Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Blessed Anicca

'One day the Hebrew King Solomon decided to humble his most trusted minister. He said to him 'Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me within six months.'
'If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty', replied Benaiah confidently, 'I will find it and bring it to you. But what makes the ring so special?'
'It has magic powers', answered the king with a straight face. 'If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.' Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world. Wishing to give his minister a little taste of humility, he was sending him on an impossible mission.

Spring and then summer passed by, and though he had searched the length and breadth of the kingdom, still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. The night before the six months were up and he knew he would have to return to the king in defeat, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest sections of Jerusalem. He passed by an old merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. With nothing left to lose, Benaiah asked, 'Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrow?'
The old merchant did not speak, but took a plain gold ring from his carpet and engraved something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide grin.

That night, Benaiah went to see the king as he was in court with all his ministers. 'Well, my friend', Solomon smirked, 'Have you brought me what I sent you for?' All the ministers chortled heartily, eager to see their peer admit his embarrassing defeat. To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up the small gold ring and declared, 'Here it is, your majesty!' As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. Into the ring, the jeweler had engraved the phrase, 'This too shall pass.'

(From 'The Blessed Life' by Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hymn to the Lord of the Dance Who Is Half Woman


Her body is fair like the campa flower;
His body is like camphor.
She has elaborately braided hair decked with pearls;
And he has matted hair.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

Her body is sprinkled with musk-vermillion powder;
His body is smeared with funeral pyre ash.
She has the power of sexual desire;
And He is adverse to it.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 From Her you hear the movement of tinkling anklets and bracelets,
His lotus feet have glistening anklets of snakes.
She is adorned with golden armlets,
And He has armlets of snakes.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 Her eyes are like large blue lotuses,
His eyes are like the red lotus.
Her eyes are even,
His eyes are uneven.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 She is wearing a garland of mandar flowers in Her hair,
He is wearing a garland of skulls around His neck.
She is wearing silks of divine quality;
And He is clad only by the sky.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 Her hair is dark like the monsoon clouds;
His matted locks flash with the luster of lightning.
She is Lord of All;
He is Lord of All.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 Hers is the dance that creates differentiation;
His is the dance that destroys everything.
I bow to the Mother of the Universe.
I bow to the Father of the Universe.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 Her earrings sparkle with radiant, precious stones;
His earrings are hissing snakes.
He embraces Her;
And She embraces Him.

 I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.

 (Attributed to Sri Adi Shankara)
(Shakti is referred to in this hymn as Shivah, or Shivaa -- a feminine form of the name Shiva.)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Zen Manifesto

'Zen knows only a vast life
which contains all kinds of contradictions
in a deep harmony.
The night is in harmony with the day,
and life is in harmony with death,
and the earth is in harmony with the sky.
The presence is in harmony with the absence.
This immense harmony,
this synchronicity,
is the essential Manifesto of Zen.
This is the only way of life which respects
and loves,
and denies nothing, condemns nothing.'

-- Osho

Sunday, 17 January 2010

'When your love is not just a desire for the other,
when your love is not only a need,
when your love is a sharing,
when your love is not that of a beggar but an emperor,
when your love is not asking for something in return but is ready only to give
– to give for the sheer joy of giving –
then add meditation to it and the pure fragrance is released.
That is compassion, compassion is the highest phenomenon.’

-- Osho

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Intellectual versus the Lover

The intellectual is always showing off;
the lover is always getting lost.
The intellectual runs away, afraid of drowning;
the whole business of love is to drown in the sea.

Intellectuals plan their repose;
lovers are ashamed to rest.
The lover is always alone,
even surrounded with people;
like water and oil, he remains apart.

The man who goes to the trouble
of giving advice to a lover
gets nothing. He's mocked by passion.
Love is like musk. It attracts attention.
Love is a tree, and lovers are its shade.

-- Rumi

(from 'Love's Ripening: Rumi on the Heart's Journey', translated by Kabir Helminski & Ahmad Rezwani)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

This being human

This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Rumi

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

'Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it' -- Rumi

Monday, 4 January 2010

Ask yourself what happens to a kite when its string is cut. Up it goes! It climbs into the open skies above it because that's its nature; it was made to rise.

So are we: we are made to be free.

(Guy Finley)