Thursday, October 24, 2013

Babylon's burning


Karma is the drug of moral supremacy. It's a long and winding road that leads back - not just to Hinduism, Buddhism, the Upanishads, or the Vedas - but to non-Aryan peoples and before the Indus Valley civilisations ...

What we know today as "karma" originated in a radical cultural change during the period of the Upanishads. These texts reveal that what was in the Vedas - a simple notion of "action" linked to solar cultism and the positive spiritual outcomes of sacrifice and ceremonial rites - was later reinterpreted as holding lasting negative consequences, which had to be mitigated at all costs.

What happened? It was particularly the shramana who were responsible for this development: a non-Brahmanical, non-Vedic, non-Aryan, ancient religious movement. The shramana impacted on the Indus Valley civilisations of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa - and there is now definitive evidence to say that their tradition preceded and ran parallel to historical Vedic religion. Although generally associated with asceticism, sramana practices also included extreme materialism. The tradition embraced a wide range of beliefs spanning self-mortification to the unashamed pursuit of a luxurious life. Yoga originated with the shramana - and they also introduced the notions of moksha, samsara and transmigration into Vedantic society, which would later become major doctrinal features of both Buddhism and Hinduism.

Most of the shramana were not of the Indus Valley civilisation. For example, the oldest strand of the movement, the vratya (now known as the Jains), were the forerunners of Indo-European-speaking peoples who entered northern India from Iran. They were possibly even non-Indo-European in origin. The shramana lived alongside the rishi - the yatis, munis, vaikhanasas and mundaka - a pre-Hindu, earth-based Indus Valley peoples who practised self-cultivation. The rishi sang the nature hymns and directly received the divine wisdom of the universe, which was later written down in the Vedas. Meanwhile the Vedics were Indo-Aryan pastoralists. The ancient texts reveal that they held the ascetics of the Vedic age in considerable contempt. But the same texts also show that from the time of the composition of the Samhitas and Brahmanas onwards, the Vedics were deeply influenced by the non-Aryan and pre-Aryan cultures. After phases of henotheism and pantheism - because of the shramanic influence - the anthropomorphism of the Vedas became the monism of the Upanishads ...

During the time of the Upanishads, shramanic thought began to exert a much stronger influence on Vedic society. Protest against Brahmanical sacrifices, the inequalities of the Vedic caste system and a degenerated brahmin priesthood meant that it was more open to radical streams of opinion. Shramana culture was non-hierarchical and believed that each person was responsible for his own deeds. It had always objected to the Brahmanical emphasis on a world creator and omnipotent deities; the authority of the Vedas as revealed texts; and the complex ritualism of the Brahmanas. In stark contrast, traditional Vedic beliefs upheld the importance of ceremonies and sacrifices performed by a privileged elite to assure the good will of the gods. For them the ideal was an active and ritually punctuated life, without more meditative contemplation until the final stage of life. Man was obliged to study the Vedas, perform sacrifices, and produce male offspring. These ideas were now challenged and the Vedic brahmins abandoned their sacrifice of animals. Developing the notions of Brahman and Atman out of the Vedas and the Brahmanas, they formulated new doctrines from non-brahmanical sources. Between roughly 500 and 300 BCE, the brahmins incorporated shramanical concepts into their religious texts - such as karma, transmigration and samsara - and moksha through ahimsa, renunciation, austerities and solitary contemplation.

It was particularly the shramana we now know as the Jains, the Buddha and the Ajivikas who introduced the notion of karma into Vedantic society. There were three main definitions. The vratya (Jains) argued that karma is the fruit of one's action conceived as material particles which stick to us and occlude our natural omniscience. The historical Buddha said that karma was a chain of causality, leading to attachment to the material world and hence rebirth. (He was in fact forging a "middle way" between the extremes of opinion within the shramana). Meanwhile the ascetics who became the Ajivikas were fatalists, pronouncing karma as pre-ordained and inescapable.

What we now call "karma" then, is an evolutionary mixture of the Vedic notion of "action" linked to sacrifice and ceremony and the shramana concepts of "action" bearing notions of negative result. The Vedics had no need for theories of salvation. They were invested in "timelessness" (aja) and existence as the "unborn" at the hub of a world perpetually in time and motion. For them, "action" was linked to the idea of "non-dying" (amrtam), which originated in the cycles of the sun. The sun continually died and was reborn: this sequence needed constant renewal through the action of sacrifice. Applied to the human individual, man therefore needed to perform ceremonial rites which ensured his life continued. And just as in life, the human existence needed constant renewal through sacrifices and ceremonial rites, life after death also demanded the same type of action to avoid repeated dying.

With the impact of shramanism, this completely changed. Now the continuity of life and the afterlife was thought to happen necessarily and automatically as the cycle of samsara - without sacrificial action and the performance of ceremonial rites. And, it was an individual's religious duty to escape this cycle. This was a profound shift away from the Vedic conception of man operating as the 'stillpoint' of a turning world of time. No longer did man as the "timeless" and "unborn," experience "birth" and "death" in continual succession, throughout this life and the next. No more was his activity completely interwoven with nature, perpetuating its cycles and exerting a profound and unique influence upon them. Now man had become, solely, a creature of time. He was born and he died. According to the new way of thinking, man was a separate individual who needed to regain his status as something timeless and unborn.

It's important to understand that from a timelessness that was inseparable from the procession of time - and was in fact its expression - Indian society now moved to something that was the union of the timeless and time as two separate entities. Here the timeless as the dynamic of time itself was left behind in preference of a "one" that was a "two": a static, ultimate state devoid of the pulse of life. These two concepts were entirely different. While timelessness-as-time was an infinite endlessness with which man was entirely interwoven, the Upanishadic notion of Brahman was timelessness as the opposite of time: an ultimate superstate beyond's man's reach. As agro-pastoralists, the early Vedic peoples were seamless with nature and embodied its cycles. They enacted timelessness through moving with their animals across the seasons and performing their rituals in concert with the sun. This was completely different from the later reinvention of Brahman. Now man was lost in an odyssey of rediscovery, where he would only recover timelessness as another separate entity. In effect, man and his original relationship with timelessness - as experienced in nature - had been ruthlessly carved out of the equation.

