Saturday, August 30, 2008

6. The Greatest Hurdle..( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest)

What is the greatest hurdle or discouragement for a traveller on the path towards God?

You might think, to sit daily, for hours,in a rigid posture, is the greatest problem. You might think that focusing the mind on a thought or a point , and not let the mind wander, is even more difficult. What about finding the time for meditation or prayer every day? For some, staying awake during meditation is very difficult. I can attest to this impediment.Even after eight and a half years, I often fall asleep. To continue meditation/prayer while sleepy is fruitless.

You would think that giving up the attachments to the world, like family (wife,children, parents),friends,wealth, lust, fame,power,must be the most difficult desires to forsake.(You might be under the mistaken impression, that one has to give up all these desires to find God. Actually it is not true that you have to give up all these things, but you do have to detach yourself from ALL these things. Nothing is to be left except God ).

Are these insurmountable tasks? Yes,close to it. That is why so few take this path, and even fewer succeed .You may have heard the words from the Bible "Many are called but few chosen"(Matthew;22.14)

And,yet,there are,still,at least three more serious problems:

One of them is to find a competent teacher ( variously called "guru","murshad,"pir",etc).It is impossible to state the difficulty of finding a competent teacher(who would accept you as a disciple),in almost all countries except, perhaps,India. Without a teacher,it is impossible for an ordinary person to succeed. Some truly amazing persons like Maharishee Ramana (see the sidebar,"A search in secret india") realized God by themselves,but one has to wonder if they were pre-selected from the beginning by God.In Islamic spirituality ( also called Sufism)to find a teacher is even more difficult, because most often such mystics hide there spirituality from public. Nobody knows about it,except some close associates,or other Sufis.

Another hurdle on going on this path is the lusterless nature of the path, and lack of material benefit at the end ( I have used the word "end " for lack of a proper term. In fact there may be no end or destination,as the terms generally implies.To travel on this path is in itself the destination ). Rather, pain and suffering,may be the hallmark of existence for initial several years or decades of life (mixed with ineffable joy).Why would, then, any sane person want to travel this path? Specially,as sometimes, one cannot tell anybody one's achievement. One may have remained a recluse, and might have neglected one"s duties to society (wife, children,etc ).If one does not contribute to the society,should'nt his/her life be considered just a waste?

To me,the greatest source of despair and depression has been the lack of notable spiritual progress. You would think your Master will someday look down and acknowledge your efforts. But no such luck. All yours tears, all your begging, all yours prayers,remain unanswered, As if there was nobody on the other side.As if you were talking to a blank wall or arguing to a vending-machine.

This worthless mote is not unique.The great saint,Brother Lawrence,was not granted a bit of consolation in the first ten years( I may be forgiven for mentioning this nothingness in the same breath as Brother Lawrence ). He himself noted," It seemed to me that creatures,reason, and even God Himself were against me ......."(see the sidebar,"The practice...")

If all that I have mentioned is true,you may ask, then, what propels people towards this path.I will try to answer it sometimes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

5.Third dream.( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest)

One night my friend had the following dream. He was taken to Lord Jagannath's temple in the town of Puri in India ( my friend had this dream in America ) .How he knew that this was the town of Puri or this was Lord Jagannath's temple,he does not know, or does not remember. He had never been to Puri before, and did not know that Lord Jagannath's temple was located there. He saw a hexagonal pond of bluish water with foam on it.He felt God or Lord Jagannath behind him (Hidu's consider Lord Jagannath,who was a man who lived in remote past,an incarnation of God).He felt the presence of a hand on the back of his neck. The Lord dipped his head in water. As his head went under water, he could not breath anymore.Inability to breathe, woke him up. The details of the dream were vividly imprinted in his mind. Even after several years, he could see in his mind's eye the eight-sided pond, the shallow blue water, the foam, and could feel the hand on the back of his neck

Several years passed. He longed to go to go to India and visit Puri. When,after about ten years, he was finally able to go to Lord Jagannath's temple, he was accompanied by a friend, who was a native of Puri. That person assured him that he had been to the temple hundreds of time, and there was no such pond over there. The two looked around and indeed there was no eight-sided pond. They even asked a "pujari" who also said the same thing. My friend was greatly saddened. He had hoped that the pond of his dream would actually exist, giving external (outside of the dream)validation to the truth of the dream

And what an enormous implication if the dream was true. God Himself, or one of His reprsentative, visited him in his dream, and dunked his head in some holy water;a ceremonial act of purification! What an honor!He would have been a very lucky man

As they walked,he suddenly saw some steps going up. An impulse led him to climb the steps.As they reached the top, they saw a small eight-sided pool,the pool of his dream. However, there was only a small circle of water in the center of the pool

He confronted the old pujari. "Pujariji, you said, there is no such pond. What about that pool on the top?"
"Oh that pond!That is Lord Jagannath's pond. He sometimes visits it with his baghats(holy persons)to bathe. It is not for general public"
"But there is no water in it"
"He does not need any water. We have left small amount of water as a token"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

