We indeed have much to be grateful for to the Mahavatars and Master Teachers who braved the often harsh scrutiny of the uninitiated – and unenlightened – to share with us all, the priceless gifts the practice of meditation – and yoga – offers.
They were also the recipients of immense gratitude and praise from those whose life paths were irrevocably altered and illumined for eternity by the gift of their wisdom; A wisdom and practical application thereof that otherwise would not have emerged in the West for decades to come.
Swami Vivikananda, 1863 – 1902
The very first religious teacher to bring yoga and meditation to America was Swami Vivekananda. That was in 1893.
Vivekananda first came to North America in 1893, though it was Yogananda who was the first Yoga Master of India to take up permanent residence in the West, arriving in the US in 1920.
Paramahansa Yogananda traveled throughout the United States on what he called his “spiritual campaigns”, teaching and transforming lives everywhere he went.
As I mentioned in last weeks Blog Post, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda’s arrival to the US. Yogananda has been called, “The Father of Yoga to the West.”
And his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, that I spoke about in last week’s Blog Post, “sparked a spiritual revolution around the world, and has inspired millions.” – https://Ananda.org
For more about Shree Mahavatar Paramahansa Yogananda, please check out last week’s post if you haven’t already. There’s lots to be discovered there about this great spiritual Master and Teacher.
Once again, I encourage you to check out https://Yogananda.org for more information. I also encourage you to watch the amazing documentary on Paramahansa Yogananda, called Awaken. More information go to: https://www.awaketheyoganandamovie.com/
For those of you who subscribe to GAIA TV, https://www.GAIA.com, it’s there in the film section. DEFINITELY worth a watch.
“The world’s religions are but various phases of one eternal religion.”
Swami Vivekananda wrote, “In America is the place, the people, the opportunity for everything new” prior to leaving India en route to Chicago, Illinois, USA, in 1893.
He had learned from his guru, or teacher, Shree Ramakrishna, 1836 – 1886, that the world’s religions “are but various phases of one eternal religion”.
He also learned that spiritual essence could be transmitted from one person to another, and he was determined to bring that transmission about in North America – from his golden heart to the hungry hearts of spiritual seekers in the West.
When Swami Vivekananda “rose to address the first World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, he not only introduced yoga to the West, he also created a sensation.
‘Sisters and brothers of America,’ he began, prompting thunderous applause from the nearly 7,000 attendees; his brief speech, rapturous in its profession of ‘toleration’ and the essential truth of all religions, went on to decry ‘sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant fanaticism,’ which, he said, ‘have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often . . . with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair.’
The date was September 11, 1893 – exactly 108 years to the day from a tragic event that would underscore the truth of his words. He won great praise in the American press – the New York Critic called him “an orator by divine right” – and he toured the country for four years, lecturing on Hindu philosophy, especially jnana, bhakti, karma, and raja yoga.
Swami Vivekananda became a national hero in his native India and went on to establish the Ramakrishna Mission there as well as the Vedanta Society in the United States. Today there are presently 13 Vedanta chapters located in America and more than 125 around the world. For more information, visit www.vedanta.org and www.ramakrishna.org.” – https://yogajournal.com
How Rene Daumal’s Rasa Rocked Paris, Circa 1932
While Paramahansa Yogananda was busy raising consciousness in the US through his teachings, the literary crowd in Paris, France, got its chance to explore the same at around roughly the same time at the hands of Rene Daumal, author of Rasa and his better known Mount Analogue.
Rene Daumal, 1908 – 1944, French spiritual para-surrealist writer, poet and autodidact, best known for his posthumously published book, Mount Analogue, also wrote another less known, now unavailable (as far as I can find) publication, entitled Rasa, which I am lucky to have a well-used, torn an tattered copy of, purchased in a second hand book store in Toronto in the mid 80’s.
Rasa was originally published in French by Editions Gallimard, Paris in 1970. One of the versions of the publication was entitled, Bharata, also published in Paris.
The English version, cover photo above, contains translated selections from the original French versions, also published by arrangement with Editions Gallimard.
