The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -III

continued from previous post…..

  1. Pingala: There was a dancing girl named Pingala, she was tired of looking for customers. As time went by no one came and she became anxious and frustrated. At the height of frustration she gave up her wait for customer and went to sleep. At that moment it also dawned on her that she does not need anyone for her happiness and bliss, decides to give up her pursuit of wealth and pleasing customers. She teaches that abandonment of expectation from people leads to contentment and infinite joy. Also with Atma contained in oneself there is no need to search outside for happiness and contentment.
  2. The kurara bird (hawk):A hawk carrying a prey was attacked by other birds like crow, eagle and other larger animals eyeing for same prey.  After some fierce fight, the bird carrying the prey, out of fear for its life,  let it fall so that other birds immediately went after the prey  allowing the original bird that had the meat to escape. From this one learns that there is intense competition and aggression in the world to acquire  material objects and for worldly pleasures. One who yearns for it is likely to come into contest and clash with fellow being who also compete for the same leading to avoidable aggression, strife, worry and stress. By balancing, managing and controlling ones wants one can save himself much of the unhappiness, have  and enjoy peace of mind.
  3. The child:Two children fight for some time. Their parents intervene to end the fight and they end up being enemies for life. But the children who were fighting initially  after some time forget and start playing together again. This is because they are free from ego and innocent. Be like a child to be happy.
  4. The young girl:There was a young girl who was doing work with hands full of bangles. During work it jangled against each other and was making noise. Since she had guest then, she did not want them to know that she was doing work. So, to reduce noise she removed all bangles except two. This reduced the noise to a great extent, but still was making noise, then she removed one more and was wearing only one in each hand. This way she could work without making noise and desist other from knowing what she was doing. So too, when many people live together, there will be noise, clashing of interests, disturbance, discord, dispute and fighting. Even when there are only two people difference of opinion and resultant discord is bound to be there. So, the ascetic is better of living in solitude. This is what the maiden working with hands full of bangle teaches one.
  1. The arrow maker: Once there was an arrow maker who was so absorbed in his work of making a straight arrow that he did not notice the king’s procession passing by. Then I learnt that to produce excellent result focus is necessary.
  2. The snake: The snake never builds a place for itself. It moves around and changes its place and sheds it outer skin. Thus it is able to lead safe life. An ant though puts effort and makes ant hill and later that is taken by snakes. Likewise, the householders endure difficulty in building and running their house by themselves while ascetic lives free by roaming around and not being rooted in one place. Thus one should know that people aspiring for carefree life should live lite, know his true self, and understand that at the end of his life time one will shed this body and get a new life as per one’s actions in this life time.
  3. The spider: The spider weaves its web from the thread in the form of a fluid. After sometime, it gathers up the web into itself. Thus the God projects the whole world during creation phase and after sometime, withdraws it into itself at the time of dissolution. The individual soul too takes birth in the body as per its past action, and in alignment with its inherent tendencies acquires intellect, mind, sense organs and bodies of action. Its latent tendencies direct the role play and actions while in this world and space. And at the end of allotted time-frame, death occurs when the soul again withdraws its senses, mind, and tendencies acquired in the life time and leaves the body. Thus, birth and death, creation and dissolution happens is what one learns from Spider.
  4. The wasp/Caterpillar: Wasp trapped a weaker insect in his hive. This insect took on the mentality of a wasp out of intense fear of the wasp, and thus became a wasp in its next life. This illustrates how one attains in the next life what one’s mind is fixed upon. You are the company you keep and what you think you become is what one learn from caterpillar. Good thoughts, company and action will lead one to higher level/birth.

Thus are the advise of Dattatreya to Yadu on what he has learnt from nature around him and how inculcating it in his life has made him blissful.

***

 

The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us

Life comes in various shapes, sizes and flavor. We share this world with natural elements of earth, space, fire, air, water, animals, plants, minerals and people. Of course there are supposed to be unknown elements and let us leave it out. We interact with them. A man who learns from his own experience leads a miserable life. the one who learns from others also leads a average life. The one who learns from anything and everything around us leads an exemplary life.

There is a converstation between “Dattatreya”, a Sage, and “Yadu”, a King in “Bhagavatham” where Dattatreya, when asked,  explains the reason for his happiness to the king, that it is because he has learned about the world from his Surrounding, Nature, and 24 Gurus follows it, he is happy, though from worldy point of view he might be considered a impoverished.

