This is part two of the adventures in Advaita Vedanta... will you travel with me a while?

Textual Tuesday

Hari Om

Continuing the sharing of Shanti mantras, this one today and the one to be shared next week are often tied together in prayer sessions, but can equally be chanted as solo mantras. (The sound-byte will be linked next week as it contains both.)

 असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
MRtyor-Maa AmRtam Gamaya |
Om ShaantiH ShaantiH ShaantiH ||

Lead us from the unreal to the real
Lead us from darkness to light
Lead us from death to immortality
Aum peace, peace, peace!

Meditative Monday

Hari Om

Sit in aasana and practice a few minutes of pranayama. Still the mind. Pick up a book you have selected as your guide for today - any book can work for this exercise, although one containing philosophy or poetry might be the strongest option.

Open at a random page. Look at it broadly at first. See the page as a whole and words indistinct, simply see the shapes they make upon the page. It is likely to look ragged. Abstract. Observe this for a while and note your own descriptions of what you see. Do not read, as such.

Now refocus on the words on the page, but again only as a whole. Scan up and down the page for a moment or two. Take note that as you scan, despite trying to be even about it, there are some words - maybe only two or three, or perhaps as many as a dozen - which the eye keeps 'sticking' to.

Narrow down your focus to these words now. Take up a pencil and circle the words. Then turn to a blank page in a notebook and write only these words down. In any order, on any part of the page.

The words, as random as they may appear just now, will hold meaning for you. Do not try to make a sentence or even to link them in any way. There may be one, but often there is not. At least not in any obvious sense. As you progress through the year now, keep this page of words in front of you in meditation and select one at a time to work with. Take your time. There is no rush. Sit with one word at a time and let it linger in the forefront of your mind as you clear yourself of all other thoughts. Let the word become the only life, let it become life. Receive all that it gives you. As much as you can empty yourself of your own thoughts, the word under scrutiny will fill with other thoughts. Pay attention to these. Write them down if you wish to expand on the process.

This is a way to your inner guru. Deep listening. Paying attention. Growing. It has no end, but it must be begun.

Sunday Statements

Hari OM

Earlier this week the subject came up... here is a Guru's take on...

Saturday Satsang

Hari OM

In Gurudev's own words:

In order to perceive the insignificance of our self-asserting egoistic arrogance, we have to step away from the ego for a moment and in our detachment learn to observe it through the microscope of pure discrimination. Our permanent proximity to the ego has given our own ego-myth far greater importance than it deserves. Let us examine this more closely.

We all feel that we are irrevocably real and unquestionably substantial, as individuals in our own homes. My home is denoted by a number on the door among many such doors on the street; my street is a road or byroad off a main road; the main road is one of the many roads in the city; and the city is a mere spot on the map of the district. 

The district, again, is a jot in the state; the state is a fraction of the country; the country is part of a continent; and many continents make up this globe, the world.

We know that the world is one of innumerable heavenly bodies that constitute our galaxy, each one separated from the others by billions and trillions of miles. There are millions of such galaxies in the universe. This total space, with all its many galaxies, is but an insignificant portion of the total Reality.

Therefore, in the context of this universe, what importance, significance, substantiality, or relevance can I claim for my numbered house? In this house, what space do I occupy? 

There may be five rooms in the house, but all that I occupy at any given time is a fraction of a chair in one corner of one room! Yet, how stupidly arrogant and self-assertive I can be, as though besides myself there were nothing more superior, nothing more important. In reality, how microscopic is my structure and personality when compared with the Lord of lords, the supreme Reality, the all-pervading!

Having come to this misunderstanding that I am a tiny, limited body-mind-intellect equipment, conditioned by matter. The rediscovery of myself to be nothing other than the limitless, homogeneous mass of Consciousness, absolute and eternal, is the only remedy for curing the sorrows caused by my ignorance of my own real nature.

Thursday Thoughts

Hari OM

To-Do List:

Obtain a notebook
select a pen or pencil to keep with that notebook
daily open the notebook and write one word
let that word be Shanti
write it again and again in your best handwriting
tighten it up when you see it slackening, sloping, slinking off the line
cover the page
just one page
per day

Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, 

शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, शनिति, 

Decorate the page with your calligraphy. Focus on the touch of the nib to the page and the creation that takes place. Think nothing. Just write. Feel the peace...

Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

Whispering Wednesday

Hari Om

Yesterday there came the whisper of the word Guru. In general terms, we know this means one of great experience. A teacher of worth. A professor, in modern English parlance. 

In Sanskrit, the word means one who dispels darkness. Is this not what all good teachers enable? They can shine light upon a subject - it is up to us then to use that light to make our own investigations. When we get stuck we can again request the teacher to shed light... then we again can gather more to ourselves. 

Where light is, darkness cannot be. 

Another meaning for Guru is heavy. Gravity - in real terms and also in esoteric terms. A person who displays gravitas is generally considered to be serious and have some substance to them. Thursday is the day of the Guru - in its other guise as a name for Jupiter, the planet (though interesting to note that the name, which was used for a Roman god, derives from roots in Latin that mean 'day' and 'father'... he was in charge of the light!)

It is also the case that in the gurukula tradition, the Guru becomes the father - and the mother - of his or her shishyas. True seekers essentially sever family ties. The cost of being a devotee - a disciple - was recognised by Yeshu. The Messiah understood the personal cost of following a truly spiritual path. It must become a single-pointed focus and to those around one, this can appear radical, cold, even selfish. However, this is not the case. It is simply that one is no longer engaging in the nerve-induced emotionalism that ties one to life's events. The only emotional tie for a spiritual adherent is to the Higher Self and the manifest Self as seen in the Guru.

You can read a whole thread of articles on the Guru over at Chapter One.

Textual Tuesday

Hari OM

Last week you were introduced to a Shanti mantra used to unite all at a gathering, be it a conference, a discourse or a class. In the case of learning (class), it is often the case that there is an honour given to the paramparaa - the teaching lineage as represented by the Guru.

Gurur-Brahmaa Gurur-VishnuH
Gurur-devo MaheshvaraH |
GuruHsaakshaat paraBrahma
tasmai shri Guruve namaH||

The Guru is as Brahma (the creator). The Guru is as Vishnu (the preserver)
The Guru is as Mahesvara (Shiva - the one who dissolves of all)
The Guru is The Absolute
Salutations to the True Guru.

Paramparaa is of importance when taking up serious study. In just the same way as you may seek the best available course in the optimum university due to the track record in academia of that institution, so it is in the Sanskrit tradition. In the Chinmaya Mission, our lineage is through the Sringeri Mutt and thus the swamis may append their names with 'Saraswati Maharaj.' 

Understanding that the teachings have been handed down verbatim for more centuries than can be counted, and accepting the value of their proven record as demonstrated by the many saints and gurus through the timeline, is to acknowledge the learning and gained wisdom of one's teacher/s. In doing this we can surrender our ego minds, always seeking to show off our current knowledge, and prepare ourselves to receive the greater Knowledge... (see tomorrow's "whisper").

Here is how to chant this mantra:

Meditative Monday

Hari OM

हरि ॐ

Perhaps you could be prompted to meditate upon that greeting. Hari is, of course, considered a name of Sri Krishna. The word 'Hari', however, refers to the Absolute given form. All that we perceive is known as the manifest cosmos. This is Hari. That which can be appreciated in our own limited form.

Hari is that which can remove the veil of ignorance if we meditate upon it. To give it full focus we come to know that all this 'matter' does not matter, for it is all dissolved into the unmanifest cosmos, as represented by the a-u-m... OM. 

Hari is the breath with which we can practice pranayama. OM is that from which we can draw the breath.

Knowing this, our focus becomes OM... wherein we can dissolve our ego-centric selves...

Sunday Statements

Hari OM

Swami Tejoymayananda is the current senior swami of Chinmaya Mission and joint-head with Swami Swaroopananda.

Saturday Satsang

Hari OM

Satsang is generally not a timed item. There may be formal scheduling, but it can take place wherever one is in the company of the master... and can occur in just a few words. For 'sat' means 'true' and 'sang(a)' means 'community'. Therefore it is the sitting in true communion - implying intent of purpose in the gathering and the potential for expansion from it.

To sit in the company of such a master, often words are not required. I have attended many satsangs with my teachers where silence has been the mode of communication. It is a wonderful experience.