The Upanishadic Brahman had two forms. The Maitriyanya Upanishad says that food is the source of the world; time is the source of food; and that the sun is the source of time. So the first form of Brahman began with the sun, was time itself and possessed "parts" (kala) - as opposed to the second form of Brahman - which was prior to the sun, timeless and without "parts" (akala). Thus we see the necessity for a redemptive theology. For liberation to occur, man had to transcend the dualism of time and timelessness and realise Brahman as a non-dual "one." This concept of moksha was therefore constructed by the brahmins and fixed in place using the shramanic notion of karma. Positive actions would see one's identification with Brahman. Negative actions would see one confined to the individual self and unable to attain liberation.

Clearly, the notion of karma is not Buddhist since Buddhism (like its antecedent Jainism) grew out of the shramana movement as a whole, spearheaded by the radical thinking of the historical Buddha. And, karma cannot possibly be Hindu either. Later forms of Brahmanism in conjunction with Buddhism provided the foundation for what was subsequently named "Hinduism" in the medieval period of Indian history. Nevertheless Hindus have done many things with the three notions of karma put forward by the Jains, the Buddha and the Ajivikas. Buddhism formulated karma as a cycle of cause and effect linked to the 12 stages of paticcasamuppada or dependent origination. Some Hindus support this and some do not. Theistic schools of Hinduism such as Vedanta suggest that the personal will of the Supreme God, Ishwara, is directly involved in the forces of karma. Or a devotee may hope that their satguru, acting on a god's behalf, will transmute or work out some of their karma for them. The meaning of karma also further differs depending on which of the Hindu texts you look at. For some Hindus, karma is the performing of yagya - uniting the atman with the paramatman - as described in the Upanishads or prescribed by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. For others, karma is a more general, dispassionate and intelligent action undertaken in the broader appreciation that what we do always influences the future.

The first thing to notice is that nowhere in Hinduism is karma attached to the notion of reward and punishment. The Hindu has free will over their actions. Karma is simply the extension or expression of what they choose to think, say and do: whether Ishwara presides over this process or not. Additionally, the effects of any one action can always be offset by other actions. There is no pre-ordained single experience in the future - which could be any punishment or reward - as the direct, one-to-one, corresponding outcome of a single act in the past. Nor is there any such notion of retribution in the Vedas. Latest translations of the Rig Veda show that the brahmins believed the individual went backwards and forwards between Earth and the realm of the ancestors. Here moral behaviour had no bearing on the afterlife. It is only the shramana religious movement that introduced the idea that morality influences the quality of one's actions.

The other thing is that with these varied understandings of karma, we move straight out of the realm of "truth" into that of simple "opinion." Karma is a concept - not an actuality - and once you pick one of its many definitions over another, you are operating according to subjectivity, preference and an individual's own belief. Karma is an interpretation of reality, not reality itself. All concepts are built up by someone: they are manufactured and they are only personal truths. The establishment of the belief in karma in early Indian society was therefore a political act: an attempt to establish a hegemony of knowledge where none existed. There is no single "truth" handed down through the aeons: only a constantly shifting alliance of ideas supported by political expediency and power!

A concept is just a concept: it is never an absolute fact. In Tiruvannamalai however, the "universal truth of karma" has become the calling card of religious fetishists and spiritual drag queens. (Why do you think we invented the character Sister Klaus as a satirical device with which to lampoon these people?) Clothing themselves in its conceptual embrace, certain people declare that Arunachala is a punishing moral arbitrator. According to them, the mountain rewards the chosen few, striking down all who morally transgress. In South India, these ideas intensified with the advent of the Christian missionaries under British colonialism. The Advaita on the streets of today's Tiru is a dualistic Hindu-Christian hybrid ... often laced with a strong dose of Indian nationalism ...

The insistence of a few local residents that Arunachala stands in judgement of those of us who dare not to believe in karma - has nothing to do with Hindus or Hinduism. It is the product of an extremist, fanatical mindset born of ignorance, discrimination and a lack of personal power. It's like trying to explain the early history of Christianity and gnosticism to a Born Again Christian. However cogent your argument, they will always claim that you have been hijacked by dark powers. For them, it is purely a matter of blind faith not open to any form of discussion, let alone a rational argument. We have even been described by some in Tiruvannamalai as "asuras" (demonic entities). It seems that apostates of every generation are denounced in a similar manner. Even the historical Buddha was described as such by the brahmins of his day.

What we find most fascinating is that those who make these claims are so often the victims of their own moral mindset. Many of those passing judgement are the ones engaging in 'immoral' activities themselves. Outward displays of piety hide adultery, same sex liaisons, occult tantric practices, alcoholism and drug abuse ... you name it, any of the so-called vices! In Tiru, the "religious" are furtively indulging up to their eyeballs behind closed doors. Morality always goes hand-in-hand with immorality: prescription breeds addiction. With the adoption of a set of rules, what has been excluded casts a long shadow. It's all talk, no action; saying, not doing ... Truly, this is the homeland of the hypocrite!

Karma ... it's a killer. It's up there with original sin as one of the premier search-and-destroy monsters that cripples our collective mindset. Guilt, fear and oppression are all by-products of our mindless consumption of its pernicious ideas. Mired and trapped in concepts such as karma, the underlying assumptions of religion are never examined and blindly parroted as a form of Über Truth. If you use the building blocks of a collective delusion - even if they are universally accepted - without deep self-reflection, that is where it all goes horribly wrong ...

