators of, “Love’s Last Madness, Poems on a Spiritual Path”, published by Holm Press, a collection of 86 poems in the Sufi tradition selected from Darshan Singh’s Urdu magnum opus Mataa’-e Noor (“Treasure House of Light”), which sings of the torments and ecstasies the lover of God experiences on the journey to Divine realization.
"Sant Darshan Singh represents the best in the historic interaction of mysticism with Indo-Persian aesthetics. In the tradition of the greatest Sufi masters and poets, his passionate love takes him to the realm where the Divine Reality is no longer a distant transcendence. Those who love Rumi and Hafiz will love Darshan Singh, whose sublime spirit shines through these faithful yet poetic translations." — Dr. Mumtaz Ahmad, Editor, Studies in Contemporary Islam, and Professor of Political Science, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia.
My guest is Brian D. Lepard, author of, HOPE For A Global Ethic (Bahai Publishing). Brian is Alumni Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law, where he teaches international human rights law, and other classes. He is a member of the Baha’i Faith and worked for three years as a human rights specialist at the United Nations — Program Length: 60 Minutes.
PODCAST: Not Being Prisoners Of Our Own Habitual Thinking
Some Thoughts About Thought: a Satsang Edition with musically accompanied (sitar, flute, tablas) readings from many writings and scriptures: Rumi, Upanishads, Buddha, Guru Nanak/Adi Granth/Sikh Scriptures, Guru Kabir, Namdev, Dadu Dayal, Kirpal Singh (Man, Know Thyself), Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj (Harmony Of All Religions) — exploring the Path of the Masters, focusing on meditation practice about transcending mind and matter, finding our true identity as soul.
During the first segment of the program: Reducing Karma Through Meditation: Karma has been classified by Saints into three distinct categories: Sanchit, Pralabdha, and Kriyaman. Accumulated thoughts of living beings cause births and deaths for them again and again: “With our thoughts we make the world.” (Buddha) The moment a desire to attain something or the other, arises in the mind, that very moment, man is thrown into an ocean of thoughts. These very thoughts become the basis of resolutions and options which cause one to enter into different forms after death. Whatever the nature of thought at the time of death determines the next form or birth for that soul.
"All the doubts and desires should be made to merge with the Shabd or Word [the Divine Current of Light and Sound], to get rid of horrible consequences of innumerable births and transmigration. Except for the desire to recite Naam, no other desire should take hold of the mind… By remembering the Lord, one attains God-realization and when this stage is reached, then there is no need to resort to any other means of attaining moksha." (The Second Master, The Shri Paramhans Advait Mat Granth)
During the second segment of the program: Mystic Poems of Tukarama and Tulsi Sahib of Hathras.
During the third segment: Q and A with the Master: Guru Nanak’s Dialogue with the Siddha Yogis, and Mystic Poems of Hazrat Sultan Bahu.
And during the fourth segment: An Ode to Living Teachers: Books falling from the sky did not create the world religions. Before there was “The Book”, there was the author of “The Book.”
Without living Teachers there would be no Torah, no Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, no Sermon on the Mount, no Golden Rule or Gospel of Thomas, no Suras of the Quran, no ahimsa message of Lord Maharvira in Jainism, no sages to compose the Upanishads, no Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita, no Jap Ji of Guru Nanak, no Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, no Golden Verses of Pythagoras. If there was no Master Shams of Tabriz, there would have been no disciple by the name of Rumi. If there was no Swami Ji Maharaj, no Tukaram, no Tulsi Sahib, no Dadu, no Ravidas, no Mirabai, no Maharishi Mehi, no Sawan Singh, no Guru Kabir, no Sant Dariya Sahib, no living Masters, there would be no Sant Mat no students, no initiates, no satsangs to attend, no school of spirituality, no clear and organized system of inner Light and Sound Meditation called Surat Shabd Yoga to be initiated into, nobody to give the initiation — no one to expand anyone’s horizons and awareness.
The essential reason for having a spiritual Teacher is not to worship the personality of the Teacher, but to learn from them the Methods of spiritual practice. The Living Teacher preserves the Methods of meditation and passes that Knowledge and Experience on to the next generation. A good spiritual Master also motivates his or her students to practice mediation and lead an ethical life in the context of a spiritual community (satsang). Books alone isolated from a community of others would not be enough to sustain spiritual practice, or cultivate inner mystical experiences. Satsang inspires, teaches, motivates, and group meditation helps to accelerate one’s own inner experience.
