The [Indian] Caste System – Caturvarna

source: sabda.in
curated: 12 May 2016
link: http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/essay/caste-system-in-india-future-of-caste-system-in-india/39168

The Indian Spirit and the World’s Future (2004), pp 77-86

Recently a well-known leader of the scheduled classes, announced his desire to embrace Buddhism because of the lot of the “untouchables” in Hindu society – a lot which seemed to him a pointer to a lack in Hinduism of the sense of human brotherhood. He also declared that if Hinduism bore the caste system for several centuries it had failed “to yield anything substantive”. According to him, Buddhism stands in striking contrast to this religion.

What shall we say to these highly “allergic” criticisms? The institution of untouchability was indeed a stain on the social scheme that had got established in India. But with the advent of the modern age the conscience of the best Hindus has always rebelled against it. As far back as the days of Ram Mohan Roy the progressive movement started and reform organisations like the Brahmo-Samaj and the Arya-Samaj fought untouchability for decades on end. The biggest uproar against it came from a Hindu – Gandhi. And the Indian Constitution which expresses a good deal of the contemporary Hindu mind has abolished untouchability. It is absurd to claim that untouchability is part and parcel of Hinduism. It is certainly no part of those foundational scriptures of the Hindus: the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita. In ancient India the castes were guilds for different crafts and professions, with no odious distinctions or taboos. Later they got rigid. In the days of India’s decline they became more and more obnoxious, particularly by thrusting several millions outside the pale. But even when we condemn the injustice to so many it is well to remember that injustice of this type in general is not something peculiarly associated with Hindu society. Will Durant, the famous American writer on civilisation and culture, pointedly asks: “Does the attitude of a Brahmin to a Pariah differ, except in words, from that of a British lord to a navvy, or a Park Avenue banker to an East Side huckster, or a white man to a negro, or a European to an Asiatic?” What is clear from Durant’s question is that there is a deplorable tendency in human nature towards unjust discrimination. And a social structure with Buddhism as the religious ingredient of it is as likely as a Hindu or a Christian society to become gradually stratified and to develop superiorities and inferiorities. If Buddha preached brotherhood, so did Christ and so did the ancient Hindu seers and saints. In fact the essential oneness of all things, the basic equality of all creatures was never so forcefully declared as by the mystics of Hinduism who saw the Divine everywhere.

The Genuine and the Spurious in Hinduism
Continue reading “The [Indian] Caste System – Caturvarna”

Who Is An Engineer

Internet Forward, received by Imran: 21 Dec 2015

In normal course of your life, you see a Doctor when you are sick; he is important for you to get well. You accost a Lawyer when you have to defend yourself; he is necessary to get you out of trouble or protect your interests. You engage a chartered Accountant to dress your company’s data into a balance sheet; he is required for your business. To draw a parallel from the Hindu mythology, if you will, they are your protectors like Maha Vishnu.

The Engineer does not belong strictly in the above category! He is a creator, like Brahma. While we worship Maha Vishnu to protect us and pray Lord Shiva to give us Life and energy, we do not seek the blessings of Brahma, as he has already created us; the role he played, is nearly forgotten after we are born, especially without any congenital deformity. (The myth has it that he has a curse on him for not being worshiped!). To me it seems that the lack of gratitude to some extent is built into the scheme of things!

An engineer’s creation or an Architect’s plan is truly omnipresent that we miss it. Every minute of our life we use or enjoy his ‘creation’. Whether you live, in a house, go in a car, sail a ship or ride a plane you are using the product made by him. The refrigerator, fans, air conditioners, lifts are his creations. He brings electricity and water to your home. Go to a movie theater – the cinema hall, the projector, the sound system are his products.

The Engineer established communication between people round the globe with telephones/ mobile phones, brings all visual images though your TV, not to mention the all-pervasive computers which brought the metamorphosis of a change in the efficacy and the ease of human living. Emails and SMS have brought-in new dimensions to communications and messaging, not withstanding junk mails and messages in this era of junk food.

