farewells

The icon of the Trinity was painted around 1410 by Andrei Rublev

It depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre –

but is often interpreted as an icon of the Trinity.

It is sometimes called the icon of the Old Testament Trinity.

The image is full of symbolism – designed to take the viewer into the Mystery of the Trinity.

All the figures wear a blue garment – the colour of the heavens…

but each wears something that speaks of Their own identity

(You can read more about this icon at http://www.wellsprings.org.uk/rublevs_icon/trinity.htm)

“Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth. He said, my lord if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. let me bring a little bread that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on-since you have come to your servant. so they said, Do as you have said” (Genesis 18 1-6)

This was the icon in the little chapel of Sr. Marie Louise at Fr.Bede Griffith’s ashram in India.
This sister was a teacher and during the time I was there, I noticed how she trained all the young people who came to help. There were a few who helped in the kitchen and the work keeping the hermitages clean. They came to the prayers and meditations in the little chapel

The day before leaving, Sister Marie-Louise organized a farewell. We were called to their little chapel before dinner and Ruby, the blind girl, sang my favorite hymn of Tagore, “Day after day, O Lord of my life, do I stand before Thee face to face”.  Her singing is so beautiful, I choked up.

The beautiful icon of the Trinity by Rublev, stood on the wall in evidence and as it stands out as an example of the faith of Abraham and of his great spirit of hospitality.

Here too,they also wanted to have this icon at the center of our prayer this evening. They had, over the past weeks,been offering their hospitality to a visitor who came from afar and now that he was leaving, they felt it appropriate to say farewell with this image at the center.

After the prayers, Sr. Marie Louise asked me to say a few words and at the end, the ceremony  was done by offering lights and incense. Then to my surprise, they turned to me and offered the light as a farewell blessing. These are some of the images that remain in my mind of the wonderful time spent in this ashram in South India.

Now I am reading in my journal and memories of those days how the time had flown and thoughts of returning to Canada were coming into my mind. Among the notes I read:

“On the morning of the 29th August 1982, reading the daily news paper, I saw there was a small note about Ma Ananda Mayi. It said that in Dehra Dhun on the 27th August, Ma had passed away peacefully. She was 88. She was one of the greatest saints that India has ever known.I will never forget her.”

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refreshing notes

This body tells of one sovereign remedy for all ills:

God. Trust in Him, depend on Him, accept whatever happens as His dispensation, regard what you do as His service, keep satsang, think of God with every breath, and live in His Presence.

Leave all your burdens in His hands and He will see to everything; there will be no more problems.

~ Sri Anandamayi Ma

It is interesting to note that Sri Ananda Mayi speaks of ‘this body’ in reference to herself. She does not say “I am telling you” but rather “this body tells’.

When the young man from Europe said to the saint called “The Beggar”, “I don’t know the Father”, the Beggar said “when you are hungry, do not say ’I am hungry’, but rather ‘this body is hungry’. If you do this regularly, you will discover the Father”.

St Francis of Assisi used to refer to his body as “brother donkey”. Sometimes he would say “we have to give some rest to brother donkey as he is tired”, and he would take rest.

So I was reading from a book about Nisirgadata which was given to me and I found these notes in my journal:

Question: How does one shape one’s character?

Nisirgadata replies: By seeing it as it is and being sincerely sorry. This integral seeing-feeling. can work miracles.It is like casting a bronze image: metal alone, or fire alone will not do: nor will the mold be of any use; you have to melt down the metal in the heat of the fire and cast it into the mold.’

Question:  I find it rather hard to grasp what exactly do you mean by saying that you are neither the object nor the subject. At this very moment as we talk, am I not the object of your experience? and you the subject?

Nisirgadata: “Look, my thumb touches my forefinger. Both touch and are touched. When my attention is on the thumb, the thumb is the feeler, and the forefinger is the self.

Shift the focus of the attention and the relationship is reversed. I find that somehow by shifting the focus of the attention I become the very thing I look at and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing.