It was the enigmatic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, author and composer, founder of The Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, in Paris, France, who ultimately shaped Daumal’s destiny prior to his untimely passing in 1944 of tuberculosis at age 36.
It was at the Institute that Daumal first fell under Gurdieff’s spell. He wrote about his new teacher, “And above all, remember the day when you wanted to throw out everything, no matter how – but a guardian kept watch in your night, he kept watch while you dreamed, he made you touch your flesh, he made you gather your rags – remember your guardian.”
More about the great Gurdjieff , another great Master Teacher, and his Institute in later posts. There is much to discover there.
In the Introduction to Rasa, it says, Daumal “mastered Sanskrit and translated a selection of important texts from the Sahitya-darpana, the Chandyoga Upanishad, the Bhagavad Gita, etc. ..”
It is important to realize that it was not easy to get a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which is part of a greater work, called the Mahabharata, in the 1930’s in Paris. Or in New York, or anywhere else in the world. Unless you were a spiritual adept in a monastery in India.
Daumal had to have gone to great lengths to become a Sanskrit scholar during his brief life, 1908-1944.
Daumal’s translation of Sanskrit texts, as it says in the Introduction to Rasa, “which deal with poetry and the composition directly inspired his future work in these areas. In Sanskrit, the word is not only a tool or poetic expression, but it is in its esoteric usage the poet’s mirror and the mirror of the gods.
The Sanskrit alphabet is a sacred formula whose function is, in addition to the complexity of its compositional forms, the direct reflection of the sacred word and its powers. ‘All recited poems and all chants are, without exception, portions of Vishnu, the great being, reclothed in sonorous form.'”
The Introduction goes on to say, “Daumal’s translation work reflects his desire his desire to place this ancient tradition at the service of the European literary intelligence.
His translation of Bharata’s ‘Natya Sastra’, considered to be the first written treatise on in the arts of poetry, music, and dance, into a vital, living French attest to this deeply felt motive – one which would give to Occidental culture an image of its origin and of an artistic form and formula which existed not to distract but to ‘awaken’ – to awaken man to consciousness of himself.”
It was as though not being able to be a conduit of a great awakening through the essence of the teachings as he was not himself a Sadhu, Daumal chose to be one through the sacred elements of Sanskrit teachings, all based in meditation, that he translated.
It is quite evident he had a direct desire to enlighten and awaken Western European society to yet another possible path to enlightenment through his work.
I’ll leave you with one last titbit on Daumal.
Daumal was an outspoken practitioner of pataphysics.
Pata – what?
Well, they got me on that one. Believe me. What is pataphysics?
According to Wikipedia, “Pataphysics or pataphysics is a difficult-to-define literary trope invented by French writer Alfred Jarry. One definition is that “pataphysics is a branch of philosophy or science that examines imaginary phenomena that exist in a world beyond metaphysics; it is the science of imaginary solutions.”
The “science of imaginary solutions”. And you wonder how Daumal went about contemplating his “imaginary solutions”? I sure don’t. Not that meditation had anything to do with it. 😉
So Daumal is our third meditation pioneer, so far.
We had Swami Vivekananda in the 1893 and beyond, Paramahansa Yogananda in the 1920’s and beyond, both in the US, and Daumal in France in the 1930’s, even though his work wasn’t published until the 1970’s in Paris, and in the 1980’s (only in part) in New York.
There was another shining star to blaze across the North American horizon in the 1970’s, among others, who also came to spread the word about meditation and ensuing enlightenment.
It was the shining one, who I refer to, that I have some direct experience of, indirectly. I’ll explain more about that in next weeks blog.
Today I will name him and give you just a couple of his teachings, in hopes it will whet your appetite; which I shall attempt to satiate in next weeks Blog Post.
He was born Krishna Rai on May 16, 1908 (just 3 months after Daumal), and took Mahsamadhi (the conscious act of leaving one’s body) on 2 October 1982).
He was the founder of Siddha Yoga and disciple and the successor of Bhagavan Nityananda, descended of a long lineage of Siddhas.
He became known as Swami Muktananda after experiencing Shaktipat, or the awakening of the kundalinin energy that resides at the base of the spine by his teacher, Nityananda.
