Where do you feel that saints or realized beings fit into the evolution of consciousness, and what part do they play in the scheme of things, both inside the body and out of the body?
Â Ram Dass:Â All beings are involved in an evolutionary journey. In the course of history, and far into pre-recorded history, beings have been getting lost in the illusion, and awakening out of it. Some beings have finished their work and have awakened out of illusion, the illusion that is involved in birth after birth, not only on the physical plane, but on every other plane as well. When these free beings finally emerge from the illusion through grace, through the help of other beings who have escaped, they are faced with a choice. That choice is whether to merge back into God, or to resist that merging and remain in form on one plane or another; either to take birth again on the physical plane or to make their substance condense on a lower astral plane in order to do âworkâ for the relief of suffering of other beings.
The pull to merge is incredible. The love of God is so intense, and the completeness of the merger is a pull of such intense power that for any individual to resist that and remain separate is the greatest conceivable sacrifice. So the first quality that one attributes to true âsaintsâ, truly free, realized beings is that they have made the ultimate sacrifice, just to be on any plane where we can recognize and know them. And they have done this specifically for us.
Many of the beings that are free in this way, and who have remained in form on one plane or another, work across planes and remain primarily on other lokas, in more subtle bodies, and they work not only with beings on those planes, but also with us on the physical plane. Many people have experienced or read about having a âguardian angelâ, or the guidance of the âguru withinâ. Such beings are equally as real as beings on the physical plane; because all beings on all planes are only relatively real. For, in truth, the only Truth is the unmanifest Absolute.
The way in which these saints, these spiritual beings, help us is to speed our journey back to God. They donât turn us around. If youâre aimed away from God they wonât interfere. But the minute you look up, the minute your despair concerning the possibility for worldly gratification is great enough, you turn inward or reach upward towards God. And at that moment these beings are called forth by your prayers, by your cry for help, by your seeking for God. And then they shower upon you the grace of their presence, and the vibratory rate of their presence speeds up your journey incredibly.
So that a journey through literally thousands upon thousands of incarnations, that has been evolving in an arithmetic curve suddenly becomes a geometric curve under the intense light, love and compassion of this grace. You could call what they do âbrute forceâ. They donât go against the will of God, but they work within it. And since the will of God has no time in it, since God is behind time, they can speed up the process. And thus, while a physical guru is not necessary, since every being will make it, the guru in fact does speed up the process incredibly.
On the physical-psychological plane, itâs apparent when one is around such a free being, that such a being is a perfect mirror for oneself, since they themselves are not attached to being anybody; who you see them to be is merely your own projection. Being around such a being allows you to see the way in which you are creating the universe. That mirror helps you gain the perception of your own attachments which ultimately allows you to become unattached to any models you have of the universe, and to truly see the guru who is none other than God, who is none other than Self, which is the unmanifest Absolute.
The guru is constantly confronting you with where youâre not, with where youâre holding your secret stash of attachment. For people who are still much attached to their senses and to their thinking-minds, the guru manifests the teachings on the physical plane. It may be through a person, whom you call a guru (that is, they may embody themselves on this plane for that purpose), or it may be just through a set of teachings that they may create for you out of your life âwebâ. Though they are not manifesting on the physical plane they manipulate the substance of your karma in such a way as to speed up your awakening, once you have reached up for God.
~Ram Dass, 1977
The minute you know that there is somebody who knows it all, you are free. Because all your secrets become absurd, because somebody knows everything about you and they say, âyeah, right. Look at all that horrible stuff and here we are.â Maharaji knows all about my dirty laundry. I remember once I went into an ashram where you rent a cave for 18 rupees a week and they lock you in and pass food in through a window. It was very hot in there so I was naked all the time. I came back to Maharaji and one of the first things he said to me was, out of a clear sky, âYou know, itâs good not to wear clothes.â I said âOh, yeah Maharaji? Thank you.â
I was in Bombay and I started to drink scotch and sodas. I was with the president of an ashram board of trustees. I was visiting his home and I was a yogi and he said, âThe doctors said that for my heart I have to take a little scotch every night,â And I said, âOh, I understand.â Because itâs not good to drink in India. Conscious beings donât drunk, because itâs not a very interesting drug actually.