Now what are the 24 teachers around us. They are:

The Earth The Air The Sky Water Fire Moon
Sun Pigeon Python Sea Moth Honeybee
Elephant Honey Thief Deer Fish Prostitute Pingala Kurara Bird
The Child Young Girl Arrow Maker Serpent Spider Wasp

The Twenty-Four Gurus:

1.Earth: We use and abuse earth. We dig it out, load it, scorch it, dirty it and what not. Yet it provides us the plant, minerals, water bodies for our survival. It brings us stability. It is patient. Despite doing all this it supports us. Thus people may insult us, cheat us, ignore us do whatever may be keeping patience and not taking on us and not worrying about it helps us keep our mind stable and worry free. Learn the art of patience, performing ones duty, forbearance and helpful tendencies from Earth.

2. The Air: The air has no smell but carries the scent from the surroundings be it good and bad. But it is not tainted by it. The aromatic smell of flowers, spices, perfume or bad smell from dump yard, pollution does not affect the inherent quality of air. Same way the air goes into pipe in one but the sound that comes from it is varied. The cow is of different color but the milk is of white. Likewise the Atma-soul in all of us is Real, Happy and Eternal and is not affected by the happening to the person.

3. The sky: The sky is vast. Atma is so. Though the sky extends everywhere and everything rests within it, it does not mix with anything. The sky is never implicated or affected by the blowing action of the wind, water, rain, thunder or clouds. In the same way the living entity, the atma, is never affected though it may enter a body of material elements, the life.

4. Water: Water is essential for living. It is needed for our livelihood – drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, extraction, factory production etc. It is a great coolant and provides taste for food. It is a wonderful cleanser. The great seers of the world are like water. The yogi like that cleanses all the people who come in contract with him. Essentially that in being touch with great people everyone achieves greatness. Connecting with good people, help one in providing direction in leading the life.

5. Agni: The fire has beauty. It Illuminates.It is not easily reachable. Anything you put in it digests. It burns everything it comes into contact. It is impartial to shape, size and type of product. The Yogis and great people have charisma akin to Fire. He is not impacted by his company or the food he eats. He is able to maintain his purity under all conditions. Like fire he comes into contact with people for some time but he goes back to his work. He helps those who approach him also to achieve greatness. Similarly Atma is not affected by the body it takes, works based on it and comes and goes. From fire  learn to glow with the splendor of Self-knowledge and austerity.

6. Moon: The moon waxes and wanes but because of that the moon is not any less. So also the person who is born gets modified throughout his life – Being, born, change, growth, decline and death. And because the body is changed it is incorrect to assume the soul also gets transformed. Soul remains inviolate. As the man changes his cloths the Atma drops the body when it is not able to support him and gets into new one.

7. Sun: Sun is the cause for water cycle and clouds but it never takes credit for the same. The sun in the pond seems like moving but it does not. Sun Illuminates. Same way the soul and a Yogi does not take credit for the acts of body. The Atma seems to be affected by the acts of body but it is not.

8. Pigeon: Once in a family of pigeons, the father sees its wife and children are caught in hunter’s net and goes to free it, fails and it also gets caught in the same web. This is because of the excessive attachment, for the father pigeon thinks that without them life is not worth living. Had it thought for moment that it is difficult to free them it would not have attempted this and thus saving self. So also, we, the human beings get muddled into life because of our excess attachment. Attachment is bondage. The right way, learning from pigeon would be to love and yet be not excessively attached. Loving yet being discriminatory and detached our life would be peaceful.

  • to be continued

24 Gurus from Bhagavatam

 

Remembering T S Eliot IV

Excerpts from “Family Room”

Family room is a play in poetry by T S Eliot intriguing, deep, full of secrets, behind the scenes dialogues, philosophical and mystical. Typical T S Eliot. It has lot to teach and has many quotable quotes, that i will blog separately. But the ultimate short story on life – the piece de resistance is here below. Do read the original play when you get a chance.

Life in a verse

We do not like to look out of the same window, and

see quite a different landscape.

We do not like to climb a stair, and

find that it takes us down.

We do not like to walk out of a door, and

find ourselves back in the same room.

We do not like the maze in the garden,

because it too closely resembles the maze in the brain.

We do not like what happens when we are awake, be- cause

it too closely resembles what happens when we are asleep.

 

We understand the ordinary business of living,

We know how to work the machine,

We can usually avoid accidents,

We are insured against fire, Against larceny and illness,

Against defective plumbing,

But not against the act of God.

