I’m in the middle of ten days of holidays. It’s a rainy day, not suitable for walking and I don’t feel well besides. So I decided to watch some inspiring DVDs borrowed from a dear friend, Peter, who is currently overseas teaching yoga in Europe and visiting ashrams in India.
The first movie is called Love and the Art of Giving. It was made by British filmmaker Simon Eugene. It covers a journey he made to India in November 2007 to interview Swami Satchyananda, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, and his disciple Paramahansa Niranjananda at an ancient annual holy tantric festival during which mostly poor local villagers are given much. It is a beautiful colourful celebration in which boys and girls sing and dance and receive Prasad.
The second documentary, Call off the Search, a film by Jim Lemkin and David Godman, covers a 1993 visit to the ashram of H.W.L. Poonja, endearingly known as Papaji. The filmmakers approached Papaji and said, ‘Papaji, we want to make a film about your teachings.’ His response: ‘Very good. I have always wanted to know what my teachings are. Now you are making a film about them. I can watch it and find out.’ These words epitomize the light-hearted approach of this man who experienced his inner nature as a boy and then became a devotee of Krishna, travelling all over India in search of a teacher who could help him to regain that early inner awakening he so longed for. His search was over when he landed at the ashram of the great Indian Master Sri Ramana Maharshi. After realising his Self in the presence of that master of silence he spent the rest of his life helping others discover that which they sought. I summarize below a few gems gleaned from these films. I trust you are as inspired by them as I have been.
If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.
When we give unconditionally, we open a space in which we can receive.
To ‘fall in love’ is a sensory experience in which mind is involved and we expect to gain something from the other. When we ‘rise in love’ we do so without the interference of the intellect, of the mind. Then true love manifests and we share the joy of that love.
What you are searching for is very close. You should see it in every blade of grass and in the tallest of trees, in all of creation.
To surrender is not so difficult but the part of you which resists this is the part which wants to control.
The time is always right for enlightenment.
If you empty yourself first, then mantra and chanting can lift you to a plane beyond understanding to a place of pure experience. Thus, transformation requires a movement from knowledge to experience.
Without purification there cannot be meditation.
Life is like a flower. The appreciation of life is called love.
In the film on Papaji, Ramana Maharshi reminded Papaji to look beyond the form of Krishna he had devoted himself to for 25 years. He said that whatever appears and disappears is not real. It was in hearing this in the presence of this renowned master that Papaji realised the Self. A few gems from Papaji:
Teaching is preaching.
His advice: Don’t listen to any advice because advice belongs to the past.
His advice: Keep quiet. Stop trying. When asked: ‘Many have tried to keep quiet without success,’ he responded: ‘Then give up the intention of keeping quiet.’
Every being in the world is peace itself.
Look inside for even one second. Don’t seek. Don’t find. You will see you are peace itself.
If you must seek anything at all seek only freedom. Affirm: I Am free. I Am already free.
Keep still and know I Am That.
When anybody laughs he has no thought, there is no mind, and there is no suffering. It is the mind that suffers. Therefore laugh away your problems.
Who is the other? You are not apart from me. You are in my heart. Wake up from the dream and all suffering will end.
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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.
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