This blog is satire and employs mockery, research, challenge and personal opinion to prompt that self-reflection. It is not for those who wish to uphold the status quo. Satire is a deadly serious business. It is how each generation calls to account the powers that be. If you don't like what we write, don't read it - as we've said numerous times before. Take responsibility for your own opinions and create something better! You can always start your own blog and say whatever you think. (Just don't blame us if nobody reads it!)

We don't mind other views. But don't expect us to agree with them or to not say what we think. Our view is that it is vitally important to examine each and every religious assumption to see if it squares with lived reality. We hold that there is no such thing as karma except in somebody's personal belief system. Anybody can see with just a little investigation, that the cause of an event is an ever-shifting paradigm. It is only an egoic tendency which distills a single reason out of an endless interconnection of events. If we follow our own experience, in connection with the body, we find that understanding is not necessary for events which just unfold. What actually happens is a mystery and we don't even need to know ... The "teachings of enlightenment" make us follow rules other than our own. They have been imposed upon us by history's winners, disconnecting us from our intuition and direct perception of reality. Karma is a fairy tale concept divorced from the very essence of timelessness. What we have enshrined in our collective belief systems is completely ungrounded. No more than a Dali-esque dream sequence, it's a bad fantasy made real. A collision of ancient worlds which took us away from our natural state!

Isn't it absurd, that in this day and age, a difference of opinion is considered a hanging offence? Stating your own opinion is not a threat to others, unless somebody somewhere is quietly sponsoring "truth." In the absence of the demand for only one set of beliefs, contradictory opinions can quite legitimately co-exist. But when the urge for conformity and suppression of dissident views takes over, we have an open bazaar of personal tyranny - which condemns its friends and neighbours - and then patronises them with pity and asinine compassion. "Truth" and being "right" turns people into little gods. Is the religious identity in Tiruvannamalai - so brittle and so needy - that it needs to eradicate all opposition in order to reign supreme?

Babylon is a metaphor for a harlot's nest of corrupt religious ideas, especially karma. It's an imagined realm of ivory towers and castles in the sky that masks a profound lack of embodiment. We say burn it down. Its day is done!



87 comments:

  1. Wow! Very well written and researched! Great work!

    The idea that the universe, let alone God, rewards "good" deeds or do-gooders and punishes "bad" deeds and wrongdoers, are all fantasies of the human mind........a figment of human imagination. The universe does operate by laws, but NOT by ethics or morals, which are also creations of the human mind. To say that God or the universe enforces morals and ethics with rewards and punishments respectively is false. This is the first reason why I do not believe in karma or reincarnation, as a Hindu.

    In addition, if you look at it from another point of view, there is the "desire" to accumulate "good" karma and the "desire" to eliminate "bad" karma in order to obtain a better birth, let alone moksha. And since desire (as a form of "grasping") leads to suffering, then the egoic "desire" to accumulate "good" karma and eliminate "bad" karma itself will lead to suffering, and not to freedom from suffering, which is sourced in the ego itself and its "grasping" (to use the Buddhist term) in the form of attachment, aversions, wants, needs, hope, expectations and desires. This is also what I recently realized and is another reason why I have stopped believing in these ideas myself.

    Thanks for a great post! I am glad you yourself don't believe any of this nonsense. Namaste!

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  2. The last thing that I realized, which I forgot to mention, is that karma, looking at it from the perspective of Middle Way (Madhyamika) Buddhism, is "empty" in that it has no self-existing nature (svabhava) and depends upon the human concepts of time, causality (i.e. cause and effect) and dualism (right/wrong, moral/immoral, etc...) for its own existence. Without these human concepts, the whole notion of "karma", does not stand, which is why it is "empty" and dependently arisen. Karma is said to be the "cause" of reincarnation in the form of rewards and punishments, which, as you mentioned and correctly pointed out, is a fantasy and is thereby false. Karma is based on causality, which itself is a concept of the human mind and is based on the concept of time.......and maybe both time and space, which themselves are concepts of the human mind. Therefore, karma and causality are both "empty" and dependently arisen/originated, because without causality, karma would not arise or exist and vice-versa.

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  3. Are we to surmise that the macrocosm and microcosm as a system radiates indifference?

    The philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer declares that 'the self we are does not possess itself, one could say it just happens, subject to the accidents of time and fragments of history'

    summer

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  4. Hey Kevji, I read your article and found it very informative. You did a lot of research and there's a lot of balance and common sense transpiring from those words. I'm really in sync with your approach based on personal experience without relying too strongly on unproven assumptions. Opinions are just concepts (no matter where they come from), and on the conventional plane of verbal and intellectual confrontation they can be nothing but relative. I have an inkling, though...in my experience reality adapts to whatever belief people tend to grip on. Exactly because of relativity, in a wide sense, nobody is neither wrong nor right. Personal experiences simply have the tendency to shape themselves around faiths and beliefs. This way to look at thing seems to me very consistent with the cutting edge research in physics as well. I see an amazing convergence between the so called "spirituality" and hard science in these days. Basically it seems to emerge more and more that there's an unbounded field of potentiality from which anything possibly conceivable arises. Take a quick look at this: Click here

    If it's true that time is an emergent property of reality, that means that from an outside perspective in relation to our universe, time is not something that is perceived as an unfolding entity anymore. Which implies that concepts like free will and karma do not apply anymore. So they can only condition our existence right here right now, which brings me to think that, at the end, it's a matter of choice (or inclination if you don't believe in free will). We are subjected to karma in a more or less pervasive way depending on our perception of the concept itself and the weight we give to it.