Gone are days of serpentine queues in railway stations to book tickets, thanks to online reservation systems to book your seats in over 5000 trains, from any station to any destination from any place! You could reserve an air ticket from Chennai to go from Paris to Washington on a given future date. These complex software packages were developed by engineers not to demonstrate what is possible, but to make computers useful to common man in his daily life. As Computer Engineering evolved into Computer Science, non-engineers joined and added to this core contribution.

The Jumbo jet, Boeing 747, the supersonic Concorde and more recently the Airbus 380 are engineering marvels. “A small step for a man and a giant leap for the mankind” declared Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to step on the Moon! How did he reach there? Thousands of NASA engineers burnt their mid-night candles for many years planning designing and assembling the rocket, the Lunar landing vehicle and dozens of on-board computers. That very step was also the moment of glory and unprecedented achievement for the Engineers.

We have reached a stage where the frequent launch of Indian satellites boosted by Indian rockets unfailingly joining their pre-determined orbits hardly get noticed; the result of an initiative headed by our past President of India, Honourable Dr. Abdul Kalam as a rocket Engineer, with his focus and devotion, more than a decade ago.

The doctor who made the tele-surgery in the Minneapolis hospital sitting in Boston is in the news and has all the accolades. But who design the instruments, the monitoring systems and enabled the tele-commands to the robotic arm? For early and precise diagnostics we have heard of ECGs, EEGs. and CAT scans and now MRI scans:

These machines were scrupulously designed and produced by Engineers. Why go this far? ; in a conventional operation, the doctors use the surgical instruments made by Engineers to exacting specifications, to make their precise incisions!

The Engineer even in the United States is not a huge tax-payer unlike the lawyers and dentists. Of late, the Indian engineers have reasonably done well for themselves ; they are no more just an aiding tool for the management, but a significant player in value-addition chain – a recognition first from the west, as the product and production technologies became Hi-tech. Not any more is the scenario of an Engineer, after full service, riding a Royal Enfield 350cc Bullet!.

There has been an avalanche effect between the overall contribution of Engineers and the development of Engineering sciences in the last century. Consequently, the ‘bandwidth’ of his contribution has been very large that it has become ubiquitous. So Mr. Engineer, lift up your collar(unless you are wearing collarless a T-Shirt) and be proud.

In lighter vein, let me quote our beloved Prof. Hegde’s joke (with the hope that many of you have not yet heard this): A lawyer, a doctor, a Chartered Accountant(CA) and an Engineer were all destined to Hell. The Doctor pleads with Gabriel that he had saved many lives; he was refused as some died after his operation not to mention bloating his bill in other many cases and therefore directed to hell. The Chartered Accountant was refused entry to the Heaven as he showed many loss making companies as profitable and was assigned to hell. The lawyer argued his case as to how he saved all his genuine clients from being punished or protected their interests. Gabriel’s record showed that he argued for the truly guilty for a fat fee and got them acquitted; he was also therefore sent to hell. With all the arguments, Gabriel and his boss St. peter were weary and tired. They told the last candidate, the Engineer that he is destined to hell. He said `OK, fine!; all I had to know is where i have to go?. Wonder struck, they asked him, ‘Are you not going to argue for your case to go to heaven?’. The Engineer replied, “You are not going to believe my arguments any way; besides, I can make my own heaven in hell!”

We take cognizance of the fact that the fundamental to Engineering, simply put, is practical applications and extrapolations of Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry – and of course application of mind. (I wonder, now, if English could be included in the above list) . A mature Engineer, despite all his contributions and achievements keeps his feet on the ground as he knows that the real Creator is invisible!