So I went into his room expecting him to bring out a little medicine glass and pour some, but he brought out an ice bucket and two glasses and I remembered the days when I really loved scotch and soda. So he poured one and said, âWould you like some soda water?â I said, âNo, Iâll join you.â I figured, âTantra is for me!â So I got completely crocked and we staggered through dinner, his wife was feeding us, and I could barely find the table. This was on one drink. The next evening we started a little earlier and it was one of those things. After about three days I went back up north to Brindaban and that evening Maharaji called me out to his tucket and he started talking about this other yogi who was an American who was being taken care of by these very devoted women.
He said, âHeâs with women!â I said, âYes, I know Maharaji.â He said, âWhat does he call them?â I said, âHe calls them his mothers,â âOh, how old are they?â I said, âWell, one is twenty years old.â He was just taking me through this whole thing, he had done it a dozen times before. He said, âYou know what his mothers give him?â I said, âNo, what?â He said, âThey give him milk.â I said, âThatâs wonderful. Mothers, milk, thatâs just right on.â He said, âEvery night they give him milk.â I said, âOh, thatâs wonderful Maharaji.â Maharaji comes up to me really close and he says to me, âYou know what they put in the milk?â I say, âNo Maharaji, what do they put in the milk?â He says, âLiquor!â and I said, âNo!â And he comes closer and he says, âYes!â and shakes his finger at me.
So where am I going to hide? You think because he is not in a body it makes any difference?
Thereâs that constant feeling, if you canât hide itâs all out in the open and if itâs all out in the open, well, here we are. You have to be what you are because you canât make believe you are something else, because who are you going to fool? Itâs far out, there is just nowhere to lock the door. Thatâs quite freeing, it turns out.
~Ram Dass, 1977
In 1960, while I was living at Thornhill Road in Allahabad, Baba and some of his devotees were going on a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. They left Church Lane for the railway station in rickshaws. The other rickshaws, which were all in front of Baba, turned onto Thornhill Road near the Indian Press, but Baba directed his rickshaw driver to go in the opposite direction without informing anyone. He came to my house just to tell me that I should not scold my children while teaching them. Baba’s heart was very tender, and he could not tolerate children being treated harshly. Baba said to me, “All come with their destiny written.”Â He gave me examples of people unknown to me and how they attained their high positions. To clarify, he asked me, “Who is the doer?”Â I got the point, and this question has guided me throughout my life. My children completed their education by their own efforts.
[caption id=”attachment_1061” align=”alignleft” width=”260” caption=”Courtesy: www.susandunn.cc”]
On Baba’s instruction, my eldest son was initiated in the ashram of Sri Prabhudutt Brahmachari at Jhusi. We held the closing function at our place with the blessings of Baba, who sat in the prayer room with my son’s head resting on his lap. Putting his hand on my son’s head for a long time, Baba sat in bliss. That splendid scene cannot be described in words. Baba initiated my younger son at Kainchi Ashram.
Excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”Â
The following is an excerpt from a Ram Dass lecture from Listening Heart, Relationships, & Appreciating the Beloved from the Summer of 1989. It is his response to a question from an audience member “What did Maharaji say about love?”
Maharaji on Christ:
“Christ said love all beings as children of God, serve them. Give everything to the poor, even your clothing. Give it all away. Jesus gave it all away including his body.”
How did Christ meditate, Maharaji? He was lost in love. He was one with all beings and he had great love for all in the world. He was crucified so that his spirit could spread throughout the world. He was one with God. He sacrificed his body for the dharma. He never died. He never died. He is atman living in the hearts of all. See all beings as the reflection of Christ.
Maharaji, what can I do to gain pure love for Ram? You will get pure love for Ram by the blessings of Christ. Hanuman and Christ are one. They are the same.
What is the best method of meditation? Do as Jesus did and see god in everyone. Take pity on all and love all as God. When Jesus was crucified he felt only love.
Maharaji, who are you? Everyone is a reflection of my face.