 

We know various spells and enchantments,

And minor forms of sorcery, Divination and chiromancy,

Specifics against insomnia, Lumbago, and the loss of money.

But the circle of our understanding Is a very restricted area.

Except for a limited number Of strictly practical purposes

We do not know what we are doing; And even,

When you think of it,

We do not know much about thinking.

 

What is happening outside of the circle?

And what is the meaning of happening?

What ambush lies beyond the heather

And behind the Standing Stones?

Beyond the Heaviside Layer

And behind the smiling moon?

And what is being done to us?

And what are we, and what are we doing?

To each and all of these questions

There is no conceivable answer.

We have suffered far more than a personal loss—

We have lost our way in the dark.

Excerpt from – “Family Reunion” – T S Eliot

Life, Struggle, Evolution and Liberation in the words of Vivekananda

What is Life

Life is the unfoldment and development of a being under circumstance tending to press it down, and the environment not allowing it to express itself. Life is a tremendous potential power that is trying to express itself against the circumstance and environment that is thwarting it from expressing it fully. So in order to succeed in this fight against environment and circumstances the power is shedding itself, dying now and taking new bodies again and again and evolving with each birth. Like waves on ocean, what differentiates one wave from the other being, nothing but its form that in turn is differentiated by time, space, causation which is dependent upon the waves themselves so is the life of every one of us.

Struggle leading to Evolution

The awakening of the soul to its bondage and its effect to stand up and assert itself is called life. Success in this struggle is called evolution. The eventual triumph when all slavery is blown away is called liberation, freedom or salvation. Everything in this life is struggling for freedom for one in bound by nature, name, form, time, space, and causality and one does not realized one’s true self. One strains against these bonds one by one, becomes conscious of the self becomes aware of the innate grandeur which leads to liberation.

In physical level this fight is characterized by the continuous struggle of whole humanity against the so called laws of nature with the man succeeding in the end. In the mental level the struggle continues in the form of fight between the animal man and spiritual man, between light and darkness, and all types of dualities from which man needs to overcome to become victorious.

Evolution

A man is great among his fellows in proportion as he can sacrifice for others. Mans’ struggle  is in mental sphere. A man is greater in proportion as he can control his mind. When the mind and its activities are perfectly at rest then the consciousness manifests itself. The struggle which is observed in the animal kingdom for the preservation of the gross body obtains in the human place of existence for gaining mastery over the mind or for attaining the state of balance. Physical improvement is necessary for how will one struggle with mind as unless the physique is strong.

Without a knowledge of the truth there will be no life worth living. Life will be a desert and will be vain if we cannot know beyond. So if man rests content with the present and gives up all search into beyond, mankind will have to go back to animal plane again. It is this enquiry into the beyond that makes the different between man and animal.

The looking upward and seeking perfection are what is called salvation and sooner a man begins to go higher the sooner he raises himself towards this idea of truth as salvation. It does not consist in the amount of money one has, nor the dress one wears or of the house you live but the wealth of one’s mind, intellect and spiritual power that decides the man’s evolution. This is what makes human progress, that is the source of all material and intellectual progress, the motive power behind the enthusiasm that pushes mankind forward. It is not sensual pleasure but knowledge that is the goal of life.

All world is a play

The world is a playground. A drama theatre. The creator is playing, he is the producer and director and all of us are his crew. Each one of us is assigned a different role, put in different garb and led into the world. A beggar now, king in the next and saint in the succeeding play. Thus we are putting on different garb to let the creator spin his plan.

When the baby is at play, she will ignore that calls of her mother and once she finishes she rushes back to her mother. Similarly, when our play in this world is over and done with we want to move from here to here after. Then all our toil will be of no value. Our family, name, fame, wealth, joys and sorrows, success and failures will be no more and the whole life will seem like a show. We shall see only the infinite rhyme joining an endless and purpose less going not knowing where to.  Only this much shall we say our play is done.

Path to the freedom

Liberation is not attained by the weak. It needs setting aside all theories and dogmas. It needs one to be conscious of our dignity, reflect calmly every day, by oneself, the acts and dealing of us with others and find out that one is not just being an intermediate specie between an animal and man, which we are when all our energies are spent in eating, sleeping, procreating and struggling to live and die and trouble by the desires, hatred and jealousy.  The path to freedom requires one to shed weakness and control our mind, thought, and intellect which is acquired by cultivating the right attitude.