Swiss Time Bank

link: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-city-set-to-launch-elderly-care–bank-/32209234
about: WhatsApp forward as received

A student studying abroad in Switzerland observes the country in Switzerland:

While studying in Switzerland, I rented a house near the school. The landlord Kristina is a 67-year-old single old lady who worked as a teacher in a secondary school before she retired. Switzerland’s pension is very rich, enough not to make her worry about eating and drinking in her later years. However, it is puzzling that she actually found a “work” – to take care of an 87-year-old single old man. I asked if she was working for money. Her answer surprised me: “I did not work for money, but I put my time in the ‘time bank’, and when I couldn’t move at old age, I could withdraw it.”

The first time I heard about the concept of “time bank”, I was very curious and asked the landlord thoroughly. The original “Time Bank” was an old-age pension program developed by the Swiss Federal Ministry of Social Security. People saved the time of taking care of the elderly when they were young, and waited until they were old, ill or needed care. Applicants must be healthy, good at communicating and full of love. Every day they have plenty of time to look after the elderly who need help. Their service hours will be deposited into the personal accounts of the social security system. She went to work twice a week, spending two hours each time, to help the elderly shopping, finishing the room, taking the elderly out to sunbathe, chatting with the elderly. According to the agreement, after one year of her service expiry, “Time Bank” will count out her working hours and issue her a “time bank card”. When she needs someone to take care of her, she can use her “time bank card” to “time bank” to withdraw “time and time interest”. After the information verification is passed, “Time Bank” will assign volunteers to take care of her to the hospital or her home. .

One day, I was in school and the landlady called and said she fell off the stool when she wiped the window. I quickly took leave and sent her to the hospital for treatment. The landlady broke her ankle and needed to stay in bed for a while. While I was preparing to apply for a holiday home to take care of her, the landlady told me that I did not have to worry about her. She had already submitted a withdrawal request to the “Time Bank”. Sure enough, less than two hours, “Time Bank” sent a nursing worker to come to care for the landlord. In the following month, the care worker took care of the landlord every day, chatted with her and made delicious meals for her. Under the meticulous care of the carer, the landlady soon recovered to health. After recovering, the landlady went back to “work”. She said that she intends to save time in the “time bank” when she is still healthy, and wait until she can’t move.
Today, in Switzerland, the use of “time banks” to support old age has become a common practice. This not only saves the country pension expenses, but also solves some other social problems. Many Swiss citizens are very supportive of this kind of old-age pensions. The survey conducted by the Swiss pension organization shows that more than half of Swiss young people also want to participate in this type of old-age care service. The Swiss government also specializes in legislation to support the “Time Bank” pension.

Bhagavad Gita

youtube: Decoding the Gita, India’s book of answers
link: http://yieldmore.org/works/essays-on-the-gita/
link: http://yieldmore.org/media/world/scriptures/
link: Sanskrit & Transliteration
link: Sri Aurobindo’s English Translation Alone
link: Sw Dayanand Saraswati (mp3 + web text)
link: Exposition by Sw Sivananda (Divine Life Society)
link: Translation by Annie Besant

The Bhagavad Gita is perhaps the best exposition on the subtler laws of life to be found. It tells of an ancient system of metaphysics which I will go into more detail later

– Imran, June 2018

The Moth and the Flame (Disciple and Guru)

source: archive.org

Once a moth, circling around a lamp about to make the fatal plunge, spoke to the flame: “What do you know of love? All you do is stand there as I whirl about you until I can no longer bear to remain separated from you and I embrace you. And in the moment I embrace you I am consumed, burned into nothingness.”

The flame smiled and replied, “You fool! Do you call that love? Look at me ; I am burning. You burn only when you embrace me, but in my longing for you the pain of my separation from you has transmuted me into fire itself.”

This is what should happen in real life. A disciple may think he really loves his guru and has done a lot for him, but the disciple is too stupid to realize that his guru is absolutely burning to give something to him, to give his essence to the disciple.

Genesis and the 7 Chakras

source: humansarefree.com
author: Julian Websdale

The Seven Churches of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to St. John have many meanings.