Shree Swami Muktananda wrote a number of books on the subjects of Kundalini Shakti, Vedanta, and Kashmir Shaivism, including a spiritual autobiography entitled The Play of Consciousness, which is a must-read, right after Autobiography of a Yogi.
I say it’s a must read AFTER Autobiography only because I mentioned it first… There’s no order to read them in. Both will take you somewhere you’ve been wanting to go for a long time, just haven’t known yet. Trust me on that one too.
Swami Muktananda’s teachings were essentially that:
- “The human body is a temple within which God dwells in the form of the Self. However, to know this, you must turn within through meditation. In your present state, you have only partial awareness.
- We know only the ordinary states of consciousness in which we live; we do not have complete knowledge of reality. When we are awake, we are totally immersed in our waking world. When we dream, our activities, our world, and our understanding are completely different from when we are awake. When we go into the state of deep sleep, we lose consciousness altogether.
- When we meditate, we pass even beyond the deep sleep state and enter the state of the Self. That state is the foundation of all the other states, and it alone is permanent and unchanging.” (Wikipedia)
Though we will continue exploring Swami Muktananda in next week’s Blog Post, I’ll leave you now with his greatest teaching of all. I reiterate:
“God dwells within you, as you.”
To that, I say, Namaste, with all my heart and immense gratitude.
The Overcoming Addiction Series Guided Meditations
Last week, we kicked off a very important series of Guided Meditations on Overcoming Addiction.
I specifically researched and created the Overcoming Addiction Series for those who are, or would like to, overcome any type of addiction: from smoking, overeating, or to being addicted to negative thought patterns.
According to scientific research, those who choose to meditate alongside other wellness efforts while overcoming addiction, will likely be addiction free 25% faster and 80% more successful in remaining so if they continue to meditate.
The Series in in 3 Parts, with 6 Support Guided Meditations to come!
There are 3 Parts to the Overcoming Addiction Series, available in 30 and 60 minute versions each, as well as 6 Support Meditations meant to be practiced after Parts 1 through 3 have been listened to at least once.
It is highly recommended that Parts 1 through 3 be listened to often for the duration of the time period required to overcome the addiction, and that the Support Meditations become part of a daily meditation practice, reviewing at least one (of choice) per day.
Last week I released Overcoming Addiction, Part 1: “I choose a healthy me.”
Overcoming Addiction, Part 2 of 3: “I choose a healthy me.”
Here’s an excerpt from Overcoming Addiction Part 2: “I am not my addiction”:
“Choosing to end the dependency on an addiction is one of the most challenging – and equally rewarding things – anyone can undertake in their life. It’s a big step – there’s no doubting that – but does it have to be daunting, laced with an undertone of difficulty?
The truth is every step we take is as big – or as daunting – or as easy – as we decide it is in our mind. The scientifically proven fact is, the mind – your mind – cannot tell the difference between an actual, “real-life” event and a vividly imagined one. Denis Waitley, coach to Olympic champions and Apollo astronauts, is constantly using this analogy while training new astronauts.
The philosophy: decide something is going to be difficult and you can be sure it will be… Decide it’s going to be easy – and even when challenges come up, they’ll be experienced as bumps on the road – to be expected – and not roadblocks. Let’s try that now in the following creative visualization…”
Please share this Guided Meditation Series with anyone you feel might benefit from it. I thank you for that, very deeply, in advance. Please note:
Please share this Guided Meditation Series with anyone you feel might benefit from it. I thank you for that, very deeply, in advance.
There is a 30 Minute Version and a 60 Minute Version.
The only difference between the 30 Minute and 60 Minute Versions is that the 60 Minute Version has a longer period of just meditation to beautiful, heart-opening music at the end of it, before you are asked to come out of meditation.
Otherwise, both Versions have exactly the same Guided Meditation content.
Here’s a link to the Overcoming Addiction Series, Part 2: “I am not my addiction” Guided Meditation: 30 Minute Version:
Here’s a link to the Overcoming Addiction Series, Part 2: “I am not my addiction”, Guided Meditation: 60 Minute Version:
About Meditation.Works Guided Meditations
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As always, Happy Meditating!
With great “Lovitude”,