  1. I am here to play

We are here to play. What was started with hope became a task amidst play and terrifying somewhere along the way. How do we avert it? Like we see a painting a terrible one, but not affected by it. We may even enjoy it, comment upon its techniques, wonder about it, all despite the picture being a horrible scene. That is because of not internalizing it, not being part of it, merely of being a witness and not being attached to it. That is the secret to living – The feeling “I am the spirit”, “I am the witness” and when something sad or evil thought occurs saying “I am the spirit. Nothing external can touch me. I am ever blessed and has no reason to suffer”. “This universe is my museum and I am looking at successive paintings. They are of all shades, good and evil but yet are outside of me and these event have no impact on me”.

  1. Balanced Mind

The balanced mind does more work. The less passion there is better the work. The calmer the one better it is for one to deliver more work. When feelings are let loose more energy is wasted, nerves become weak, mind is disturbed and because of this wasted of energy in many fronts one is able to deliver only less work. The energy that ought to have gone out as work is spent as more feeling which counts for nothing. The man for whom nothing can make angry accomplishes much more than one who gives way to anger, hatred or any other passion.  It is the calm, forgiving equable, well balanced mind that does greatest amount of world.

  1. Control Your Thoughts

By renunciation and practice is the mind brought under control. Like waves in a lake, thoughts and sense impression keep rising and continue in mind. From these waves raise desire. From these desires comes will and that will then get translated into various action through body. Like waves are endless so also desires, thoughts and actions. Hence mind is always being tossed by countless impressions of wants. The mind has to be divested of all disturbances or modifications, taken back to the earlies state of calmness such that there is no trace of various modification and desires. Then will consciousness manifest.

  1. Meditate on this

“I am neither the body, nor the mind, nor the intellect then who am I”. Then only one will be established in the real nature of the soul/atman. The atman is everything. You are none other than the relative consciousness born in this world to experience, work and enjoy. You are the only reality, the all-pervading atman. If and when you realize this, then only you will attain peace.

Liberation

Everyone from creator down to blade of gross is advancing towards the realization of his real nature. And none can escape the rounds of birth and death until he realizes his identity with Brahman. Getting the human birth, when the desire for freedom becomes very strong, along with it comes the grace of a person of realization and then man’s desire for self. Knowledge becomes intensified

Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest divinity within by controlling nature, both external and internal. We do this either by work, or worship, by mind or intellect, by one or all of these and be free.

Break your chain and be free. The strong shall inherit the world.

***

Notes from – I am a voice without a form – Thoughts of Swami Vivekananda” – Published by Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad, India

“Sanatsujatiyam” – The story of US

“Sanatsujatiyam” is a chapter from udyoga parva in Bhagavatam, a well known Indian epic, of the same time period as that of Bhagavat Gita. While Gita is about the dialogue between  Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the battle field, Sanatsujatiyam is the teaching of Sage Sanatsujata  to Dhrutarashtra, the blind King and the father of Kauravas who are one of the main protagonist of Mahabharata war.

The Questions

Sanatsujatiyam answers some fundamental  philosophical questions that has been in our mind from time immemorial and raised by Dhrutarashtra in this case.

What do we do to go beyond all sorrow and will we be able to look with equanimity upon gain and loss, desire and hate, old age and death, joy and sorrow, hunger and thirst, fear and fearlessness, merit and sin, decline and rise the essential dhwandhas or the duality that are the conflicts of life.

Which are the cause of transmigration and how to attain liberation from these.

Is there death are there is no death.

Who are we. What is “Brahman”? How do we know Brahman which is our essential nature. What do we do to regain our essential self.

The man thinks himself to be body, mind and senses.we are active, doing things constantly trying to avoid pain and enjoy pleasures and result is facing miseries and failure to attain freedom which is the goal of life. We are born and we die again and again continuing this life cycle only each time under different body, name and circumstances. But then question arises. Is there death. Or what is death. Who is the real person behind these names and forms.

what is the knowledge that would make man immortal free from the duality of the world. Can enlightenment be reached and death be conquered by performance of Vedic rituals. Could it be done through combination of ritual and knowledge. Seers are of the view that there is death and no death. How can these contradictory views can be realised.

Who are we and when do we die are some of the questions asked of  Sage Sanatsujata and he replies to them as follows.