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  5. As Ramana says "Men love women, hate snakes, and are indifferent to the grass and stones by the roadside. These value-judgments are the cause of all the misery in the world. Creation is like a peepul tree: birds come to eat its fruit, or take shelter in its branches, men cool themselves in its shade, but some may hang themselves on it. Yet the tree continues to lead its quiet life, unconcerned with and unaware of all the uses it is put to. It is the human mind that creates its own difficulties and then cries for help"

    Reading the above, sometimes you feel you are on safe ground but other times it's like standing on a shifting sand dune!

    Summer

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  6. In all the world which of course includes Tiruvannamalai most people suffer from 'constance a soi' - a rigid fidality? to oneself.
    Me, me, me it's going on everywhere....its self gratification, self promotion, so addictive!

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  7. The throng is gathering! Unfortunately the pressing question is not "who am I?" but "where ya from?" There'll be the Americans, heaps from eastern Europe and so on. The young and old milling around the Ramana supermarket. For the young, the ashramam is a stop between Goa and Pune. For the older ones who have been upwardly mobile until they were suddenly made redundant ... well it's all a kaleidoscope of action. It surprises me how often well heeled women talk about their babies and careers (all in one breath) even though they had partners who could have supported them at home - they opted to farm the kids out and go back to work. I guess status was all important. Where's the status after redundancy? After you've been replaced or discarded. With unemployment so high it's now time for people to pause, reflect and rejig their lives. Tiruvannamalai is the ultimate magnate for the dizzy, muddled masses, searching, perhaps both bad or sad at heart.

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  8. As the gathering swells wannabe guru's in heat will arrive. Posters will go up drawing the foolish into their orbit.
    The new age guru is intensely competative and is a driven man, its an endless quest for recognition from others and the need to bolster his self-esteem. There'll be much laughter, chatter, neo advaita spouted. Many will be left agog at his wisdom.
    The new guru, the new kid on the block may be called Gog and Magog, Mr Magoo, Koochie Koo...at the end of the day 'yawn' it just doesn't matter!

    summer

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  9. 2 quotes !!

    “Our view is that it is vitally important to examine each and every religious assumption to see if it squares with lived reality.”

    Really !!?? And what might that lived reality be? Is it something which can be described in words or deeds? Then please enlighten me.

    “The insistence of a few local residents that Arunachala stands in judgement of those of us who dare not to believe in karma - has nothing to do with Hindus or Hinduism. It is the product of an extremist, fanatical mindset born of ignorance, discrimination and a lack of personal power.

    Eh, how many people are these few you are talking about here? Could it be that they are just a few rotten apples in the basket? How can a few lunatics make you feel so uneasy and angry and judge them like they do? And why not let them have their opinion even if you and I consider it as totally stupid. Or do you think that your (or mine) opinion has more value? All talking, all discussions are about opinions; estimated value: zero, nil, nada. We are all walking opinions, ignorant, groping in the dark, desperate to catch a ray of light even if it turns out to be an ignis fatuus. Even you, Chi-Ting Master!

    However, I am happy with the picture because doesn’t it show that all this blah blah about opinions about karma is a veritable tower of Babel?

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  10. You'll have to do better than that! Anybody can examine their own experience to see if it squares with religious assumptions. And you can't nullify an argument by using the same one we just put forward. We already said we don't mind other opinions. That doesn't mean we should be silent! You're just pissed because we've lit a bonfire under your religious conceits. NEXT! ...

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  11. Kevji, you mention "lack of personal power" as a kind of deficiency or insufficiency on the part of the jiva. Isn't all power impersonal? What power does the individual possess - that hasn't flowed from that universal source - which some call grace? What is personal will power other than the grace that bestows the realisation of its absence?

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  12. All power is personal and impersonal. You can recite the Advaitic mantra or you can look into it deeply and question it. Find out the answer to your question for yourself! Use your own life experience instead of parroting the dead liturgies of a calcified and corrupt tradition! Advaita is invested in the impersonal almost totally at the expense of the personal. How does that square with your own personal reality?

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  13. I’m not religious and so have no religious conceits and I’m not pissed! So I could say that your opinion about me is wrong; but who cares, it doesn’t matter because it is just your opinion and tells only something about you. Your examination of your experiences is always based on your opinion about it, so it has no value at all, or you have to belief that so called reality is a bundle of your opinions about it. I doubt if you would go that far. My opinion is that the only thing we can say about Reality and Truth is that we don’t know it and that it is a mystery. All talking and discussing about it is just time passing twaddle and balderdash.

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  14. Then why are you indulging in what you are complaining about?!

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  15. Having confidence in a teacher who clearly knows what they're doing while demonstrating a strong moral character is to be encouraged, but projecting onto them an exaggerated identity to satisfy emotional needs is fundamentally dishonest, though some would argue perhaps necessary. It will inevitably lead to cognitive dissonance when the guru's failings have to be accounted for. However, even if an institution shields you from such disappointments, you are still entangled in your own projections.

    monk

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  16. Somewhere or other recently, I read a suggestion by the Dalai Lama that just because someone does not agree with your point of view or spiritual leaning does not mean they are somehow lost. A nice observation, I think, one that persuades me towards - Just because someone does agree with your point of view or spiritual leaning does not mean they are found, either.

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  17. They are neither lost nor found buddy, they are just absent (with or without leave) ... What do you reckon Chi-Ting Master?

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  18. Dunno, been absent all my life mate!

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  19. "Our thoughts are not our own. Our opinions which we hold dear are mostly fabricated paradigms for us to 'believe' in and thus we are coached from an early age to defend manufactured belief packages as if they are real—or as a result of some natural law of the universe. None of it is real—in that these concepts were developed as part of some turbulent flow of naturally occurring discourse among the human race—as a result of agreed upon wisdom derived from an ongoing open dialogue. It is nothing other than a mirage presented to us from the psychopathic magi at the top of the pyramid. We are given these belief packages to argue, quarrel and slaughter one another over—as the Psychopathic Control Grid carries on with its own agenda while we are being so passionate and fanatical about the controlling magician's illusions. " - Thomas Sheridan

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  20. Robert Adams was a mere youth when he first came to visit Ramana, few even knew he was there as he asked few questions and just sat silently at the Maharshi's feet. There are few tapes available and I think Adams wrote one book much later in life.
    After he passed away his family took control in a very heavy handed fashion. The family 'business' is called the Infinity institute and seems to have Christian leanings. Infinity's website has a glitzy feel to it, contrary in every way to how Robert Adams lived his life.