4.More About Dreams. afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest

We were speaking of true dreams. Let me give some examples

A spiritual friend , when he was a young premedical student in India, more than half a century ago, saw the examination paper of anatomy , in a dream. The written test was going to take place next morning. The next to last question asked to describe the path of an important artery(basilar) in the brain. This is a difficult and uncommon question. Next question entailed the section of brain stem at a certain level. Next morning he quickly memorised the answers to these questions. While walking towards the college, to take the test, he told couple of friends, his dream, and these 2 questions.One friend did not know the details of the path of the artery, so he opted to go back, and quickly read about it in the textbook. The anatomy test paper had the same two questions in the same order

A few days before the results of premedical exam was going to be announced, he dreamt that he had missed the first division by 6 or 7 marks (I do not remember, at this moment, whether it was 6 or 7 , and being a spiritual person one has to be completely truthful). Next morning he told these news to his mother. His mother consoled him by telling him, not to worry, because it was just a dream, and he will get first division ( often, only first divisioners get admitted in medical college ). Suffice is to say , that my friend missed first division , by exactly the same number of marks

Did these two dreams predict the future. Not necessarily. At the time of the dream , the anatomy paper was already in existence, locked in safe boxes , in many examination centers .Similarly, at the time of second dream, the result of the test was already in existence, in university, and in printing press. As Paul Brunton theorises in his book," a search in secret Egypt "(see the sidebar) something, or entity, comes out of one's body,during sleep, travels, and reports back to the sleeper, what he/she observes.

Were future events be predicted, before they exist, before the zillion events which lead to an event, it would be an irrefutable evidence that future is preordained. It already exists somewhere. If future has already been made, then there must be a Maker or Creator. Because, the actors ( be it animate or inanimate ), that took part to make that event possible, have yet not played their role. Whether, everything is predetermined, is not such an open/shut case, and at this point I do not want to get into this discussion, because then I will digress from my narrative. I just want to point out the profound implications of such assumption.

I am not finished, yet, about my friend and his dreams. He has had dozens of spiritual dreams,in which he had vision of saints and prophets and deities. Were these dreams true visitation of these entities , or did his brain manufacture their images and scenes. There is no convincing answer to this question, because we do not know how these persons looked like , in real life, and if we know how they looked like ( for instance, Sri Ramakrishna )our brain might have put their image in front of our eyes , from the memory bank . However, he had one dream , in which his brain could not have constructed the image , because it did not possess the image . I will describe that dream in my next posting,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

3.The dream ( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest )

This is about the dream of a person I know ( and it is not AFNTA)

The dream occurred few days ago, during a period of intense sorrow, yearning for God, and severe back pain. He usually spends several hours of each night in prayers. That night he was so sad that his tears would not stop. At last he fell asleep. He had a vivid dream. A highly spiritually advanced lady who had died few months ago, came in his dream. This was the first time she had visited him after her death. She was wearing beautiful green dress. He must be weeping in his sleep, because Amma( as she was called when she was alive, and literally means mother) wiped his tears with her hands. "Don't cry and be so desolate. Off course , these are the ways of this path " or words to that effect. Then she led him to a tomb of an 11Th century saint. she led him to the door of an underground room, and then left

With that the person suddenly woke up. The details of the dream were quite fresh.He had no doubt about the veracity of the dream. He had been getting true dreams in the past, and could tell a true from a false dream. He knew of the room also. That room is kept locked. Over the centuries , several great aspirants had done their spiritual exercises there

He did a three nights "chilla" in front of that door ( could not get permission to do the chilla in the room ) . Chilla is an islamic religious exercise, which entails fasting, intense prayers, and isolation. On the third night, Amma again came in his dream, and told him. " That is enough. you can go home now . it will be O.K" or words to that effect

He became quite sick due to this experience and is still sick

His mental state is very good. He thinks he has been successful. He believes in Amma's assurance.He also thinks that the soul of Amma was sent by Allah to comfort him and show him the path. The path was not an easy one. That person told me before he left for chilla that he was not sure if he would be able to make it through. The place is very hot and it is summer. There are mosquitoes and flies. There is no electricity. He was suffering from several diseases ( such as insulin-dependent diabetes, high blood pressure,heart disease, back pain )and could not eat or drink (during daytime ) due to the mandatory requirement of keepng a daytime fast during chilla

Friday, August 8, 2008

2.Love for God ( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest )

Excerpts from GOR ( gospel of Ramakrishna) ,describing the pathos of the milkmaid:

I shall wear You, my lovely Necklace,
Here about my neck,
And You will lie upon my bosom,
Close to my throbbing heart.

You are the Treasure in my body;
You are Dweller in my house,
You are to me, O Lord,
what wings are to a bird,
What water is to a fish

3/15/1886. (see the sidebar."The Gospel...." for reference) submitted by afnta

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1. A beginning ( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest )

I have started this blog on Tuesday August 5, 2008 at 8 p.m. May God bless my efforts.

submitted by " asks for nearness to Allah" ( afnta )

Oct,3 , 2008. The aim of this blog is twofold: to vent my feelings, and to glorify Allah.