I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness……Love. You may give it any name you like.
Love says “I am everything”
Wisdom says “I am nothing!”

Between the two my life flows. Since at any point of time and space, I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying, ‘I am both and neither and beyond.!”

Isn’t that great! It has been so many years since he passed away (1981) and the teaching that he practiced and so strongly taught, which was so alive with Ramana Maharshi and others, is still around again today.
The teachers all have their particular way of expressing it, their particular character and flavour and today the teachings come so easily into our lives.

Have you ever listened to Mooji?  It is really worth a moment to sit and listen.
I do hope you enjoy this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bywXFofV7fM&feature=player_embedded#!

healing and wholeness


TULSI-Ocimum sanktum- or holy basil is a herb that was spread to India 5 thousand years ago and it grows in India up to 1800 meters of above see level. It is a perennial plant growing up to 1 meter having its stalk straight, furcate and lignificated at its base. Leaves are elliptical even oval, comose and serrate on their edgings. A colour can gradate from green into reddish. Little flowers can be white even reddish purple. Fruits are brownish-red.


We know esspecially sweet basil from our gardens.Genus of basil has a number of types. A drug is a top whose essential oil contains:citral, eugenol, methylcugenol, methylchavicol, chavibetol and so on.Additionally the herb contains alcaloids, glycosids, saponins and tanins, ascorbic acid and carotene. TULSI contains a lot of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances – isotymusin, isotymoin and so on.


In ajurveda TULSI is very respected as a drug having a broad effect for a treatment of heard, lungs, blood, liver, kidney, respiratory system, digestive tract, nervous system, metabolism, reducing of blood sugar, for reducing of effects of toxins, for malaria, allergy, for insect bite, for infertility. It relieves of stress. It is used during the treatment of cancer and after chemotherapy and also for a whole reinforcement of organism. Usually it is prepared as a tea or one even two leaves to the meal.¨


TULSI has also a primary spiritual meaning that it is mentioned in old wordings of Bagavadgita. The herb is namely dedicated to Krshna and Vishnu gods and it is considered as a reincarnation of Vishnu wife Lakshmi – the goddess of happiness, longevity, beauty and prosperity. It is a quite surprise its adoration in some ceremonies in Greek Orthodox Church, where it came few thousands years later from India and it is considered as Christ´s Gift.

“Deep inside each organism is something that knows what that organism’s true nature and life goal is. It is as though there is within each person an inner Center that knows what constitutes health.”

“If our conscious personality becomes related to this inner Center, the whole person may begin to emerge, even though this may not bring either peace or social adaptation, and the demands from the inner Center for wholeness may result in painful symptomatology as a necessary, inevitable prelude to a development toward health.
The movement toward health may look more like a crucifixion than adaptation or peace of mind.” (Healing and Wholeness, John Sanford)

The time of my pilgrimage in India was drawing to an end. I had lots of time on my own, time for reflection and meditation and time for healing.

My brothers did not send me there on a holiday. I had consciously felt the responsibility of not wasting time and so my time was honestly divided so that each day I could render service in the kitchen or garden or I was asked to take the meals to a Dutch father was very ill because of an insect’s bite and he had gangrene in one leg.

On these visits to his hut, he too, being alone,and very ill, was in deep reflection about life, about himself and his obligations.

We all carry some responsibilities in life and although at times we seem unconcerned, deep down inside, especially when we are alone, we ponder.  Thus it was with this priest and so he felt at ease to discuss some things with me and he asked my opinion.  We were all there in a retreat.

I look back and see how lucky we were. What a grace it is to have a whole year to seriously look at our life, not to be struggling to survive like most people, but to have that time to stop and look at our lives and make some discernment as to how we were as travellers on the Path.