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  21. finally figured out this blog ... it's conversations over dinner at usha's continued in text ... :-)

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  22. Gregory, You've obviously frequented Usha's often enough to identify and recognise the chatter.

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  23. Gregory, just cos you were rejected by our Chief Talking Head - for failing to meet even elementary debating skills - you don't have to resort to bitter sarcasm ... We will consider you rejoining us if you meet our high standards as set by our founding former member, James Ramji.

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  24. TELL THAT GREGORY TO GET OFF HIS HIGH HORSE, HE'D LOOK BETTER ON A SHETLAND PONY.

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  25. Now that the inner path is closed, I wonder what happened to the sadhu's who used to live around Kattu Shiva?
    There's a massive police presence at Arunachalaswar temple; I presume they're there to replace all the sadhu's that were ousted!

    summer

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  26. The beautiful Kannappa's temple is now inaccessible. It's probably entangled and overgrown with vines...a hideaway within the inner path.

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  27. Dear Chi Ting Master,
    Arunachala, out of his immense compassion, is allowing you to live in Tiruvannamalai. To waste your time subscribing to such garbage thought processes and not spending your time purifing your mind, I am speechless. I pray that better sense will prevail in you and you will turn within and do some serious inner work that too living so close to Arunachala. --- With love from Goody two shoes

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  28. A prime example of the moronic Born Again mindset. It's the "pity and asinine compassion" we highlighted in the post. This is a moral standpoint that prevents you from listening to yourself!

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  29. Sri Edward Snowden alerted us all to that which we suspected all along. The purpose of monitoring devotees at Ramana Ashram is rather more comic. The rotating cyclops on the ceiling of the auditorium serves 2 objectives we're told ... A/ To identify devotees out of step with set rituals ... and B/ To keep an eye on the president's faltering gait ... Maybe a petition to remove the intrusive gadget should be presented to the wisest peacock that struts the Ashram grounds. The recent kumbhabishek at the ashram came and went: unfortunately that gross impurity resisted all ritualistic attempts to remove it!

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  30. Yo! Anon at 12.16pm: could it be that the President was forced to install the surveillance camera by Indian security agencies? Could it be that he resisted it for a long time till he could no longer do so?

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  31. Kevji, red alert!! Does someone knows this utter nutcase!!?? Click here

    This is a damn scary, sick and disturbing gal.

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  32. We recently featured Her Highness Satguru Sri Ramana on our Facebook page: take a look!

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  33. Please do me a favor, if this horrendous, pathological piece of work ever sets foot on Tiru, tear down every bit of the masquerade, until she only wishes to hurry flying back to England as fast as she could ever imagine. There, maybe -maybe- she will be ripe to enter a deep psychoanalysis, meanwhile taking up a sobering job at the local grocery store.

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  34. Gosh! Ramana Devi sounds fatigued, jaded and ready to pass out!
    Has any woman escaped from an asylum in England recently?

    glow

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  35. Gail Tredwell's book Holy Hell has been published. There'll be many words said for and against. Many adore their guru to the extent they become quite compliant, even adolescent in the relationship. Gail (Gayatri) was an insider with a bird's eye view of what went on in the Kerala Ashram so it should be an interesting read.

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  36. If you want the inside info on Gail Tredwell, check out Guruphiliac on Facebook (about half way down the page): click here.

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  37. was sai baba an avatar AND a paedophile?

    probably

    is amma a wild woman AND a divine mother?

    probably

    i will offer that it is immature to see life in either-or terms ..

    and we do, in so many ways, get to live in the world that reflects our personal nature.

    my comments on gayatri's book and the dramas around it

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  38. Gregory, How deluded you are! Its interesting how devotees desperate to hang on to myths, especially if they're in the inner circle or sit at the right hand side of the guru (such a badge of honour) will bypass intuition even reason and allow themselves to be abused and exploited. Perhaps waking up years later asking "what the.... what was I thinking?"

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  39. anon ..

    i happily confess to delusion ..

    one of my delusions is that i think that awareness has dimensions ranging from subtle to gross, and the reality that one perceives, and lives within, is determined by the degree of subtlety of one's awareness.

    another is, i don't think behavior has much to do with state of consciousness.

    another is, belief is a mental disease that acts like a dam in a river. if one has arrived at belief, and stops there, one hasn't gone far enough.

    and faith? faith as an adherence to possibility is a fortunate quality to possess ... faith as an addiction to a set of mental constructs is rather unfortunate.

    and, let's see, any other delusions? yes, i think that there are beings on this planet who are much more capable than others, and there are some for whom life itself is absolutely no challenge at all, and it is sometimes beneficial for the less capable to be in their company for awhile.

    other delusions, too, but i delude myself that my time is important and i should get back to what i was doing :-)

    enjoy,

    gregory

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  40. A friend just witnessed a Dandapani sadhu refused entry and turned away from the main gate of the Arunachaleswar temple. The temple is swarming with all manner or police obviously happy to accommodate the well heeled and discourage the very poor.

    Is there some sort of unofficial privatization going on in Tiruvannamalai? Temples, tirtham's and the inner path are all out of bounds or under lock and key!

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  41. This bolsters my opinion that religion is best used as a source of material for entertainment. The kind that admits it's just entertainment, I mean. My Name Is Earl comes to mind here.
    That was funnier in my head. Not the wordsmith you are, sir. I love it when you go all scholarly on us and lay waste.
    Now I'm gonna go outside and worship the Sun.