PODCAST: Marvin Meyer on the Gnostic Gospels, Part 3
A discussion about the lost spirituality of the West, the Gnostic tradition — the final installment of my conversation with best-selling author, Professor Marvin Meyer, translator of numerous Gnostic Gospels: The Gnostic Bible, The Gospel of Thomas, Gospels of Mary Magdalene, The Secret Teachings of Jesus, The Unknown Sayings of Jesus, Ancient Christian Magic, Nag Hammadi Scriptures, The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Judas, etc….
"I am inviting you into the exalted, perfect Light. Moreover as for this Light, when you enter it you will be glorified … you will become gloriously glorious, the way you first were when you were Light." (Gnostic Book of Trimorphic Protennoia)
PODCAST: Marvin Meyer on the Gnostic Gospels, Part 2
This program is another instalment of my conversation with best-selling author, Professor Marvin Meyer, translator of numerous Gnostic Gospels: The Gnostic Bible, The Gospel of Thomas, Gospels of Mary Magdalene, The Secret Teachings of Jesus, The Unknown Sayings of Jesus, Ancient Christian Magic, Nag Hammadi Scriptures, The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Judas, etc…. An insightful discussion about the spiritual goals of Jewish, Christian, and Hermetic Gnosticism. We even take some time to speculate about the “People of the Nag Hammadi Library”, those Egyptian monks that once copied and contemplated the texts, also what’s inside the caves near the discovery site of Nag Hammadi and descriptions of other nearby locations in the same region of Egypt.
Marvin Meyer is one of the foremost scholars on Gnosticism, the Nag Hammadi scriptures, and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament.
The word “Gnostic” comes from the Greek and means “One Who Knows”, someone who is acquainted with the divine realms, is someone who not only has faith or an intellectual belief-system, but also direct spiritual experiences of the divine. In other words, a Gnostic is a mystic, a contemplative soul devoted to a life of stillness, prayer, meditation practice, and inward journeys of ascension through various heavenly realms on the way back to God in the Eighth Plane, beyond the Seven Heavens.
PODCAST: Marvin Meyer on the Gnostic Gospels, Part 1
This week on Spiritual Awakening Radio my guest was Professor Marvin Meyer. We had a great discussion about the Gnostic Gospels — the Nag Hammadi Library, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and Gospel of Judas discoveries in Egypt. Meyers has translated most all the Gnostic scriptures in English and published numerous best-selling books on these lesser-known Jewish and Christian mystical movements of antiquity, their spirituality and history. This week’s program is Part One of a Three-Part Series on the lost Gnostic Tradition of the West.
A Note about the Gnostic Mystics
Before the Sufis were the Gnostics of antiquity. Some of those were Masters of Inner Light and Sound, vegetarians, and had a similar view of the cosmos, teaching the soul must be initiated by a living Master into the “Mysteries of the Kingdom of the Heavens”, repeat Names of God, see inner Lights and hear inner Sounds associated with the various heavenly regions. And their ultimate goal, like Sant Mat Mysticism, was to, via meditation practice, ascend through the heavens and reunite with the Nameless (Anami) God at the level of the Eighth Plane or Inner Region, the Ultimate Reality. Historically, there was some interaction and dialogue between the Gnostics and early Sufis, even as there has been some closeness and fellowship between the Sufis and the Sants of India.
The term “Gnostic” is used by the Sufis including Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and is a word also found in the Adi Granth and bhajans of the Sants.
Russell Perkins wrote much about the Gnostic tradition from a Sant Mat perspective, and actually gave a number of Satsang talks based on the Gospel of Thomas at Sant Bani Ashram in New Hampshire a number of years ago. If those turn up online somewhere as MP3s I’ll gladly share the links to them.
PODCAST: Vegetarianism in Christianity and Buddhism
The first half of the program uncovers a vegetarian Jesus at the beginning of a Christianity with roots firmly established within the Judaism of First Century AD Palestine. Not only are there references to Jesus advocating a vegetarian diet, but also the family of Jesus, the inner circle and leadership of this original group, often referred to as the Hebrew Christians or Ebionites.
During the First Century AD, the Essenes were one of the three main branches of Judaism. They were opposed to animal sacrifices being made in the Jewish temple and they were also known to be vegetarians. The Essenes were the group that Jesus and the first Christians, the Ebionites, were closest to, sharing with them many of the same values and sacred texts.