Shantivanam,had many resources.  Besides the spiritual people who lived there, besides some of the wonderful travellers and pilgrims, besides also the readings we listened to during the prayers, they also had an excellent library. I took advantage of this resource and spent many long hours reading and taking notes.
Looking over my journal, I am surprised at the books that I was able to read and take notes.

I found a quote from Nisirgadata Maharaj:
“It is like looking at a burning incense-stick; you see the stick and the smoke first : when you notice the fiery point, you realise that it has the power to consume mountains of sticks and fill the universe with smoke.

Timelessly the self actualizes itself without exhausting its infinite possibilities.

In the incense stick similarly the stick is the body and the smoke is the mind.

As long as the mind is busy with its contortions, it does not perceive its own source.

“The Guru comes and turns your attention to the spark within.

By its very nature the mind is outward turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves; to be told to look for the source within is, in a way, the beginning of a new life.

Awareness takes the place of consciousness.

There is the “I” who is conscious, while awareness is not a thought.

There is no “I” in awareness.

Consciousness is an attribute while awareness is not; one can be aware of being conscious, but not conscious of awareness.

God is the totality of consciousness, but awareness is beyond all being and not-being”
(I am That,  Nisirgadata Maharaj)

Words of St Francis of Assisi:
“I am, as I am, in the eyes of God, nothing more, nothing less.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqgIQc5Xr74&feature=related

thoughts from C.Yung

“No amount of skepticism and criticism has yet enabled me to regard dreams as negligible occurrences.  Often enough they appear senseless, but it is obviously we who lack the sense and ingenuity to read the enigmatic message from the nocturnal realm of the psyche.  Seeing that at least half our psychic existence is passed in that realm, and that consciousness acts upon our nightly life just as much as the unconscious overshadows our daily life, it would seem all the more incumbent on medical psychology to sharpen its senses by a systematic study of dreams.  Nobody doubts the importance of conscious experience; why then should we doubt the significance of unconscious happenings?  They also are part of our life, and sometimes more truly a part of it for weal or woe than any happenings of the day.”

C.G. Jung. (1934)  “The Practical Use of Dream Analysis,”

The Practice of Psychotherapy, CW Vol. 16, par, 325.

“The dream is often occupied with apparently very silly details, thus producing an impression of absurdity, or else it is on the surface so unintelligible as to leave us thoroughly bewildered.  Hence we always have to overcome a certain resistance before we can seriously set about disentangling the intricate web through patient work.  But when at last we penetrate to its real meaning, we find ourselves deep in the dreamer’s secrets and discover with astonishment that an apparently quite senseless dream is in the highest degree significant, and that in reality it speaks only of important and serious matters.  This discovery compels rather more respect for the so-called superstition that dreams have a meaning, to which the rationalistic temper of our age has hitherto given short shrift.”

C.G. Jung.  “On the Psychology of the Unconscious.”

Two Essays on Analytical Psychology.  CW 7, par. 24.

At this time in the ashram, I was resting up after the long travelling and living under meager conditions in the cave etc. and I slowly began to realize how it had affected my body. We are not always aware how living in a North American country, most of our food is so sanitized,

so anti-septic, that our system reacts when suddenly exposed to many different kinds of bacteria. Sometimes we may even feel that we had some sort of neurosis.
I began reading from Carl Yung in the library and here are some very interesting words.

“We should not try to ‘get rid’ of a neurosis, but rather to experience what it means, what it has to teach, what its purpose is.

We should even learn to be thankful for it, otherwise we pass it by and miss the opportunity of getting to know ourselves as we really are.

A neurosis is truly removed only when it has removed the false attitude of the ego. We do not cure it – it cures us.

A person is ill, but the illness is nature’s attempt to heal the person. From the illness itself we can learn so much for our recovery, and what the neurotic flings away as absolutely worthless contains the true gold we should never have found elsewhere.”