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  42. Kevinji ..another one of your great egocentric ideas ... everyone knows you do not have karma ... just part of being a Guru ...Yes?

    So let's blame the god/s/goddesses at Microsoft who creates the various software for individual, planets, Solar and Galactic systems. They may even have created a planetary software that does not include 'karma'. Maybe Kevinji is from one of those systems and is confused about where he is now residing;... but here on Planet Earth it's still the old systems call Physics. Where there is 'Action' there is Karma. Remember 'Action' has two aspects (1. projection and 2. reflection/karma is this. So for your revealing insights in this article you have been awarded the 2014 Newtonian Medal of Anti-Physics! Now for the rest of us we can go on with our raping, plundering, lying and killing since there is no consequences for our actions. (Sooo.. nice to get ride of 'guilt'). Like you say Kevin this karma thing always gets in the way of having a good time....not that it ever stopped anyone from their questionable behavior. But for those of 'sound mind' not buying the new 'revelation' there is a real solution to transforming(alchemy) of one's misqualified energy;... that Principal is known as the "Transmuting Violet Flame" a 7th dimensional 'grace'. Once you 'standunder' and reconnect the Personality Principal (that means you as we know you in the outer) with the I AM (Ego Principal) Presence/Source/Paramatma you have both the right and privilege to invoke the 'karmic eraser'/fire into the atoms of your physical body finalizing your purification. The instructions of today have nothing to do with philosophy or religion but with actual application of Divine Alchemy. Remember nothing less than 'light' can enter 'Source'! So get busy and clean house if you expect to graduate from this school room and become an Actualized Being. How few people on this planet have understood those fundamental words..."I AM"! Has anyone ever read the first Chapter (ver.1) of St. John (bible)... "in the beginning was the 'word' and the 'word' was with God and the 'word' was God.... ". That word for the dense is "I AM". Until the Kundalini is activated and raised to the Crown chakra you can not and will never know what the Words 'I AM' mean. This involves MASTERY of the second charka (Tantra Yoga)... not easy folks but possible. It only took me 40 years and a lot of beautiful goddesses to help me. I started when I was 4 yrs. old.

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  43. In the Vedas AUM or I AM is the primary Source from which the universe has sprung from. It is the primordial vibration presents in every thing. It is the primordial sound, is the matrix of all that exists in the universe. It represents the essence of the vital energy from which the creation has sprung. This is a Warring to some....every time you seek your "Self" from outside you deny and denounce the fundamental Truth that You are That which "IS"! You must stop doing this are you will remove yourself from the planet. Stop playing games...be in the 'world but not of the world'. Start a daily practice of just one simple exercise. Place that 'faculty we call 'attention' Unwavering (meditation...single pointed concentration) upon your Source. If you do this then you will know what is being said is true.The more you do this the more light/life will flow into your body and world. You need no-one because you are the ALL; or maybe not if you are one of the 'soulless' which roam the solar system. Jesus said "when you 'eye' becomes single you will be filled with light... I know this to be absolutely true because in 1972 I stuck a ten inch screw drive through my eye and out the back of my head. For three years an Intense White Light engulfed my World. I do not know if you call this karma or just some strange form of masochism? We know there is no such thing as an accidents in Microsoft's perfect world.

    Maybe Later and Maybe Not!

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  44. Definitely a strange form of masochism!

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  45. No news. Chi-Ting blog est mort???

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    1. News of our demise has been greatly exaggerated! One of the strengths of the blog is that we only publish when the creative juices flow, so articles vary from academic investigation and deconstruction to Benny Hill Dada-esque nonsense. But if we think there is nothing relevant to post we keep our powder dry! Also check out our Facebook page

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    2. Waiting for any more news from the world of Neo-Advaita. I recently worked on deconstructing the teaching by Neo-Advaita and these internet spiritual groups like "Liberation Unleashed" of "seeing through the illusion of a separate self" as the means towards Enlightenment/Liberation/Awakening.

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  46. Ramana Maharishi's response to his mother's deep anguish at pavala kunru formed a key upadesa which emanated from his own experience ... 19 at the time, the reply was imparted non verbally and gave prominence to karma, Ishwara as the ordainer, the inevitability of pre ordained events and the "escape mechanism" of keeping mentally quiet while prahrabda is operative. It seems to resonate with me deep down and fills my being with deep gratitude to the Sadguru who did not partake in speculative or theoretical philosophical rambling. On a different level, I appreciate the erudite exposition of karma, tracing its historical and conceptual evolution through the ages, karma, samsara, sadhana (leading to moksha) and the like - while no doubt are all ideological constructs, even so, their absence in the sense of not being bound can also be felt. And in any case, we all get temporary reprieve during deep sleep with both the notional individual and the equally notional propelling karmic force are deemed to be non existent ... Nama Shivaya.

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    1. As enigmatic and wonderful as Ramana was, his experience is not yours. What is your personal experience? We are not interested in folk tales. Stop giving your power away and start doing the real spiritual work of walking your own path. You are not Ramana and to bathe in his reflected glory is dishonest. Just because something resonates doesn't necessarily mean it is true. Our point is that beliefs need to be embodied - tried and tested - rather than assumed on the basis of a temporary intuition. You need to speak from your own direct personal experience - and when you do - you will find there is no "speculative or theoretical philosophical rambling"; no "different level"; and no "ideological constructs."

