Saturday, February 11, 2017

When will I adorn Him?

Painting by Manikandan Punnakkal 
Ah, When will I get to gaze upon the unique
One to whom no other compares
Him who is fire, water, wind, earth and ether,
Him whom others cannot understand. . .
With voice stammering,
a cataract of tears gushing forth,
hands joined in worship
When will I adorn Him with fragrant flowers?
When will I be united with my uncut Gem?
--- by Manikkavachakar

Monday, February 6, 2017

Love Your Difficulties

"Ladder to Heaven" Icon of 13th century

From the book "Unseen Warfare" originally written by Lorenzo Scupoli in 1589, but adapted and translated by Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, and Saint Theophan the Recluse.
Chapter "One should love those opportunities of practising virtue which are particularly difficult"

On no account, beloved, must you flee from what may he a chance for acquiring virtue. On the contrary, whenever such a chance offers itself, you should accept it with joy, regarding as best and most welcome such things as are unpleasant to your heart and evoke no sympathy in you. I predict that, with God’s help, you will actually do so, if you engrave deeply in your mind the following thoughts.
First, you should realise that the opportunities for virtue you meet with are the best means you can have for acquiring it, given you by God in answer to your prayer. Having formed a desire to gain virtue, you have, of course, prayed God to grant it to you; and in praying for it, you could not avoid praying also for the methods and means of acquiring this gift. But God does not give, for instance, the virtue of patience without afflictions, nor the virtue of humility without humbling occasions of degradation and dishonour. So, after your prayer about these virtues, He sends you corresponding opportunities. What are you doing, then, in running away and avoiding them ? You reject God’s help for which you prayed, and mock the gift of God.
So decide to welcome gladly the chances you meet for virtue, and the more gladly, the more difficulties they offer. For in such cases our virtuous actions evoke great courage and reveal great moral strength; and through this we make each time a considerable step forward on the path of virtue, which alone should be our constant aim.[...]
Secondly, make firm in yourself the conviction and faith, that all things happening to us happen according to God’s will and for our profit, so that we may gain thereby a certain spiritual fruit. Although we cannot suppose that some things, such as our sins and those of other people, are a direct result of a willed action of God’s, yet even they do not happen without God’s leave, as means of admonishing and humbling us. As regards sufferings and afflictions, which are our own fault or due to the malice of others—God Himself sends them, desiring us to suffer and be tormented by then), in order to gain the blessing of virtue, which we are bound to earn if we endure as we should the trial He has sent us. The same applies to other judgments of His, hidden from us, but doubtless right and blessed. Thus, convinced that God Himself wishes you to endure the hardship and grief, which assails you, either arising from the evil nature of other people, or invited by your own wrong actions, you will cease to think and say as some others do: no, this does not come from God, it is unjust and criminal, and God does not want crime and turns away with loathing from it and from those who commit it. By this they want to justify their lack of patience and the gusts of anger and feelings of revenge they feel at the sight of injustice; but in actual fact the only thing they achieve is to rebel against God’s ordinance and to attempt to cast off the life-saving cross, imposed on them by God for their own good, instead of shouldering it with a good heart, which would undoubtedly be pleasing to
Him. ... So make it a rule for yourself:— when you meet with injustices, injuries and attacks, pay no attention to them, however wrong your offenders may be, but keep your attention firmly on one thing alone—that God let this happen for your good and that you will deprive yourself of this good if you admit impatience, irritation or contention in connection with it. And do not try to analyse the exact reason why God has allowed this. Do you believe that God is always right and merciful? Then believe that on this occasion too He shows you justice and mercy, although you do not see how. ...
The Lord has laid it on your shoulders in the present grievous case. Do not say, it is too heavy; God knows better the measure of your strength. To some God sends trials and sorrows, brought about by circumstances and in no way dependent on people; these are more easily borne. To others He sends those causes by people, and they are harder, especially when we cannot take the grief caused to us as unintentional, and still harder when we have done some good to those people. The last case is the hardest to bear. If God sends you this, know that it is precisely what is most useful for you, and to this realisation add the inspiring thought: God sees that you are strong enough to bear it and expects you actually to bear it with a good heart, without complaining. So do not disappoint God’s expectation.
I must add that God prefers us to endure afflictions coming from the evil nature of people, especially from those to whom we have done some good, rather than those which are the accidental result of unfavourable circumstances. Why? Because our native pride is more easily subdued and exterminated by the former than by the latter. And also because, if obedience to God’s will is the chief thing in our spiritual doing, there is no better way of provoking and manifesting it to a greater degree than in such cases, if we bear them with a good heart, giving warm thanks to God for sending them, since they are truly a great blessing, thus testifying to our complete obedience to the Divine will, and to an ardent zeal in conforming ourselves in everything to this will.
This disposition precedes the visitation of rigorous trials. Seeing the birth of such a disposition and wishing to make it stronger and more deeply rooted, God sends us a cup of the strongest temptations, which, when borne with willingness, good heart and gladness, always brings this blessed spiritual fruit. Therefore, knowing this, wishing and seeking it, we must accept this cup from the hands of God, shutting the eyes of inquisitiveness, and, with complete faith, clearly see in it the great love of God for us and the assurance of our spiritual progress. Thus we must drain it with joy, the more willingly the more bitter is its taste.