Who are we

The scriptures say ones real nature is liberation. We are divine beings. We are on vacation in this world.  The death happens when we forget that and fall from that state to this life. This forgetting of the natural state is the cause of all our problems in this life and the start of Karmic activities of production, attainment, modification and purification.

Ignorance is the cause of bondage and knowledge is the cause of liberation and we are all deluded because of this sheath of ignorance

The Atma or the soul residing in a person is beyond body and mind and beyond and continues in three states of waking, dream and deep sleep of a person. Since one is Atma there is no birth and death.

Body identification and doership is the cause for miseries of life. The man who is created from water, five elements, has gross body that embodies soul in his heart which is purely consciousness, and wrongly identifies himself with gross body. This body identification creates  self-not self concept and that leads to all sorrows, joy, misery and worry again based on his karma. Body identification leads to samsara in other words this circle of life of desire fulfillment, old age, decay and death. The five sense organs, the five organs of action, mind and intellect twelve in all are the cause of externalities and by withdrawing them internally the cause of transmigration is avoided and bliss is attained.

When any activity has to be carried out it has to be done with total detachment, without the feeling of ” I ” am doing it and expectation of result. Thus when mind is pure and free from desire and emotions of anger, greed, jealousy etc self knowledge and realisation happens. If one thinks the body is real and there are these unfulfilled desires at the time of death then the soul carries them along with it and comes back again and again. Hence no liberation from this cycle of life or samsara. When sense objects and desire arising from sense organs are understood to be transient and ephemeral leading to more karma and sorrow and overcome liberation is achieved. Raising above the body level and keeping the mind content and calm which happens when there is no thinking or no mind, or when activities of the mind ceases then path to liberation opens.

The  Brahman

The Brahman is that which is beyond cause and effect, all pervasive, beyond the reach of speech and mind that which is present in every being and object in the universe.it is experienced as pure consciousness. The Brahman has no form. It is infinite and not confined into any space and not made up of five elements. It can not be negated and is beyond ignorance. It is subtler than the subtlest and bigger than anything imaginable. It is that from which all in the universe emerges and  and at the end time of universe everything merges with it.  The entire universe shines because of the light of the Brahman. All the universe is established in it.

The person who is born in this world, the self, is the manifestation of Brahman and the self is a non-dual, infinite consciousness and bliss. The knower of self knows it as Brahman and who knows it becomes immortal.

Know Brahman

It is the creator, the supreme being who creates the entire universe out of five elements – fire, air, Earth, water, and ether- in everything and everyone and transmigrates. Who makes him do that and for what purpose and what happens when that action ceases is the play of creation. It is Brahman the being, pure consciousness and bliss.

The Brahman can be attained by truth, rectitude, humility, control of the senses, purity of mind and knowledge and keeping out pride and delusion.

Avoid these

As to the question if one can escape the consequences of sinful acts if he has learnt the scriptures the answer is no and that the fruits of good and bad activities have to be experienced separately and that one does not negates the other. The Brahman can be obtained by tapas which is rigour, penance and austerity. As it is affected the qualities of desire, anger, lust, greed, ignorance, pleasure from sense objects, cruelty, casting aspersions delusion, complaining, worry, covetousness malice, envy and hatred aspirant should avoid these qualities. Also one should avoid sense gratification, prosperity at the cost of others (note the qualifier here), lamenting giving away of gift after it is done, willing to face humiliation for gain, lack of discrimination, boasting and  ill treating one’s spouse.

Pride and the qualities that amplify it are also to be avoided by one.

Cultivate these qualities

One who knows Brahman is a brahmana. (Note – it is by qualities and not be birth). And the twelve great qualities of brahmana are speaking truth, speaking what is good for others, controlling ones mind, studying scriptures, caring for well being of others, proprietary, not talking about faults of others in public, self control under all circumstrances and control of senses. Thus those who have achieved these qualities would be in a position to attain great knowledge and success and position in this world.

Control of senses is effective when along with above qualities one is not quarrelsome, respects all, not lamenting about past or worrying about future, equanimous in all circumstances, Knowledgeable, not causing injury to others, detached and spiritualistic.

Practising the above leads one to happiness.

Know thy self

An object is identified by words only if it has some quality as name, form, action, and relationship with some other objects. As the self does not have any of these qualities it cannot be described but only perceived as pointed by Vedas. Self can be realised by giving up sense objects, which is done by withdrawing senses, being quite, away from all actions and by contemplation and meditation. Brahman is the source of all names and forms and self is Brahman. So knower of the self knows the source of everything in the universe. Attaining Brahman, the ultimate reality, pure consciousness, bliss (sat, chit, ananda) that is happiness, and that is the goal of life. And those who attain the knowledge of self are liberated.