"Now beware in yourselves that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come up upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all them that dwell on the surface of the earth." (Jesus, Luke 21:34, Syriac-Aramaic New Testament )
"James was a vegetarian." (Robert Eisenman, James the Just, The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls)
In his “Church History” text, Eusebius wrote that apostle John “never ate meat.” The Early Church Father St. Clement of Alexandria, who was also a vegetarian, wrote about the apostle Matthew: “It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals. Accordingly, the apostle Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without flesh.”
Peter, described by some as the first pope, said, “I live on olives and bread, to which I rarely only add vegetables.” (Clementine Homilies 12,6; also see, Recognitions 7,6)
During the second half of the program the focus is Buddhist wisdom, ancient and contemporary, about the tradition of non-violence (ahimsa) relating to veganism and the vegetarian diet.
"The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion." (Buddha)
"Meat eating and a compassionate religion do not go hand in hand." (Bodo Balsys, Ahimsa: Buddhism and the Vegetarian Ideal)
"Being a vegetarian makes it easier for us to increase our loving kindness and compassion." (Zen Master Thich Thanh Tu, Udumbara Flowers, Book II)
"We can do no greater harm that to kill another sentient being. Killing is the ultimate expression of indifference to the well-being of others. All, except in the most extreme circumstances, cherish life. In the contemporary hell of the modern slaughterhouse animals cry out and cower in terror when they realize that their life is nearing a premature end. All beings, except in the most desperate circumstances, try to escape death." (Bodhi-paksa, Vegetarianism)
"When we bring mindfulness to the dinner table, it suffuses the rest of our life as well. We become more sensitive to the well-being of animals, of the environment, and of ourselves and our families. We are more aware of the choices we make in all areas of our life. We enjoy food more, know that, while the obtaining of even plant foods necessitates some suffering, the amount and kind of suffering is dramatically reduced when we leave meat off our shopping lists and out of our kitchens. We become more aware of how meat consumption feeds violence and anger." (Kate Lawrence, Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism)
Gnostic groups are generally described as being vegetarian. The Prayer of Thanksgiving, one of the Nag Hammadi books, mentions a vegetarian meal taking place at one of their meetings (a Hermetic or Gnostic sect). The Manichaean Gnostics were known for their vegetarianism. The Prophet Mani’s parents were followers of the Elkasites, which was a slightly later Jewish-Christian sect related to the Ebionites. They were vegetarians. Mani was veg, and his followers or initiates also were veg.
During the First Century AD, the Essenes were one of the three main branches of Judaism. They were opposed to animal sacrifices being made in the Jewish temple and they were also known to be vegetarians. The Essenes were the group that Jesus and the first Christians, the Ebionites, were closest to, sharing with them many of the same values and sacred texts. Unlike the Sadducees and Pharisees, the Essenes are never criticized in the New Testament.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." (Gospel of Matthew, a saying attributed to Jesus from a Syriac-Aramaic manuscript)
This same old Syriac-Aramaic manuscript of the New Testament also preserves another vegetarian saying attributed to Jesus. I find it fascinating that both the saying above and this one appear to be slightly longer in this manuscript than their counterparts in the Greek New Testament, and the Greek manuscripts have the vegetarian parts edited out. “Now beware in yourselves that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come up upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all them that sit on the surface of the earth.” (Luke 21:34)
Like the Essenes, Jesus, his family, and the original followers were also vegetarians and opposed to all sacrifice of animals in the Jewish temple.
"I am come to do away with sacrifices, and if you cease not sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you." (saying of Jesus in the Gospel of the Hebrews)
Stopping Animal Sacrifice in the Temple
"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said: ‘Get out of here.’ (John 2:13-16)
According to the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus also rejected the Passover meal:
"Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?"
To which he replied:
"I have no desire to eat the flesh of this Paschal Lamb with you."
Jesus had a brother. He’s referred to by scholars and historians as “James the Just”. According to a wide variety of sources, James became Jesus’s spiritual successor, the next leader of this group, referred to as the “Hebrew Christians” or “Ebionites”. The well-known Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Robert Eisenman wrote a one thousand page book about him called, James the Just, The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The first words on the back cover of this book are: “James was a vegetarian.”
Keith Akers makes some great observations in his article, Was Jesus A Vegetarian? “Eusebius says that James the brother of Jesus was a vegetarian, and in fact was evidently raised as a vegetarian (Ecclesiastical History 2.23). Why would Jesus’ parents have raised James as a vegetarian, unless they were vegetarian themselves and raised Jesus as a vegetarian as well? Eusebius also states (Proof of the Gospel 3.5) that all the Apostles abstained from meat and wine.”