C. G. Jung. “The State of Psychotherapy Today.” (1934)  Civilization in Transition. CW, Vol. 10, P. 170.

Now heres another dream,  on Tuesday August 8 in my hut in Shantivanam.
Last night the wind was very strong and sleep was light. I awoke to discover that some creatures were in my hut. On putting on the flash-light, I discovered two little cats. They came in to search for roaches and mice and rats.
Feeling some relief, I lay back and fell asleep soon after wards because I don’t like the idea of having neither roaches nor mice and rats running around.
I began to dream that it was morning and I was explaining to Sr. Louise about the cats in my hut and there were two women present who began to laugh out loud.
They explained to me that they were the cats who came into my hut.  I awoke!
71K, 500 x 650. 18 x 24″, acrylic, by Chris Wayan, 1999.

rice fields and dreams

“He who dwells in the fire,
He who dwells in the heart
He who dwells in the sun
He is One
The man who knows this,
he verily attains
The Oneness of the One
(The Vedic Experience p 667 Maitt UV1, 17)”

I found this beautiful book, a translation of the Vedas by Raimundo Pannikar, in the library in Shantivanam and I used to love to go there to read.  There was a man from the village who would come in and while I was reading, he would prostrate himself fully, face down on the floor.
This morning he came in and I was waiting, for as soon as he was down, I who was barefoot, slipped out quietly and from the gallery I watched. As usual he would stay for at least two minutes and so he did, and when he got up he was shocked for I had disappeared.!

A few days since my return and was well rested and so this morning I went to the little village and rented a bicycle and rode into town to the Post Office. It was a sunny, yet breezy day and the sun shone on the coconut leaves and glimmered in the water in the rice paddies. I was humming a tune I heard at mass that morning. I loved the way it was celebrated here with organ and drums and singing in Sanskrit. After all, Jesus was a Jew and in his time, the Psalms of David were sung with drums and cithar!

The name for Lord in Tamil is Iraivaa nd I can still remember the first verse of a hymn I loved so much:
Iraiva itho oru kanickai ,  Thanthoun emmaiye adheva  (maybe some words are not spelled correcty)

So I am whistling and singing and suddenly i realise I have an audience of some kids following on another bicycle behind.  They are always in the sun and some working helping their parents at times in the rice fields and so their skin is very dark and their teeth, the whitest!

One kid calls out something in his Tamil language and i say the only two words I know which are Tamil Tyriad,which means “I don’t speak Tamil!” and with that, they burst out laughing!

The next day I receive a surprise visit as the three French kids I shared a compartment on the train, came to visit.  Gerome, Catherine and Isabelle. they were dressed Indian-style, in courtas which are far more comfortable than jeans in this country. Gerome still has many questions. They are working on a project to help the Harijans, or “untouchables”  who are still very present in India. They told me that they were helping to construct a village for them, just outside Pondicherri.
We went for a walk near the river side and after a while, we sat under a eucalyptus tree chatting and in a short while a group of about six men, out of curiosity sat close by, staring at us. They never heard French spoken before, (I guess). These kids were so enthusiastic as they explained their desire to make life better for these poor people.

I had a dream that night and I wrote it down.
I was travelling somewhere and came to a hotel which resembled very much our family house when I was a kid. I was accompanied by a friend and we took a room and then went out to eat in a restaurant. When we came back, we were searching and could not find the room.

I decided to search by going into each room and finally I opened a door and there were two police officers and they hand-cuffed my friend and accused us of entering without permission. They were not able to hand -cuff me and I stayed at a distance getting ready to run.

They told me that they would release my friend if I was able to find the correct room. I rushed out into the corridor and looking at the key chain could not read the number on the key. I began searching the rooms again and on opening a door, I saw my grand mother in one of the rooms and she was doing some sort of exercise, maybe Yoga.

I said “Granny, do you know the number of my room?” and she replied “Your room’s in heaven!”
I thought she was senile and I thanked her and left.

Then I saw a man delivering bread and I asked him if he could read the number on my key chain and he looked at it and said “Your room is Number sixty-five!”