Thus one who knows himself to be Brahman had no death. It is unborn and is the self of all moving and unmoving. By meditating on this he is fulfilled. Brahman is immortal and all beings are born from it and merge into it. Brahman is the self, not self and all that exist and exist not.

-Karparation

Ref:

-“Sanatsujatiyam” translated by S N Sastri

  • Discourse by Shri Swami Anubhavananda Saraswati on Sanatsujatiyam – available on YouTube

Meditation

Meditation is the simple practice of withdrawing from activity, sitting still, pulling ones sense organs internally- eyes closed, ears blocked to outside noise – mind being oblivious to the external disturbances of TV, radio, print media, conversations, and other noises. When that happens the energy that is focused there off, needing something to focus on, is automatically turned inward to ones own thoughts, emotions, desire, aspirations, wants, neediness and so on. Observation of these thought patterns, here the operating word is observation and not control, is of immense use in understanding self, obtaining clarity of why one behaves the way he behaves, and knowing the way ahead.

To quote from upanishad the conversation between saje Yagnavalkiya and king Janaka, where Janaka wants to know the cause of light or knowledge, he raises a question and the conversation goes like this.

What serves man for light – The Sun

When the sun has set forth what gives light -The Moon

When there is no moon  – The Fire offers light

When the fire is extinguished – The voice

And when there is no voice –

Then he himself, the Atman, the soul, his own inner light guides him. That which is the spirit behind the sense organs, one that is in ones heart, soul, mind, in and out and the essential knowledge acts as light to oneself. That is in knowing oneself one becomes light unto himself.

Thus the man who spends his energy in gathering knowledge from his environment, seldom spends time to understand himself, his true desires, needs, wants, aspirations, his weakness and strengths, that which would lead him to ultimate happiness. Unknown and invisible these ideas, creative instincts, thought forms that are not expressed create a gnawing discontent in him despite all the progress he might have made.

The meditation is an appointment with oneself to understand the question – ” Who am I?”. It is a method of self help, counseling, brain storming such that alignment of the soul, spirit,Mind and actions can be enabled.

It is a practice to understand ourselves, our existence, truth of our being, our mind, gain knowledge and ultimately obtain bliss.

There are multiple names, forms and techniques of meditation. Ultimately it is a natural process available to everyone freely. So let us meditate.

 

 

Leon Denis On Sorrow and Suffering – Part II

On Inevitability of suffering:

Suffering is not expiation. All nature suffers: all which lives—the plant, the animal, the man, are submitted to pain. Suffering is a means of evolution, of education.

Physical suffering and moral anguish refine the spirit, and only the benefactions acquired by ourselves, slowly and painfully, are appreciated. Sorrow, suffering, are obligatory roles of earth life. They are the whip—the spur urging us on, and so the evils of life have only a relative and passing character.The soul never sings better than when in sorrow. When pain touches the depths of being, it brings forth eloquent and powerful appeals which move the world.

On Sorrow –  is it a reparation for the past—a ransom for faults committed?

At the foundation, sorrow is only a law of education and equilibrium. Without doubt the faults of the past fall upon us with all their burdens, and determine the conditions of our destiny. Suffering is often only the counterstroke of violations of eternal order: but shared by all, it should be considered as an agent of development—a condition of progress. All beings must submit to it in their turn; its action is beneficial to those who understand it, but only those can understand it who have felt its powerful effects.

On sorrow being a tool for elevation

The history of the world is but the story of the coronation of the soul by sorrow. Without it, virtue could not be complete, or glory imperishable. We must suffer, to grow and to conquer; acts of sacrifice increase spiritual radiations. There is a luminous train which follows spirits of heroes and martyrs in space. Those who have not suffered cannot comprehend these things, for they see only the surface of life; their feelings have not been amplified, and their thoughts embrace only narrow horizons. So, by the will, we can vanquish sorrow, or at least turn it to our profit, and make it an instrument of elevation. The idea that we make for ourselves of joy and pain varies infinitely with the evolution of the individual. The good, wise, and pure soul cannot find happiness in the same manner as the vulgarian.

virtues, sorrow is necessary. Misfortunes and trials stir in us the sources of an unknown life—a more profound life. Sadness and suffering cause us to see, hear, and feel a thousand delicate and powerful things that the happy or the vulgar man never perceives. The material world begins to seem obscure—another is vaguely designed but grows more and more distinct,

Misfortune and anguish are needed to give the soul its richness, its moral beauty, and to awaken its sleeping senses. The sorrowful life is an alembic from which are distilled souls for better worlds. The form, like the soul, is embellished by suffering. There is a charm, at once tender and serious, in the faces which have been often bathed in tears. They take on an austere beauty—a sort of majesty—impressive, yet seductive.