Thought is powerful and when in community with others of similar thinking, there is unquestionably an energy that arises within one. 

Thus it is important to remember, as Gurudev said:

"Thoughtless action and actionless thought can both cause sorrow and suffering. Therefore, act thoughtfully!"

Thursday Thoughts

Hari Om

Spring is struggling to get properly settled in hereabouts. No matter. There is still so much to appreciate and be grateful for...

Whispering Wednesday

Hari OM

I sit and listen, 
Then listen more.
A whispering sound,
like waves on shore;
is there a voice
'neath the trickle and hiss?
Let me listen harder
so I do not miss...

श्रवनम् (shravanam)

Mentioned last Thursday, let us think a little more about the import of listening with full attention and intent. Most specifically, it is to listen to the teachings of the shruti in such a manner as to not only hear the words but to lodge them into our intellect and to have an impression gained of their value to us in our daily lives.

The same is useful in any situation of learning. Be it a lecture at school or university, a discussion in a public forum, a conference for our work or business. 

Almost certainly you can recall times you have attended any such gathering and left wondering what it was you heard, having difficulty conveying it to others. This is because your mind wandered during it, or (what? no!) dozed off for a few moments... If, though, you have attended with full shravanam, you will not only recall what was said but may already have been able to sort it into useful 'bites' and perhaps categorised different parts of the discourse into sections that can be looked at in different ways at different times as you move forward with the new-found information.

This means that not only have you heard, but you have received. This is the essence of shravanam.

Textual Tuesday

 Hari Om

Shanti mantras are those opening shlokas of any text within the Sanskrit library that are offered as prayers conducive to the process of learning and gratitude for the Knowledge. Shanti mantras are often used separately from the texts to which they are appended. There are also some Shanti mantras developed specifically as prayers. At the start of any discourse, satsang, class or meeting, mantras are generally chanted in order to set a tone and atmosphere for what is to follow. They bring all minds (or aim to!) into focus on the matters at hand. We shall look at a few of the most commonly used over the next few weeks. 

First, the shishya's prayer for focused learning and healthy debate without falling out! (You can listen to its chhandas ['tune'] HERE)

 सह नाववतु 
सह नौ भुनक्तु 
सह वीर्यं करवावहै 
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै 
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः 

Om Saha Nau-Avatu |
Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai |
Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||


Aum! May He protect us both together; 
may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Aum! Let there be Peace in me!
Let there be Peace in my environment!
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me!

Meditative Monday

Hari OM

It can be a challenge, this meditation business. It is easy to get the impression we are 'getting it' without realising that we have barely begun. 

The first challenge is to ignore everything outside of that one dedicated focus of OM for even as much as fifteen minutes. Practice that every day. Fifteen minutes alone with OM. This itself can take what seems an eternity to achieve. 

The phone rings. We dial the phone. The dishes from lunch are yet to be washed. There is ironing to do... Oh, how that monkey mind seeks to draw us away from our alone time with OM. 

Fifteen minutes alone with OM. That's all that is asked...

Sunday Statements

 Hari Om

Beware lip-service!

Saturday Satsang - that wasn't...

 Hari OM

Viewers - please be aware I had a post here as per usual... but there has been an update on Chrome that has gone all 'redwall' and malware alert and it has taken upon itself to declare the post originally here as 'malware'... which is absolutely ridiculous, for it took precisely the same form as all posts preceding it. I am uncertain whether this is going to happen with all upcoming posts now... posts at both other blogs for today have also been nixed... most worrying.  Your patience as I sort through this will be appreciated. Sigh... YAM xx

Thursday Thoughts

Hari OM

Equal to the attentive watchfulness implied by pratiikshate (yesterday's post), there is shravanam - alert and attentive listening. More on that over time, but whilst thinking upon this connection, it occurred to me how many folk simply do not listen to actually learn anything - or at the very least honour the speaker and taking on board properly all that is said before asking questions.

So many people come to philosophical discourses, in particular, but subjects of any form really, with the idea that they themselves carry a certain level of expertise and, therefore, they have nothing else to learn. Many attend meetings of all sorts of notions they have set in their own cement and simply cannot crack themselves open to allow in a little more knowledge. 

That is a shame, don't you think?