The editing out of vegetarian sayings, adding fish to the Feeding of the Five Thousand in second century manuscripts, and translators choosing the word “locust” instead of carob, giving John the Baptist a diet of bugs, are all troubling examples of tampering with the text. We already know that Roman culture was OK with the idea of eating meat. What interests me most however, is the diet of Jesus and the first Christians.
Iraneus lived during the Second Century and described in detail the miracle of the multitude being feed with bread. No mention whatsoever of fish. Eusebius and Arnobius also never mention ‘fishes with the loaves’, only the loaves. And now I’ve found two more references in early Christian apocryphal writings, again mentioning the bread but not the fish, as if in the New Testament they were reading at the time, the feeding of the five thousand story didn’t include fish — because the word ‘fish’ hadn’t been inserted into the gospels yet!
John the Baptist — Bug-Eater?
Another example of translators deliberately trying to add meat to the menu, so to speak, is the strange case of John the Baptist and his alleged diet of locusts. From wiki answers: “There has been a longstanding confusion in the etymological origin of the word locust. Locust is both a bean from the carob plant and an insect. The greek word for cakes or bread made from the flour of the carob bean is ‘egkrides’ and the Greek word for locust the insect is ‘akrides’.
"The insect locust is approved to be clean for consumption in Leviticus. It was a delicacy in those days and was usually consumed by the upper and/or priestly class.
"John the Baptist belonged to a group of ascetics who believed in repentance and in leading an austere lifestyle. The carob bean was seen as the diet of the lower class who normally endured hardship and exploitation from the priestly class. So we can conclude that JTB ate (locust plant) seed from the carob tree." http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_did_john_the_baptist_eat_locusts_and_wild_honey
PODCAST: Sawan Singh, the Great Spiritual Master of Beas
"The teaching of the Masters aims to release the souls which have been imprisoned for in numerable ages and births, to free them from the shackles of religion and castes, to take them to Everlasting Bliss and to merge them back in their Source, the Supreme Being." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
"In the center behind and above the eyes there is an aperture; on this side of it is the material world, in which we are living now; and on the other side is the astral world." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
"The practice of Surat Shabd Yoga (Sant Mat) lies in detaching the mind from external objects and attaching it to what lies within, and then catching the Sound Current and traveling on it. This Current connects the individual with its Source." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
"The escape is through the Sound Current." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
"The Current is within us always. We could not live without the Current. The Current is Life. The Sound is going on within, without interruptions, and so is the Light within. Why do we not see the Light and hear the Sound? The reason is that our mind is shaking. Our attention wanders. One does not see the reflection of his face in agitated water. The moment the water is still, the face becomes visible. If the water is muddy, the mud brings in an additional disturbing factor. So, purity of mind and calmness are the prerequisites to see what lies inside the Focus." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
Huzur Baba Sawan Singh: “When you sit [in meditation]… see that the mind is at rest and does not go out and unnecessarily think about other things. When, by Repetition of the Names [Simran] with attention fixed in the eye focus, you have become unconscious of the body below the eyes, then your attention will catch the Sound Current. Select the Sound resembling the church bell and discard all other sounds. Then slowly your soul will leave the body and collect in the eyes and become strong. Then fix your attention in the biggest star, so much that you forget everything else except the Sound and the star. Then this star will burst and you will see what is within and beyond. After crossing the star you will have to cross the sun and the moon [inner manifestations of light]. Then you will see the Form of the Master. When that Form becomes steady it will reply. This Form will reply to all of your enquiries and guide you to higher stages… These stars are of the first sky only, and Hindu philosophers will have spoken of seven skies [in universes of elevating degrees]… After crossing the star, the sun and the moon you will see that Form which will never leave you, not even for a moment.” (Enchanted Land, published by the MSAC Philosophy Group)
Change the World by Changing Ourselves: “It begins with us. Since time immemorial, evolution always begins with the individual. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. Now, even if the government forbids smoking or drinking or drugs, but if people individually continue, then we have not made much difference. So now, we have to change.
"The more people who eliminate meat and, indeed, all animal products from their lives, the more we have a chance to save the planet and not only that, to actually restore our earthly home to her original grace and beauty and even more so, more than what we have known, more beautiful, more abundant, more peace, more gladness than what we have known up to now.
"And there will be more incredible inventions to come if our Earth restores itself, leading a life of compassionate, merciful and peaceful existence with all beings on this planet."
From Crisis To Peace: The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer. Make Good Karma: Be Loving. Be Veg. Be Green.
Even if the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will take time to recover from the gases already in the atmosphere. This is why it is necessary to focus on short-lived gases, namely methane.