In keeping with multiple levels of interpretation the Churches can be understood as messages relating to historical Churches of the period, messages regarding the seven divisions of Church history and in the most esoteric of interpretations, to the seven spiritual centers of the body.

The seven Churches of Revelation each can be related to the seven psychic centers, or Chakras, with the teachings given to each Church (warnings, blessings etc.) relating to the consciousness and activity at that level.

These attributions illustrate how each Church can be understood as a centre of energy within the psychic organism.

Throughout the mental, astral, etheric and physical organism there are networks for the transmission of energy. Nerves, synapses, meridians and marmas all transmit various degrees of Prana to and from various systems. Within each system there are major receiving and distribution points, these are the seven Chakras.

These seven centres are interface stations whereby energy from the Solar sphere can be received and where, via spiritual practise, the energies of the mind and astral-etheric organism can be transformed.

The Seven Chakras are located within the astral and etheric bodies (with links to the various related levels of consciousness) and are seen as a sequence of energy receptors and distributors.

The term ‘Chakra’ literally means ‘wheel of energy’. The size of the Chakra tends to be from two to six inches, varying according to the degree of spiritual development.

Each of these centres is related to a state of consciousness and a colour. The states of consciousness can also be discovered by an esoteric reading of the seven days of creation in Genesis.

Part 1 – Book of Revelation: The Mystery of the Seven Churches

The Four Attributes of the Churches

The four attributes of each Church help us to appreciate the unique nature of each of the energy centres. These centres are central to the process of transforming the electromagnetic field of the individual from the Dialectic to the Static.

The Kundalini or Serpent power based in the lowest centre is energised in such a way that the serpent seed (the Taint of the Archons) is replaced by the Serpent of Wisdom (the Messiah). The four attributes of each Church as given in the Book of Revelation are:

1. Characteristics of the Church and City.
2. Commendation of the Church.
3. Counsel and Warning.
4. Promises to Overcomers.

The Church of Ephesus

The Church of Ephesus is the Base Chakra. It is known as ‘desirable’ and is that of the primal instincts. It is desired by, and desires, Laodicea – the Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) Centre.

The union of these centres locks the organism into the Static currents of the Pleroma (The original, true world, as opposed to the ‘bad copy’ false world of the Archons).

The Characteristic of the City is that of change; the change from earthly to Gnostic worship. This represents the transmutation of purely ‘nature’ orientated vibrations into forces that serve the spiritual goal.

This technology includes the correct use of passion and desire with the process of Transfiguration. The key here is that all drives and goals must be directed towards the Pleroma.

The Commendation of the Church is given for its patience and labour and it is especially commended because it has not fainted. These images refer to the immense effort and perseverance required to keep control over the energies of the base centre. The ideal situation would be total awareness or, in more Biblical terms, ‘not fainting’.

The Counsel and Warning is that the Church has left its true love. This clearly refers to the need for the base centre to be totally directed to the Pleroma. Whether it is swayed by family, lust, desire or even love, any movement away from the goal is ‘sin’. (The word ‘sin’ literally means ‘to miss the mark’).

The Promise offered to those who correctly use the Base Chakra is the ability to ‘eat from the Tree of Life’. This has many different shades of meaning, ranging from the promise of immortality to the liberation of the Self through the activation of the Tree of Life.

The Church of Smyrna

The Church of Smyrna is the Svadhisthana Chakra in the Hindu system, or the Sacral Centre. It is related to the sexual organs.

The Characteristics of the City include life, earthquakes, plagues, fires and massacres. These refer to the intense dangers associated with the energies of this centre.

It is the centre of sexual fire, and when the base centre is activated and force is manifested at this level it must be totally controlled so that the energies continue on upwards towards redemption. Loss of control can mean destruction or obsession.

The Commendation given to the Church is for standing strong in the time of tribulation and persecution. This refers again to the great discipline needed to control this energy centre.