Whispering Wednesday

Hari Om

Asking for a guiding word for today, the inner whisper brought forward -

प्रतीक्षते(pratiikshate) and its 'mirror', प्रतिक्षते (pratikshate)

The meaning is actually required for you to apply in looking at these two words! 

The first, with the prolonged and hardened 'ee' sound, translates as 'watch for', 'regard', 'concern' and all three can be applied in the context of 'look carefully and attentively'.

The second, with the softer sound like that 'hit', translates as 'behold', 'perceive', 'look at', 'wait'... and half a dozen other nuances. 

Why the difference in the placement of the 'iikara and ikara' characters? Emphasis. Simple. The second of the two variations has a greater number of translatable applications as it is the way in which most of us use our eyes. How often we look at stuff. All the time, indeed. 

But how often do we SEE something or someone? Really see it. Let them hold our attention fully so that we can accurately report what was seen? 

A little exercise today; find an object or a piece of art which you look at every day in the pratikshate manner. You know it is there because your eye falls upon it quite often. Now, find ten or fifteen minutes to gaze upon it with your fullest attention. Don't stint on the time. Honour that item with your intention to imprint it upon your memory. Then, before going to bed, take a piece of paper and pen or pencil and note down in either words or images, things that you remember about that item. As many details as you possibly can. Make a note to yourself the things you found in that 'search' today that you had not noticed about the chosen object prior to this exercise in being alert and attentive. Resolve to repeat the exercise in a week's time...

Then wait for the whisperings as the object becomes ever better known and understood from this exercise... 

Textual Tuesday

 Hari Om

This third shloka from the Vivekachoodamani makes it very clear that there is a certain privilege to being born as a human critter. After all, think of all the other possibilities! Gaining life at all, when one considers the enormity of the universe, is something of a rare quality, so even a blade of grass has a degree of status in the overall picture of "life". 

Then there is the hierarchy with which we are all familiar. Mankind stands the prime predator and most adaptable of species, thus has not only thrived but overtaken the planet.

Spiritually, there is yet further hierarchy. Not all within our species is equal in that regard. There are those who deny any spiritual element to life, others who prevaricate not wishing to commit either way and then those who accept the spiritual element but then divide themselves still further. Some wish to hand everything over in an almost superstitious manner, taking no responsibility for their own fate. Others acknowledge their involvement but look to their priests and teachers for absolution. 

Then there are those who know that connection with the divine is entirely in their hands and set out to walk that path. They develop mumukshatvam - the burning desire for liberation (from the bindings of Maya). 

Once they have been grasped with this desire, they are likely to find the teachers appear to guide their path; and even among these few, are the even rarer still, the students who find themselves in the presence of a true master. 

The masters are actually plentiful. However, they are not demonstrative. They have the ability to hide in plain sight. Only when the student is ready will their paths cross and the full extent of the master's care be felt. That student also must be prepared to unscramble themselves, to unlearn all that came before in order to learn the whole... and the master will challenge, test, tease, cajole, break down and build up that student from the well of True Love.

It is a truly blissful thing. 

Meditative Monday

 Hari Om

ध्यानवत् (dhyaanavat) - to be intent upon spiritual meditation.

Meditation is perceived (interpreted?) in a number of different ways; focused attention, deep thought, contemplation and so forth. All these things are true. 

For purposes of the act of meditation in Vedanta, however, each of these aspects is but a step toward the ultimate goal. True dhyaanam takes us to a point beyond thought, into a state of raw consciousness in which everything else is negated. 

To attain that level of detachment takes much practice, working through all the stages and challenges that arise from within us. There are many people who cannot meditate. The idea of stilling the monkey mind is just too much. It takes effort and the lure of Maya is too strong, misdirecting the focus. The rewards of the practice too numinous to fuel the desire for dedication.

It is an interesting phenomenon that even in regular practice, one must go through all the arguments inside with that mischievous river of thoughts. Each time adding another brick in the dam to stem the flow.

What is important is to not project any expectation. Rather, in sitting in dhyaanavat, simply acknowledge the intent. Keep acknowledging that at each time of sitting for this purpose. Concentrate on the intent - the promise to yourself to attempt the process. There will be advances and there will be retreats. There will, occasionally, be real breakthroughs and one is left elated... where care must be taken not to think the task is done. 