Organic vegan will produce a beneficial, cooling effect as it will cut down methane and other greenhouse gases which are fatal to our survival.
This killing of other beings must be stopped for humanity to evolve as a civilization.
A true vegetarian diet is vegan: Most of the milk production causes suffering, first of all because the babies of the mother cows are taken away at birth. Deprived from mother’s milk and mother’s love, they’ll be killed as soon as they’re taken away. Then, the mother is forcefully hooked up to a machine that can cause tormenting pain along with illness, just so that humans can take her milk.
In a vegan world, there would be no more sad news about someone’s child dying of brain damage or paralysis due to E. coli, the deadly bacteria which originally almost always come from farmed animals. There would be no more heartache due to deadly swine flu pandemic, or mad cow disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes and heart attacks, salmonella, Ebola.
Humans die, too, each year because of meat and fish, and anything related to animal consumption. Nearly 33-million people succumb to meat-related diseases annually through heart disease, cancer and other conditions that claim the lives of more than 90,000 persons each day.
It’s the high time that the human race should rise to a higher level of consciousness. They should be noble, kind and compassionate. Go veg, be green, do good, is not just for the planet, it’s for the whole human race ennobling, spiritual merit and quality. They should do it, just for the sake of being noble.
We have to turn back to our caring and compassionate nature inside our heart. That’s very simple. We are that. We are compassion. We are merciful; we are caring.
If we truly wish to see real harmony born between humans and animals and nature and Heaven, we must be the harmony, we must live in harmony and act also in harmony, which includes the act of eating harmoniously each time we come to the table.
Making a vegan choice is thus a true advancement in the evolution and goodness of our humanity. And then we also know that like attracts like, goodness attracts more goodness. As we share this compassionate truth with others, not only will our own humanity be further uplifted, so will the world’s.
Sant Namdev, born in 1270 in the village of Narasi-Bamani, now located in the Hingoli District in Maharashtra, was a contemporary saint-poet of Saint Dnyaneshwar, and is considered a prominent religious poet of Maharashtra. He was one the earliest writers who wrote in the Marathi language. He also wrote some hymns in Hindi and Punjabi.
PODCAST: Poet-Mystics of India (Dadu, Tulsi Sahib, Radhaswami)
Musically Accompanied Mystic Poetry and Teachings of Dadu, Tulsi Sahib, Radhaswami, and other sacred texts of India, as well as a passage from Hildegard of Bingen, the German Mystic, this week on Spiritual Awakening Radio.
The technique of love is truly the root of spirituality. Follow this technique as imparted by the Master. When with his grace the inner lamp is lighted, The true Naam [inner Light & Sound], the support of all, comes to sight.
Without love there can be no devotion and wisdom. With love arisen, they can be experienced with the Guru’s grace. With intensification of love, one comes in contact with the True Sound, And like a lotus in water, abides in its peace and bliss.
Whose soul is attached to the Word, revels ever in cosmic flight
Whose soul is attached to the Word, revels ever in cosmic flight; Revels ever in cosmic flight, and realizing the Lord, plays with Him. The mystery of the Inaccessible and the secret of the scriptures he unravels: He reaches his Home within and its Essence he comes to know; In the lotus feet of the Beloved he sees his true destination. The happily married woman rejoices with her Spouse every moment, O Tulsi, For her soul is attached to the Word, and revels ever in cosmic flight.
“The love which comes in one moment and goes away in next is not a true love. The Love, which is not lessened anytime, remains always filled in the body (and heart) — is the true Love.” (Kabir)
“Living in this world for a short period is good, but instead of wasting one’s life doing meaningless things, it is advisable to dedicate it to remembering God. What is the use of living for millions of years if one did not dedicate his time to self-introspection and remembering God, i.e. such life is a total waste; who will keep an account of it? My real happiness lies in the supreme ‘Self.’” (Kabir Vani 1008)
“Keep on doing your work. Keep on reciting God’s name, and you will live pleasantly in this world.” (Kabir)
“The Satguru is very kind to the humble and the meek, and His advent here has been an act of great compassion. He has shown His grace and mercy to me. The path which could have taken crores [many millions] of births to tread, He has enabled me to negotiate in a moment.” (Kabir, The Essential Kabir, M.G. Gupta translation)
“A diamond was laying in the street covered with dirt. Many fools passed by. Someone who knew diamonds picked it up.” (Kabir) “The effulgence of the Supreme Being is beyond the imagination: Ineffable is His beauty, to see it is the only proof.” (Kabir)