I went back to the room where the police officers were holding my friend and discovered that the door was locked. I climbed up the door and was going through the window above and was arguing with them when all of a sudden I awoke.

The bell was ringing..time for meditation!

I hope you enjoyed my dream!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgAM7AyuHWE


Once when I was on a train and we stopped in a little village, these musicians came on and started singing. They were sometimes called “crazy yogis”. They were crazy for God and they sang in Bengali. Their music went straight to the heart. I was lucky to have someone translate
this song and I wrote it down. The paper was all wrinkled but yet I was able to read.

O Ki Garial Bhai
O ex-cart driver, my friend
How long shall I stand looking towards the road

Moner katha bolibar age
Before I can speak my mind, tears flow
I would express my sorrow with an open heart if I could find
one who sympathized
The rocks would break if they heard.

One day on the banks of the Yamuna
I saw Him beneath the kadamba tree
I was standing behind
One day when the music of Kala Chand’s flute
entered my ears, it made me indifferent to the world.

O mon amar, shajo prokaiti
O my mind, recognize your Nature

Tin gorbhe ache ak chele
In three wombs, there is only one boy. (Indian Street Music    Baul’s of Bengal)

A small prayer:

Teach me to walk in darkness
Before the first rays of light

For into the Glory itself that man has vanished

who wanted to know the Glory, like the moth which, fallen into the flame
itself became flame and vanished.

ニコラス根本昭雄神父帰天

I still have a letter from him among other souvenirs. He was a saint indeed and I am so blessed to have known him.

Below are some words of those who knew him. His name: Fr.Nicolas Nemoto.

Dear Brother Provincial,

It was with great sadness I heard of the death of Nicholas Nemoto. During his years in South Africa I came to admire and love Nicholas as a true brother and an exemplary friar.His presence was greatly appreciated by all the people. I remember the time I visited Vereening where he was working and asked the parish council how they were getting on with NIcholas. The reply was, “It is great to have a holy priest” and that is what he was. His years working among those suffering from aids and in the squatter camps were marvellous examples of living the Rule and Gospel.

I thank your Province for giving us the privilege of sharing in the life of Nicholas and assure you he will be always remembered with love. May God grant him the rewards of his labours and to you all comfort and consolation.

With sympathy and prayers. We will celebrate the mass for the repose of his soul

Fraternally

Br Robet Stewart OFM

It is with sadness that we received your fax about the death of Nicholas. He did wonderful work here in our South African Province and is remembered as a very gentle, humble and zealous friar-priest. He was a very talented man who used his talents in the service of the poor. (From South Africa)

O God, scatterer of ignorance and darkness,

grant me your strength

May all beings regard me with the eye of a friend

and I, all beings!

With the eye of a friend may each single being

regard all others!  Yajur Veda xxxvi, 18

Dear Friends,

When, we wonder, will this letter carrying our warm greetings land on your doorstep?

Whenever it does, it is a sign of the gladness we feel in your company on the Way and our

gratitude that you are there with us in heart and mind.

We feel keener than ever to treasure friendship at a time when so many people in the world

as it is today feel despised and unwanted. We are so thankful that you are there- wherever

that may be.”    (a news letter from our dear friend Fr. Murray Rogers.)

“ How mysterious a thing it is that with some friends it is as if we have never not been so:

the Persian proverb is so true_ “A friend is a poem!”

What a gift that we may continue together in prayer!.”   Murray.  (Feb, 15th 1997)

Sometimes we find gold in dusty boxes.   I can’t help but share. Thats what friends are for.

back in South

                                             

(Quotation taken from the Advaita Vedanta page)
The swan has a special association with advaita Vedanta. The swan is called hamsa in the Sanskrit language. The word hamsa is a variation of so’ham: I am He, which constitutes the highest realization.