Sit again. Acknowledge the intent. Proceed.

Sunday Statements

Hari OM

Again, we are reminded that in claiming a spiritual nature, we must safeguard the truth of it through how we apply our thinking and in the expression of our activity... 

Saturday Satsang

Hari OM

Satsang is the drawing close to the teacher/leader in order to listen to some of the finer points of the philosophy (or matter under discussion and study). In our case, that is Advaita Vedanta/comparative religion. It is of particular importance to those with a serious interest in the subject matter and it is understood that there can be no loss from the listening/reading from the masters of the 'craft', only gain. No matter how advanced we are in our study and practice. 

It is the daily application, in life, of the principles of the philosophy we choose to follow that makes the difference between it being mere 'lip service' and intellectual hubris, or a methodology by which we can raise ourselves, and possibly those we meet along the way. 

Daily practice, be it formal in the manner of morning prayers, puja, attendance at class or a satsang, or be it through our daily activity, seeking only to be the hands of service in our tasks, is what is known as saadhana. It is possible, even with as simple a job as washing one's clothes, to make of it a sacred thing. How? By focusing the mind fully on the task, by acknowledging the fortune that there is water to be used for the task, and by knowing the honour of having clothes to clean. In that, we also allow time to think of those who have neither of these so readily to hand. 

Every action has the potential to be made sacred. Every thought, indeed. This is what is hinted at in Gurudev's quote here. That we should know ourselves as being The Spirit, and not just the words of a text, or a tick list of chores. Live the tasks. Love the tasks. Life will give back.

Freedom Friday

Hari OM

This is the day of the week where it may be decided not to post. A day of freedom from writing, from thinking... well, maybe not the latter. 

Most faith traditions hold up a 'day of rest' or 'sabbath'. There is no such thing in the Hindu week - for every day is sacred! The need for rest and respite is fully recognised, however, and one of the things that needs to be achieved in my own saadhana is the self-permission to NOT do something as much as to keep doing lots. 

Therefore, if something of interest or value arises that doesn't fit into the theme of each of the other days on this blog, it may well appear here. On the other hand, we all may be relieved that I choose to remain silent. Randomness provides freedom and I embrace that!

Thursday Thoughts

 Hari OM

Notes to self;
  • cease the self-criticism; self-correction, yes, self-criticism, no.
  • assess what requires correction
  • prioritise, if more than five items
  • don't be surprised at there being more than five
  • refer back to the first note... and get on with it.
That's enough to be working with just now...

Whispering Wednesday

Be still awhile and hear the whisper...

As I sat yesterday pondering what might be posted in these midweek posts, there was a word that kept repeating itself to me. Who knows why or from where it arose? It was like a whisper to the inner ear and would not be ignored.

स्नान(snaana) = bath. 

The cleansing of the body as a spiritual saadhana is not something that arises particularly strongly in western culture. Most people, though, have some familiarity with the concept of treating one's body as if it were a temple. Quite often it is used in a non-spiritual context - sportspeople, for example. Most often the understanding stops at the physical aspect of cleansing. From a social point of view, it is important, of course! Not just external cleansing, but inner - through eating 'correct foods'... which has sometimes led to some quite extraordinary fads.

In Hinduism, bathing is taken to an almost scientific level of analysis, with constant reference in various scriptures as to how and when to bathe. As a general rule, householders are expected at the very least to bathe in water in the early morning and before retiring to bed and always the feet and hands ought to be washed upon entering the house. Hygiene levels that recent global health matters have highlighted!

Apart from the practical, however, the rituals around bathing in the Sanskrit tradition are geared very much to mental cleanliness and the spiritual. Even as one bathes, there are mantras for 'bathing the mind' and directing spiritual focus. Much of this centres around the precious nature of water. 

This is also recognised in the Christian tradition, through baptism. A key difference is that in the church, the 'holy water' is seen as being for the priests to dispense. In Hinduism, each and every one of us can sanctify the water in which we bathe by chanting the invocation to the sacred rivers of India... 

In the Bible, we find in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 -

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

The exhortation is not merely about the body, but the soul that is carried by it. This matter envelope is not the "I" which we tend to attach to it. Rather, it is the vehicle by which this "I" can gain experiences and further its journey towards reuniting with Brahman/The Holy Spirit.