While the base centre refers to all manner of desires, this centre is clearly sexual in nature and demands initiated control.

The counsel and Warning is against hypocrites and blasphemers. These descriptions refer to those who use esoteric techniques to propagate the World of the Archons, to satisfy an addiction to pleasure or power.

It can also be applied to the supposed Christian churches that have no knowledge of the inner teachings and offer pithy morality and prejudice in the place of wisdom.

The Promise is the gift of the Crown of Life. That is returning to the Pleroma, reaching the Crown Chakra at the pinnacle of the Tree of Life (Kether).

The Church of Pergamos

The Church of Pergamos is the Solar Plexus Chakra. It is known as ‘elevation or height’, for it governs the balance of the organism through its central position. It is also elevated in that it dominates and controls the lower Chakras.

The Characteristic of the City is that of being the capital city where the Supreme Court and priests of Babylon sat in Judgement. It can hence be understood that the Pergamos is the seat of control and discrimination (right-thinking).

However, there is clearly a great danger, for the priests of Babylon are fallen. Accordingly, it is imperative that our self-control comes from the True Self, not just from sub-personalities or the mind. The mind is a great servant, but a dangerous master.

The Commendation of the Church is given because it holds fast to what it has been taught, has not denied the faith and has accepted the fact there are, and will be many, martyrs due to the stand they have taken.

This relates to the achievement of balance through the Solar Plexus, which demands separation from the world and holding securely to the Static currents, even though there is persecution from the fallen kingdoms.

The Counsel and Warning is the message that the Church holds many conflicting doctrines and must repent. (Repentance means to turn around, to go in the other direction). This can be understood on two levels; firstly, one cannot serve two masters.

Beliefs must be either Static or Dialectic; unless you are totally separated from the world and centred on the Pleroma, you are under Dialectic dominion. Secondly, within the psyche will be many Dialectic programs that we carry with us into the spiritual life – they must be rooted and destroyed.

The Promise offered to those who correctly use this Chakra include the eating of the Hidden Manna and the Gift of the White Stone with a new name engraved on it.

These promises are highly symbolic; the Hidden Manna represents a special stage known in the Alchemical process of self-transformation. It is also sometimes known as the White Powder, it is a stage prior to the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Church of Thyatira

The Church of Thyatira is the heart or Anahata Chakra. It is known as ‘sacrifice or contrition’ as it involves the sacrifice of the fallen facets of the organism and the things of the world to the Higher Self.

The Characteristic of the City is that it is a manufacturing town with an altar dedicated to Apollo. These two characteristics are very important.

The first represents the power of the heart centre; when properly activated it manufactures static forces that transform the organism. The second characteristic represents the importance of the Mystery teachings.

Through modern scholarship it has been discovered that many of the Greek Mysteries completed and fulfilled the ancient Hebrew Mystery teachings and, according to Apollo, represents the need to complete our understanding of the nature of all things.

The Commendation of the Church is fourfold – Charity, Service, Faith and Patience. Each of these attributes should be central to the Gnostic life.

The Counsel and Warning is against false teachers, fornication and meat offered to idols. These warnings can be understood in two distinct ways. Firstly, they are a warning against contact with the World of the Archons.

False teachers, fornication (not sex per se but reproduction) and meat offered to idols (fallen gods), all images reflecting facets of the fallen system. In a more esoteric understanding, these images can be related to fallen facets of ourselves.

The false teachers are personas within the psyche that would draw the individual back into the World of the Archons. Fornication is the desire for union with things of the world, and food offered to idols represents the false gods or idols we may have within ourselves.

The Promise offered to those who use this centre correctly is the Gift of the Morning Star. The Morning Star is Venus or Lucifer and represents the state of ‘light bearing’. This is an allegorical way to represent the awakening of the Light or Static fields within the individual.