Tell me, O Swan, your ancient tale.
From what land do you come, O Swan? To what shore do you fly?
Where will you take your rest, O Swan, and what do you seek?
This morning, O Swan, awake, arise and follow me!
~
Songs of Kabir 2.24

Last night or rather in the second part of my sleep, close to awakening, I had a dream and was wondering what it could mean. In the dream, I was going somewhere outside the country and needed to show my papers, pass-port etc.  I was working for a company of some sorts and a woman was in charge for the day and she asked to see my credentials and I handed the papers over to her.
The next day, the officer arrived and I was called up to show my credentials to have them stamped so I asked the woman, can you give me back my papers? To this she replied that she did not know what I was talking about. All I tried to explain was of no use as she was totally in oblivion. I was frustrated, for as long as she did not find and give me my papers,I would not be able to leave. It was the energy of this frustration that awoke me and I discovered relief in seeing that it was only a dream.

We are told that concerning pilgrims who follow the pilgrims route in Europe
‘Official’ pilgrims carry with them the credencial, a document that is stamped en route as proof that they have actually travelled the route. On completion of the route, they present their credencial, and in return are presented with Compostela, a certificate that is awarded to all pilgrims who have completed the journey.
A Pilgrim’s mass is held each day at noon in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela for pilgrims. Pilgrims who received the Compostela the day before have their countries of origin and the starting point of their pilgrimage announced at the mass.”

I was looking at my journal and seeing that my visit to the Ganges was seemingly over and I was anxious to begin my trek back to where I started at Shantivanan in the South. Maybe this was the cause of my dream last night. Once we have lived something, there is always a residue which stays in our heart and soul. I needed my ‘credentials’ in order to continue…..thus the story continues……

Thus at breakfast I offered my thanks for the hospitality at the Bishop’s place and I headed down to the train station for the train to Madras. It was a Sunday 18th July 1982

No words can ever describe the confusion that dwells in a railway station in India. There is always a huge crowd waiting the departure and as soon as we are allowed to board the train, there is a chaotic pushing and fighting and I don’t know how some people do not get crushed.

Once we are in, finding the right seat is another big problem. The numbers on the ticket must correspond to the number indicated on a particular carriage and the number on the seat in front of us, hence many people are seated and others are trying to move them. There is shouting and screaming and at times an inspector has to come and settle the dispute.

I found myself in a compartment with three young French people. One was Gerome and two girls, Catherine and Isabelle.  They could not understand the question that the ticket inspector was asking and so I translated. They were very surprised that I spoke French. It was arranged by the stars that we should travel together I guess.  Gerome was reading a book written by Henri Le Saux…”L’Autre Rive”. We ended up speaking a lot about the spiritual life and I somehow ended up giving a ‘crash course’ in meditation to Gerome.
We arrived in Madras the next day and I said au revoir to our friends.  The  weather was remarkably cooler and i was happy for the change as my watch began to sweat.

I headed to the bus terminal and got myself a ticket on a bus to Trichy. It was the best way to get back to Shantivanam. I was excited as it felt like ‘going home’.
As the bus pulled out and the lights went out, it became very quiet and i was able to get some sleep before arriving in Tamil Nadu.

In the morning I felt a joy in seeing the rice fields, the coconut and banana plantations and the peaceful little villages on the shores of the Cavery River and soon I was off the bus and wending my way on the path leading into Shantivanam Ashram.

I was welcomed by Sister Marie-Louise as she smiled and said “Oh my, you have lost so much weight”,  I don’t know how much I weighed then but at the end of the year I had lost forty pounds!
I was given a hut among the banana and hibiscus trees in a nice cool area. It was so welcoming and I felt so happy to be back.

It was fr. Theodore’s Birthday and there was a small celebration for him that evening at dinner. It was a joy to see those who I had met before when I first arrived and who welcomed me there, except Fr Bede Griffiths was actually away. There were many letters from Canada and from my family in Trinidad.

Here is a Meditation from a sage of the Vedanta Tradition:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Iq_bnsR1U&feature=related