Friday, February 3, 2017

THOU hast made me endless

Art installation by Anila Quayyum Agha during India Art Fair 2017

THOU HAST made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and finest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.

---from "Gitanjali" by Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Crowded House of Prayer

A quite realistic parable about Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), a Jewish mystical rabbi.

Once the Baal Shem stopped on the threshold of a House of Prayer and refused to go in.  “I cannot go in,” he said.  “It is crowded with teachings and prayers from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.  How could there be room for me?”

And when he saw that those around him were staring at him and did not know what he meant, he added: “The words from the lips of those whose teaching and praying does not come from the hearts lifted to heaven, cannot rise, but fill the house from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.”

Masha'Allah! Also can recall the words of the Sufi Bayazid Bistami who said: "The thickest veils between man and Allah are the wise man’s wisdom, the worshiper’s worship and the devotion of the devout."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before—"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!
--- by May Sarton (1912-1995)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Shivopasana Mantra

From Krishna Yajurveda

nidhanapataye namaH | nidhanapatAntikAya namaH |
UrdhvAya namaH | Urdhvali~NgAya namaH |
hiraNyAya namaH | hiraNyali~NgAya namaH |
suvarNAya namaH | suvarNali~NgAya namaH |
divyAya namaH | divyali~NgAya namaH |
bhavAya namaH| bhavali~NgAya namaH |
sharvAya namaH | sharvali~NgAya namaH |
shivAya namaH | shivali~NgAya namaH |
jvalAya namaH | jvalali~NgAya namaH |
AtmAya namaH | Atmali~NgAya namaH |
paramAya namaH | paramali~NgAya namaH |
etatsomasya sUryasya sarvali~Nga sthApayati pANimantraM pavitram
sadyojAtaM prapadyAmi sadyojAtAya vai namo namaH |
bhave bhave nAtibhave havasva mAm |
bhavodbhavAya namaH||
vAmadevAya namo jyeShThAya namaH
shreShThAya namo rudrAya
namaH kAlAya namaH kalavikaraNAya namo balavikaraNAya namo
balAya namo balapramathAya namaH sarvabhUtadamanAya namo manonmanAya namaH ||
aghorebhyo.atha ghorebhyo ghoraghoratarebhyaH | sarvataH sharva sarvebhyo namaste astu rudrarUpebhyaH ||
tatpuruShAya vidmahe mahAdevAya dhImahi |
 tanno rudraH prachodayAt ||
IshAnaH sarvavidyAnAmIshvaraH sarvabhUtAnAM
brahmAdhipatirbrahmaNo.adhipatirbrahmA shivo me astu sadAshivom||
namo hiraNyabAhave hiraNyavarNAya hiraNyarUpAya hiraNyapataye|
ambikApataya umApataye pashupataye namo namaH ||
RRita satyaM paraM brahma puruShaM kRRiShNapi~Ngalam |
UrdhvaretaM virUpAkShaM vishvarUpAya vai namo namaH ||
sarvo vai rudrastasmai rudrAya namo astu | puruSho vai rudraH sanmaho namo namaH |
vishvaM bhUtaM bhuvanaM chitraM bahudhA jAtaM jAyamAnaM cha yat |
sarvo hyeSha rudrastasmai rudrAya namo astu ||
kadrudrAya prachetase mIDhuShTamAya tavyase | vochema
shantama hRRide |
sarvohyeSha rudrastasmai rudrAya namo astu ||
yasya vaika~NkatyagnihotrahavaNI bhavati
pratyevAsyAhutayastiShThatyatho pratiShThityai ||


Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Leopards in the Temple

A Parable about our Kali-Yuga reality by Franz Kafka from his "Parables and Paradoxes"(1961).

Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; 
this is repeated over and over again; 
finally it can be calculated in advance, 
and it becomes a part of the ceremony.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Deep Peace to You

Song by Donovan, a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace deep peace
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you
Deep peace of the wandering wind to you
Deep peace of the flock of stars to you
Deep peace deep peace
Deep peace of the eastern wind to you
Deep peace of the western wind to you
Deep peace of the northern wind to you
Blue wind of the south to you
Pure red of the whirling flame to you
Pure white of the silver moon to you
Pure green of the emerald grass to you
Deep peace deep peace

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year Poem

Under the glorious canopy of redwood trees
The New Year peacock dances
Sun and moon rise into the blue sky
The earth grows and happinesss increases
In this New Year.

---by Khempo Yurmed Tinly Rinpoche