The Church of Sardis

The Church of Sardis is the throat or Visuddha Chakra. It is given the title of ‘That which remains’, as it is the portal before entering the higher Chakras. It has a similar meaning in the Kabbalistic systems.

The Characteristic of the City is Death. It is the centre of warning and echoes either power or destruction. A further characteristic of this city is that it is a city whose glory has passed away.

This emphasises the role of this centre concerning the transformation of the Mind. The voice or Logos is also indicated by the throat and hence the old mind must pass away and the new mind must be formed through the power of the Logos.

The Counsel and Warning is hold fast and watch. It is clear and precise; to achieve transfiguration takes steadfastness and awareness.

The Promise is that those who correctly use this centre will be confessed before the Father. That is, they will join the Pleroma.

It also has a Kabbalistic meaning; confession before the father means crossing the abyss and being reborn as a master in the Supernals (the top three centres of the Tree of Life). This is to be confessed or witnessed by the Father, Kether.

The Church of Philadelphia

The church of Philadelphia is the third eye or Ajna (Brow) Chakra. It is given the title of ‘Brotherly Love’ because of its awesome power. The insight and force of this centre can only be understood when experienced through Agape or Divine Love. Only by a pure desire to return to the Pleroma can this force be correctly awakened and experienced.

The Characteristic of the City is the ability to grow and spread. This is symbolic of the great power of this centre, and its ability to transfigure the whole organism at its awakening.

The Commendation of the Church is for its keeping of the World. The word here is the Logos, the power manifested in the throat centre, but originating in the Ajna. Only by communion with the Logos can the Ajna be awakened.

The Counsel and Warning is that there will be a temptation to make others worship at your feet. No semblance of fallen self can be allowed to remain when awakening this force; any dialectic field will cause destruction.

The Promise offered to those who overcome this centre is that they be made a Pillar in the Temple of God. That is, they will have their whole Chakra system activated and transformed, and will thereby become Static in nature and achieve immortality.

The Church of Laodicea

The Church of Laodicea is the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra. It is located above the top of the head and is known as ‘Judging the People’. Its name suggests the immense and awesome power of this centre.

It is that of divinity, Godhood and deification. Through this enlightened state the whole universe and world is seen for what it really is – and judged accordingly.

The Characteristic of the City is a final warning. Arrogance, compromise and destruction will be the ‘reward’ of those who do not awaken to this state correctly. The characteristic of those who have grown correctly is Godhood.

The Commendation has been removed from the description. There is no second chance here, either perfection or destruction. The Counsel and Warning is similar – be zealous and not lukewarm.
‘So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.’ – Revelation 3:16.
The Promise is that those who correctly open this Chakra, and unite all the centres as one, will achieve Liberation from the fallen worlds.

Part 2 – Book of Genesis: The Chakras and the Seven Days of Creation

Another tradition which expresses the process of re-creation is found hidden within the creation tale of Genesis. Emanuel Swedenborg, the great Swedish mystic, taught that hidden with the seven days of creation was a description of our regeneration.

Though he did not relate these to the chakras, if we link them together we can gain a picture of the spiritual regeneration that takes place in the Gnostic life.

The First Day of Regeneration

The recreation of New Man is the coming of light. From the perspective of the Chakras this day is the time when the great light of Gnosis purifies and transcends the base Chakra and transmutes its desires and drives into something of a higher nature.

The colour associated with the chakra centre is red, as it is the colour of passion and of sacrifice.

It symbolises the struggle and pain requirement to overcome the lower instincts. The central icon of the Rosicrucians epitomises this with its image of a blood red rose on a cross of suffering.
‘The first state is when man begins to know that the good and true are something higher.’ – Arcana Celestia, Emanuel Swedenborg. (AC 20).
The Second Day

This is when we divide the things of the Dialectic from those of the Static. (The firmament from that which is below the firmament).