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    2. Bathing in someone else's glory need not be dishonest. It can act as a catalyst for a sincere sadhak. Ramana Maharshi himself reflected all the majestic glory of Arunachala. That Ramana is enigmatically wonderful is ample evidence of the positive resonance absorbed by you and which permeated me and a fair few others. Maybe write a post titled The Quest and its ever present pitfalls in the form of spiritual dishonesty. There's a lot on the subconscious level which operates in tandem with well meaning intentions (such as when an individual is drawn to sadhana) so how is it possible to attribute dishonesty to that which is felt sincerely ... And in any case, one can lose his integrity while still being honest to his own self, dishonest in the eyes of others, or both from a perspective of an omniscient being such as was embodied in Sri Ramana.

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    3. Incoherent nonsense. Bathing in someone's else's glory is always dishonest. We have already written a post entitled "The Quest and its ever present pitfalls in the form of spiritual dishonesty" - it's called Chi-Ting Apocalypse!

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    4. "ur point is that beliefs need to be embodied - tried and tested - rather than assumed on the basis of a temporary intuition. You need to speak from your own direct personal experience - and when you do - you will find there is no "speculative or theoretical philosophical rambling"; no "different level"; and no "ideological constructs."

      Well said Kevji. That is the foundation of spirituality in the East such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Thanks for mentioning this! Namaste!

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  47. Read the book Holy Hell by Gayatri (Gail Tredwell) of course she was complicit as part of the inner circle she was privy to what transpired. On the other hand leaving an abusive cult after so many years takes incredible courage and strong conviction that the spiritual life would not leave her high and dry and she would not feel cast out and abandoned.

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  48. The quest and individual mileage with it will vary from person to person.
    Whats honest one day may become dishonest the next. So much depends on steady self-examination without any fanfare.

    summer

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  49. Harilal Poonjaji's ashes were brought to arunachala some years ago and laid to rest somewhere on the lower south western slopes along with a small memorial. Does any one out there knows if that shrine to Papaji is accessible, as I'm told that the closure of the inner path effectively makes it unreachable ... Thanks ...

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  50. Babylon's burning? So was London during the great fire, Rome in the days of the crazed Nero, swathes of California by angry brush fires and Kevji during his brushes with the law. Then there's Sodom following a period of unchecked depravity and the rest of us just prior to the planet turning into a white dwarf, which will be the next avatar to usher in another era of Babylonian harlots. A karmic full CIRCLE without spokes to hold on to and no center to take refuge in!

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  51. So we've got a billion years to wait on the Babylonian harlots? Damn!

    That is, Anonymous, if by "planet" you mean "Sun"...

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  52. A DAY OF BRAHMA IS MUCH LONGER THAN A BILLION YEARS ... We shall just have to be patient and not preempt the gods. And besides dear friend Double Decker, in the vedic system of jyotish, NAVAGRAHA is the 9 planets that includes both earth and sun.

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    1. 1 Kalpa = 4,320,000,000 years = one Day or Night of Brahma

      One Lifetime of Brahma = 311,040,000,000,000 years.
      (360 day/nights per year x 100 years of Brahma's lifetime)

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  53. Oh. Ok. So, what about the harlots? Where do they come in?

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    1. Good point Albert - what we need in Tiru is a laptop dancing emporium! After a hard days sadhana everyone one needs to relax and unwind their karmic knots (which don't exist anyway but who's quibbling!) I once tried to persuade Radha Ma to go into partnership and become the local Madam but unfortunately she went over to the dark side with very messy consequences ...

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  54. It's all unique, isn't it? Whatever a person's experience "spiritually" -- enlightenment, awakening, insight, whatever -- it's pertinent to the experiencer's perspective only, informs and teaches them only. And when they start trying to teach others "their" way, all it can accomplish is the production of psycho-spiritual clones who have forfeited their own unique possibility.
    Does that sound about right to you, Kevin? I haven't expressed this idea before. Guess I'm itching for some feedback...

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    1. Life cannot be patented and put in a can for mass consumption - when someones teaches "The Way" you can guarantee it's dead as a dodo!

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    2. There's no absolute truth, only personal truth - and that's just an opinion - which you will develop, revise, then drop many, many times.

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  55. Chi-Ting Master what do you make of the silent teacher Dakshinamurthi - how can silence be patented? Apparently it worked for some!

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    1. In the past Silence was the tool of occult forces: the religionists' advice to keep silence makes one implode inwardly allowing direct access for disembodied energies and possession. You only have to look at what is going on in Saradamma's Paradise Garden to see that severe mental illness is the result of such advice. The Silence that comes with no ripple on the surface is never engineered or invited. It was a common political ploy in ancient times to claim transcendent authority by keeping silent while getting others to do your dirty work for you. others would bow down in fear before such a manipulator - and that was always the desired outcome.

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  56. Desmond Decker you've got a point .... that same itching sensation that assails you is also responsible for an individual to broadcast a spiritual experience which can only be uniquely felt by him. The forfeiture stems from that itch of trying to impart the unimpartable. And now Kevji, will you please pass me that back scratcher at the end of a rod as I'm about to be overcome yet again by that funny itch - just to the left of my fifth vertebrae,a repository of many and varied spiritual experiences!

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  57. Chi-Ting Master:
    Come one give us something new. What is happening in Tiru? Did Mooji come?
    How is Sister Klaus? how is Richard Clarke? how is Meenakshi Mami? How is the Chi ting master?

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    1. Sister Klaus est mort. Richard Clarke is a fat troll. Meenakshi Mami is manic and mad. Mooji has not turned up yet but who knows if he will spring a surprise visit, his website is being very coy about his activities. And I am deeply bored of the headfuck circus that is planet advaita!

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    2. I honestly prefer Zen and Middle Way Buddhism over the Absolutist spiritual teachings like Advaita Vedanta, that does not give two licks for the Relative world, because it is "unreal" or "an illusion". What nonsense, making us lazy, complacent and even indifferent towards the suffering in the world!!!