Leon Denis on – “Death”

Death

Death is but a change of state; the destruction of a fragile form which no longer furnishes life with the necessary conditions for its evolution. On the other side of the tomb, another phase of existence opens. The spirit in form etheric, imponderable, prepares for new incarnations.

Know that the bones and dust which lie there are nothing; the souls which animated them are gone. They will come again in more refined and subtle forms. From the bosom of the Invisible, where your prayers reach and move them, they follow you with their loving eyes; they smile, and they respond to your thoughts. They are often at your side—these beloved beings you seek in the cemetery. They come and watch over you—they who were the companions of your joys and sorrows. Around you float a throng of beings who disappeared in death, a throng which calls to you, and tries to show the path for you to pursue.

Why, then, this fear of death—this poignant anxiety regarding the act which is not the end of life?

The spiritualist knows death ends nothing. It is for him the entrance into a mode of life full of rich impressions and sensations. Not only are we still in possession of spiritual joys, but they are augmented by new resources and more varied powers of enjoyment. Death does not even deprive us of the things of earth; we continue to see those we loved and left behind us. From the bosom of space we follow the progress of this planet; we see the changes which take place; and we assist in new discoveries, in the development of nations politically, socially, and religiously:

and until the hour of our return to flesh we participate, etherically, to the measure of our power and our advancement, in the labours of those who toil for humanity. Instead of avoiding the idea of death, we should look it in the face, and know what it is. Let us disengage it from the shadows and chimeras with whichit has been enveloped, and ask of it in what manner we should prepare ourselves for this necessary and natural incident in the course of life.

 

In truth, what would happen if death were suppressed? This globe would become too small to contain the throngs of humanity. While here we weep over the departure of those who are lost to us in seeming nothingness, above us beings glorified welcome their arrival in the light in the same manner that we welcome the arrival of an infant whose soul comes to blossom newly on earth. Our dead are the living in Heaven.

Many people fear the physical phases of death, but the spirits tell us that the moment of death is almost always painless. Death is but falling asleep. The knowledge which we have been able to acquire of the conditions of the future life exercises a great influence on our last moments. It gives us more assurance, and enables the soul to quickly disengage itself.

Death is but a change of state; the destruction of a fragile form which no longer furnishes life with the necessary conditions for its evolution. Our progress demands that one day or another we should be relieved from this earthly envelope which, after having rendered its service, becomes unsuitable for other plans of destiny.

Every time death knocks at our door in its splendid austerity it is an invitation to us to live better, to act better, and to increase the worth of our lives by ceaseless efforts. Death, it tells us, changes nothing in our spiritual nature or our character—that which constitutes the veritable ME. It simply sets us free in the measure of our advancement.

While here we weep over the departure of those who are lost to us in seeming nothingness, above us beings glorified welcome their arrival in the light in the same manner that we welcome the arrival of an infant whose soul comes to blossom newly on earth. Our dead are the living in Heaven. Many people fear the physical phases of death, but the spirits tell us that the moment of death is almost always painless. Death is but falling asleep.

The human being pertains to two worlds. By his physical body, he is tied to the visible world ; by his etheric body, to the invisible. Sleep is the temporary separation of the two bodies; Death, the separation definite. Birth is a death to the soul. It is prisoned with its etheric body in the tomb of flesh. What we call death is simply the return of the our soul to liberty, enriched by the acquisitions it has been able to make during the course of its earth life.

The best means of securing a sweet and peaceful death, is to live worthily, simply, soberly, and to vitalise existence with high thoughts and noble actions.

Excerpt from: “Life and Destiny”, Leon Denis (1846 – 1927), Translated by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ascension

And if I go,
while you’re still here…
Know that I live on,
vibrating to a different measure
–behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me,
so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
–both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest.
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart,
…I will be there.

Ascension copyright ©1987, Colleen Corah Hitchcock