Next time you bathe, let it not merely be a brushing of the limbs with water, but a recognition of the value of that liquid to life and also visualise the inner cleansing. Chant some prayers from whichever tradition you prefer, which seek forgiveness for transgressions you may have been unaware of - but also offer apology for those of which you are.  Know that for this purpose, one can also 'bathe' in mantras, or by stretching towards the sun - or, as has become fashionable of late, in the forest with nature. 

Then stand in silence and listen deeply... you may catch a whisper or three...

Textual Tuesday

 Hari Om

Most days, as part of saadhana, I like to open one or other of the texts on my shelves at a random page. Holding the Bhagavad Gita, or the Bible, or Vivekachoodamani or any of the Upanishads... or, indeed, any inspirational book... it is allowed to fall open where it wishes. Then the eyes fall upon a part of the page. There is no rejection of what is found. It has been offered by the process of providence and is to be accepted as such.

When pondering what to post today, for example, the Gita came open on Chapter 18 - and the eyes fell upon verse 66:

Relinquishing all ideas of righteousness (religiosity), surrender fully to "Me"; I will deliver you from all sinful reactions; do not despair.

It caught me a little by surprise. The preparatory thinking from my side had been that there would come inspiration for this post. That such an advanced verse should be presented confused me somewhat. Then a little pondering on the expanded meaning of the aphorism helped me realise that, despite being an instruction given by Sri Krishna (Guru) to Arjuna (Shishya) that pertains to advanced levels of spiritual practice, it is also encouraging for the teacher to give hints to the student what can be expected if the appropriate practice is undertaken.

Indeed, there is a verse quite early on in the Vivekachoodamani** which does precisely this; shloka 59 declares that the study of scriptures is useless while the Truth is unknown - and that once It is known, there is no further use of scriptures.

Both these shlokas point out that there is something beyond earthly understanding and limited concepts of "God" or "faith", as represented in written words or any sense of 'that is right, or that is wrong.' Yet, such is the need of the seeker, especially one who has restricted access to the teacher, that in early, medium and even advanced levels of seeking, the best guidance comes from those very written words.

Specifically, the Gita verse points out that one must reach a point of renunciation of all sensory connection, be prepared to drop all preconceived notions, previously learned tracts of knowledge and just plain arrogance to rise to the place where Providence can take care of things entirely. This implies the need to overcome one's doubts, that one has asked all questions, and are prepared to place all one's trust in the Higher Essence of Being. The second verse quoted here points to the learning part of that equation - one can read the scriptures over and over again - but unless one is practising what they preach, they will not teach, and we will not learn... and then again, if we do those things required of us, we will find there is no further need of them.

... that is the pinnacle of spiritual study - to attain 'moksha' - Self Knowledge. Like the many walkers who gaze upon the heights of Everest, we must find the resolve to reach for the summit. 

Even reaching 'base camp' takes some effort. We have to travel light - shedding all our rubbish and dropping all our pretence. If we cling to what we know now and think that it cannot be replaced with better and bigger thoughts, we will fall by the wayside before reaching even the first pitstop.

So, ady18sh66  IS basecamp. Reaching there, we have the best chance of moving on up. 

First, though, we have to take the first steps, check our baggage, unpack it, repack, make another few steps, check our baggage...

**The Vivekachoodamani (by Adi Shankaracharya) might be best described as a "how-to" text for all serious students of Advaita Vedanta. It questions the student about their spiritual integrity, points out the key daily practices and expounds on some of the finer points of practice in the context of the Upanishadic teachings.

Meditative Monday

 Hari Om

Each week on this day I hope to reflect upon the practice and art of meditation - or provide fodder for deeper contemplation... however, today, just as a starter, I would point you over to Wild YAM bloggy for the review of the AtoZ experience of this year. 

The process of writing in a focused manner on three different blogs (well, My Take wasn't too demanding!) required something of the single-pointedness that is needed for meditational practice. This is the process of saadhana - a dedicated and metered approach to one's tasks can be an equal benefit as any moment of transcendence and, perhaps, of greater practical value in life.

Thank you for seeking to continue the 'yaatraa' with this roaming soul... 

Sunday Statements

Hari OM
Each Sunday, an offering of words of wisdom to ponder upon.