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    3. Dear Neerav - I completely understand. Advaita is so obviously a political, shambolic synthesis of Hindu beliefs, it's hard to believe anyone could fall for it. But don't fall for Zen or Madhyamaka either. Even Madhyamaka - which is not even a philosophy but a tool for dissolving conceptual awareness - is still a method which aims to bring about enlightenment. These approaches are very shortsighted. Once you believe in such a thing as enlightenment in the first place, you are lost.

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    4. One movement in this universe goes outwards and becomes fixated on achievement and the transcendent goal of enlightenment. This movement runs against nature and the body and is a type of mental illness. The whole of society is founded on it. The other movement naturally returns and has no interest in any goal - being simply the embodiment of the way of nature. All seekers, naysayers, enlightened ones, teachers, anti-teachers, gurus, New Agers, religions and people interested in systems, beliefs, philosophy and spirituality are powered by the first movement. We have yet to see man to evolve to the level where he even knows about the second.

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    5. O Joy. At long last the true way is revealed.

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  58. Chi-Ting Master:

    Have you heard anything new on Neo-Advaita and their teachers like Jeff Foster, Bentinho Massaro, Tony Parsons, etc... I know for certain that right now, Neo-Advaita is on the downfall, and will cease to exist in a few years, it looks like. Thanks, my friend. Namaste!

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    1. Jeff Foster stopped writing to me after we wrote Rise of the Clones. Tony Parsons is doing his thing in Hampstead every month plus his gigs around europe - and Bentinho is making a nest for himself and his beach babe in Boulder.

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  59. Aaawwwhh! Chi Ting Master:

    IMO What you need is a break. In Hinduism, we go on pilgrimage or chant, do a puja at home or go to a temple. Plain meditation, with no continuing source of energy, will become dry. Not every one is a Ramana. Even Ramana had Arunachala feeding him energy.

    Of course, I dont think the Chi Ting master is doing any meditation at all either! Hee! Hee!!

    Go on a pilgrimage Chi Ting Master. You will feel better.

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    1. You also believe in idiotic nonsense like karma! So I don't think I'll be taking any advice from you ...

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  60. Neo Advaita will come back again and again and again. In a single session you can claim a tap on the head as your awakening plus you'll have a clever argument as to why all the others are not enlightened and you are - because there's no such thing. It's invincible: the ultimate supremacy for abusers, addicts and emotional cripples who refuse to take responsibility for anything.

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  61. Dear Chi Ting Master:

    Here is something I saw on the Varieties of Karma

    What do we mean, exactly, by the terms good karma and bad karma? There is good karma as well as bad, though we say there is no good nor bad--only experience. Still, some karmas are more difficult to bear, experience and re-experience than others. This is where it is extremely important to inhibit the tendencies to let loose the forces that externalize awareness, while at the same time performing the sadhana of realizing the Source through internalizing awareness. It is this constant pull between the inner and the outer, or individual awareness soaring back and forth between the externalities and internalities, that keeps churning the fiery forces of karma into the smoldering coals of dharma. Good karma is denoted by good merit, since every cause has its due effect. Therefore, so-called bad karma brings injury, pain, misunderstanding and anguish, which when suffered through completes the cycle.

    Ancient yogis, in psychically studying the timeline of cause and effect, assigned three categories to karma. The first is sanchita, the sum total of past karma yet to be resolved. The second category is prarabdha, that portion of sanchita karma being experienced in the present life. Kriyamana, the third type, is karma you are presently creating. However, it must be understood that your past negative karma can be altered into a smoother, easier state through the loving, heart-chakra nature, through dharma and sadhana. That is the key of karmic wisdom. Live religiously well and you will create positive karma for the future and soften negative karma of the past.

    Right knowledge, right decision and right action imperceptively straighten out, unkink and unwind ignorantly devised or contrived past actions. The key word is reform. Re-form, re-make, re-cast. To put into a molten state and be reformed is what happens to our karma when we enter dharma. Adharma is creating karma, good, not so good, terrible, mixed and confused. Dharma reforms all of this--reshapes and molds, allowing the devotee to do good and think good, to be clearly perceptive. Putting all the karma in a molten state is bhakti. Happy karma, sad karma, bad karma, when consciously or unconsciously wanted to be held onto, inhibits bhakti. Bhakti brings grace, and the sustaining grace melts and blends the karmas in the heart. In the heart chakra the karmas are in a molten state. The throat chakra molds the karmas through sadhana, regular religious practices. The third-eye chakra sees the karmas, past, present and future as a singular oneness. And the crown chakra absorbs, burns clean, enough of the karmas to open the gate, the Door of Brahman, revealing the straight path to merging with Siva.

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  62. There is a young man from Romania called Marius.I heard today that,in a rather unobtrusive way,he is holding meetings("satsangs")at his place.Anyone has been there?Any comments?

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    1. Rings a bell, he's he the one to use the alias Maruti (the Carpathian?) I heard this guy possesses the rare gift to penetrate a seeker's deepest underlying vasanas - suggest therapeutic mantras - and snuff out the urge to seek .... His Transylvanian ashram attracts those who expressly mock karma, vedanta, advaita etc etc. But applicants must be willing to submit to a subliminal probe, which Marius conducts with stunning results!

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    2. I'm sure Marius would welcome another smartass - who could lovingly give rhetorical head on the subjects of karma, vedanta etc etc. Why don't you truck along and wave your cultural conformity at the assembled throng?

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    3. It's not as simple as having one's cultural conformity (or non conformity) as a stumbling block - my worldview actually sits well with yours. - Problem is, modestly speaking, while I could learn a thing or 2 from u when it comes to evincing rhetorical head, I do think that in this instant I'm not up to the task. What with Marius's great great uncle Vlad the Impaler who was known to drive 6 inch nails into the space between the brows of unsuspecting satsang leeches ... I'd rather turn to you for amity, lenity, tea and sympathy.

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    4. OK lenity will suffice Master.

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