I am enjoying writing a talk on Hinduism as I am presenting a series on World Religions this month. As I read the Katha Upanishad this morning I went into such a state of devotion… just feeling so stilled and drawn into the beauty of the Self, of That which we cannot name or contain, but That which gives us everything, is everything, and is our most sacred essence. I know that blessed presence so intimately, and feel that deepening this communion and helping others feel it and deepen in it is what matters most to me.
I love the story from the Katha Upanishad where a young yogi name Nachiketa, asks Yama, the God of Death ‘what happens after death‘? And Yama who is in debt to this young yogi, says ‘ask me for anything else; any other boon, but not for this most sacred knowledge‘. Yet Nachiketa is wise and doesn’t want anything else, he wants the knowledge that will set his soul free. Yama realizes that Nachiketa is worthy, and able to comprehend the deepest teaching. Here is a small bit of what Yama teaches Nachiketa:
The all-knowing Self was never born, nor will it die.
Beyond cause and effect, this Self is eternal and immutable.
When the body dies, the Self does not die.
When the wise realize the Self, formless in the midst of forms, Changeless in the midst of change, omnipresent and supreme, they go beyond all sorrow.
And a last bit of guidance Yama shares, on how to go beyond all sorrow, what to focus on to be able to realize this truth at the very deepest level of our being:
Not even through deep knowledge can the Atman be reached, unless evil ways are abandoned, and there is rest in the sense, concentration in the mind and peace in one’s heart.
The deepest knowledge CAN be attained, when evil ways are abandoned, there is rest in the sense, concentration in the mind and peace in the heart. We abandon ‘evil ways’ by living ethically and with loving-kindness. How do we rest in the senses? We turn off the world, close our eyes, bring our energy into our body, calm and slow the mind. This is what moving from beta waves to alpha waves is about. To concentrate the mind we can take a sacred writing like the one above, and read it and focus on it for a time. Through the understanding of it, we can awaken beyond limited consciousness. The final guidance, peace in one’s heart, comes from a heart that has no resentment, no judgment of others, no place we withhold love from ourselves, or anyone. The practices of developing compassion, such as Tonglen, and forgiving and letting go allows this heart cleansing and clearing.
My prayer for us all is that we realize the highest state of consciousness, and go beyond all sorrow. That even in the midst of a world lost in a dream of separation, we stay focused on the wise guidance that leads us to the deepest truth, that we know true joy, boundless love, and inner peace.
Yours in love and service,
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