From the Chakric perspective the Sacral centre, or sexual centre, is where we must make decisions about what we serve – the Gnosis or the World, the instincts or higher things.

The Third Day

This is the time when the various forms of knowledge (seas) are brought together and the dry land appears. The dry land is the state of concrete knowledge; a solid experience of the Gnosis.

At this stage we also have the imagery of vegetation. As in the New Testament allegory of the Sower, we know that seeds and vegetation represent the spiritual wisdom, while the fruits represent the blossoming of these truths within us.

From the Chakric perspective the Solar Plexus is where the focus of our lives lie. Here we must have a firm hold on the Mysteries and be centred on the Static world. The colour here is Yellow, that of the trained intellect.

The Fourth Day

The sun, moon and stars appear. According to the most ancient arcana the sun represents divine love (Agape), the moon divine faith and the stars represent Gnosis or divine wisdom.
‘After the great luminaries have been kindled and placed in the internal man, and the external receives light from them, then the man first begins to live.’ – Arcana Celestia, Emanuel Swedenborg. (AC 39).
The Fifth Day

Fish and birds appear. These reflect the facets of the mind that are rejuvenated and reborn through Transfiguration. The fish represent the creatures that swim in the water – that is those things which exist within the ebb and flow of the unconscious.

The imagery of birds and flight illustrates the way in which the mind can now reach new levels of illumination.

The image of flight is found in many esoteric traditions ranging from the Chariots and vehicles that fly to the higher worlds, which are found within the Kabbalah and the Vedas, to the sacred birds of the Celts and Druids.

From the Chakric perspective the fifth day is the throat centre. The Logos regenerates the mind and new levels of consciousness are reached. It is the blue centre, the colour of devotion.

The Sixth Day

This marks the appearance of the reborn man. He has subjugated his instincts and mind, liberated his innermost Self and united the male and female principles within him.

From the perspective of the Chakra system, the Sixth Day is that of the Ajna centre, where the currents of creation and destruction are unleashed and the Gnostic becomes a Master. It is indigo and represents intuition and inner mastery.

The Seventh Day

Regeneration is complete. In relation to the Chakric system is that of completed regeneration. The Chakra is Sahasrara, the Crown centre and it is violet or purple – the colour of royalty. It is the birth of the New Man.

Nagarjuna’s Begging Bowl

A beautiful story is told about a great mystic, Nagarjuna:

He was a naked fakir, but he was loved by all real seekers. A queen was also deeply in love with Nagarjuna. She asked him one day to come to the palace, to be a guest in the palace. Nagarjuna went. The queen asked him a favour.

Nagarjuna said, “What do you want?”

The queen said, “I want your begging bowl.”

Nagarjuna gave it — that was the only thing he had — his begging bowl. And the queen brought a golden begging bowl, studded with diamonds and gave it to Nagarjuna. She said, “Now you keep this. I will worship the begging bowl that you have carried for years — it has some of your vibe. It will become my temple. And a man like you should not carry an ordinary wooden begging bowl — keep this golden one. I have had it made specially for you.”

It was really precious. If Nagarjuna had been an ordinary mystic he would have said, “I cannot touch it. I have renounced the world.” But for him it was all the same, so he took the bowl.

When he left the palace, a thief saw him. He could not believe his eyes: “A naked man with such a precious thing! How long can he protect it?” So the thief followed….

Nagarjuna was staying outside the town in a ruined ancient temple — no doors, no windows. It was just a ruin. The thief was very happy: “Soon Nagarjuna will have to go to sleep and there will be no difficulty — I will get the bowl.”

The thief was hiding behind a wall just outside the door — Nagarjuna threw the bowl outside the door. The thief could not believe what had happened. Nagarjuna threw it because he had watched the thief coming behind him, and he knew perfectly well that he was not coming for him — he was coming for the bowl, “So why unnecessarily let him wait? Be finished with it so he can go, and I can also rest.”

“Such a precious thing! And Nagarjuna has thrown it so easily.” The thief could not go without thanking him. He knew perfectly well that it had been thrown for him. He peeked in and he said, “Sir, accept my thanks. But you are a rare being — I cannot believe my eyes. And a great desire has arisen in me. I am wasting my life by being a thief — and there are people like you too? Can I come in and touch your feet?”

Nagarjuna laughed and he said, “Yes, that’s why I threw the bowl outside — so that you could come inside.”

The thief was trapped. The thief came in, touched the feet… and at that moment the thief was very open because he had seen that this man was no ordinary man. He was very vulnerable, open, receptive, grateful, mystified, stunned. When he touched the feet, for the first time in his life he felt the presence of the divine.

He asked Nagarjuna, “How many lives will it take for me to become like you?”

Nagarjuna said, “How many lives? — it can happen today, it can happen now!”

The thief said, “You must be kidding. How can it happen now? I am a thief, a well-known thief The whole town knows me, although they have not yet been able to catch hold of me. Even the king is afraid of me, because thrice I have entered and stolen from the treasury. They know it, but they have no proof. I am a master thief — you may not know about me because you are a stranger in these parts. How can I be transformed right now?”

And Nagarjuna said, “If in an old house for centuries there has been darkness and you bring a candle, can the darkness say, ‘For centuries and centuries I have been here — I cannot go out just because you have brought a candle in. I have lived so long’? Can the darkness give resistance? Will it make any difference whether the darkness is one day old or millions of years old.

The thief could see the point: darkness cannot resist light; when light comes, darkness disappears. Nagarjuna said, You may have been in darkness for millions of lives — that doesn’t matter — but I can give you a secret, you can light a candle in your being.”

And the thief said, “What about my profession? Have I to leave it?”

Nagarjuna said, “That is for you to decide. I am not concerned with you and your profession I can only give you the secret of how to kindle a light within your being, and then it is up to you.”

The thief said, “But whenever I have gone to any saints, they always say, ‘First stop stealing — then only can you be initiated.'”

It is said that Nagarjuna laughed and said, “You must have gone to thieves, not to saints. They know nothing. You just watch your breath — the ancient method of Buddha — just watch your breath coming in, going out. Whenever you remember, watch your breath. Even when you go to steal, when you enter into somebody’s house in the night, go on watching your breath. When you have opened the treasure and the diamonds are there, go on watching your breath, and do whatsoever you want to do — but don’t forget watching the breath.”

The thief said, “This seems to be simple. No morality? No character needed? No other requirement?”

Nagarjuna said, “Absolutely none — just watch your breath.”

And after fifteen days the thief was back, but he was a totally different man. He fell at the feet of Nagarjuna and he said, “You trapped me, and you trapped me so beautifully that I was not even able to suspect. I tried for these fifteen days — it is impossible. If I watch my breath, I cannot steal. If I steal, I cannot watch my breath. Watching the breath, I become so silent, so alert, so aware, so conscious, that even diamonds look like pebbles. You have created a difficulty for me, a dilemma. Now what am I supposed to do?”

Nagarjuna said, “Get lost! — whatsoever you want to do. If you want that silence, that peace, that bliss, that arises in you when you watch your breath, then choose that. If you think all those diamonds and gold and silver is more valuable, then choose that. That is for you to choose! Who am I to interfere in your life?”

The man said, “I cannot choose to be unconscious again. I have never known such moments. Accept me as one of your disciples, initiate me.”

Nagarjuna said, “I have initiated you already.”

Religion is based not in morality but in meditation. Religion is rooted not in character but in consciousness.

About IDEAS

Institute for Development of Effective Applications of Spirituality is an integral approach to living and loving. We don’t just limit ourselves to “IDEAS in Philosophy, Metaphysics and Religion” but use them as tool to develop a perspective for witnessing and guiding a coalescing of our civilization into ONE WORLD.