Fewer visitors were coming to Kainchi Ashram, for it was October and getting cold in the hills. One day at about 2 p.m. Kundanlal sah, an engineer, was going from Ranikhet to his home in Bareilly. On his way he stopped his car at the ashram and went in to have Maharaji’s darshan. There were only four people with Baba. After some time many elderly lady devotees arrived from Nainital, and Baba asked all of them to prepare puris in the kitchen. Sah said that he could not understand why so many ladies would be preparing so much food when there were only four people with Baba and all the inmates of the ashram had already taken prasad. It came to his mind that there must be some other reason for preparing large quantities of puris and vegetables. At about 7 p.m. two buses full of scouts from Rajasthan arrived unexpectedly at the gates of the temple. They were touring the hills and arrived at the ashram via Dwarahat and Ranikhet. Baba was very happy to see the children and made them eat to their heart’s content.
excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”
Before I eat, I bless my food. For many people, saying grace in childhood was a time of impatience when adults were controlling the situation, but Iâve discovered that it can become a moment to reawaken a living truth. When I get food, I hold the food up or sit with my hands beside my plate, and I say a blessing. And then I just think about it for a moment and I realize that this whole ritual of praying over food is part of all form, itâs part of law, itâs part of the universe. The food Iâm praying over, the bowl of oatmeal or whatever Iâm eating, is part of God and I, who am making this prayer, offering up this food, am part of God. And the hunger that Iâm using the oatmeal to quiet, the pangs in my stomach, the desires, the fire which will consume this food, thatâs also part of God. And I begin to sense the oneness of everything; I start to experience a quietness and then I understand that the deeper I appreciate that it is all one, the deeper I become one with it all, and sense that all separateness is over.
I use this prayer all the time to remind me of this, to bring me home. Iâve gotten so that now I really canât sit down to a meal without doing this. Sometimes in a restaurant I just quietly go inward; I donât have to make a production out of it, I donât have to stop other people from eating.
âBrahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnau Brahmana Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam
(Translation: The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.)
So I suggest that the next time you are waiting for food to be served, feeling impatient or hungry, that you use it as a chance to think of God. And then when you receive the food, say a blessing and let the food remind you that all is one. Then eat. And slowly, as you just watch, rituals can become rigid things or they can become loose things.Â And slowly over time this ritual becomes a living statementÂ of our connection to the divine; of our at-oneness with everything manifest in the universe.
~ Ram Dass
Excerpt from Ram Dass’ upcoming book “Polishing the Mirror” - set for release in 2013.Â
Radhay Shyam had been suffering from psoriasis on his feet for many years and had spent a lot of money on medication, including treatment at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He was disappointed because there had been no improvement.
In 1985 he went with his brother and grandson to attend the bhandara held in Vrindavan on Anant Chaturdashi, the anniversary of Baba’s Mahasamadhi. Radhay Shyam’s grandson went into Baba’s kuti alone, and in the solitude of that room, he joined his hands together in salutation before Baba’s big photograph on his tahkat. The boy humbly requested Baba to cure his grandfather’s disease. Baba had said, “Anyone who comes before my photograph is seen by me.” He was pleased with the boy’s prayer. The boy saw a beam of light emerge from the photograph, take the shape of a hand and touch his head. At the same time he heard a very clear voice coming from the photo saying, “Go, all will be well.” The incident frightened the boy, who went running to Radhay Shyam, telling him everything. Radhay Shyam’s feet gradually improved, and within ten months of this incident, the psoriasis was gone.
Excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”
My stepmother Phyllis and I went to the doctors together and we did the whole thing of getting all the reports and dealing with all the emotions. Now she was a very tough New England lady. She was wonderful, grounded, tough, poker-playing, smoking, just fun. She was argumentative and tough and willful. She had this kind of stiff upper lip way of living life and so she was doing that around her death. My job wasn’t to say “hey Phyllis, you should open to this.” That wasn’t my moral right. My job was just to be there with her. And I would lay on the bed and we would hold each other and we would just talk and we would talk about death and what we thought it might be like and all, but she was still very very strong. But the pain of the cancer was very intense and over time it finally wore away her will and there came a moment shortly before, maybe four or five days before her death, when she gave up.
Now in our culture giving up is seen as failure. Everybody says keep trying, keep trying. We surround people who are dying with a certain kind of falseness that comes out of our own fear. When my mother, my natural mother was dying I remember it was back in ‘66 and she was in a hospital in Boston. I would be sitting with her and in those days I was taking a lot of psychedelics so I would usually be on something sitting with her. I would watch people coming into the room, all the relatives and doctors and nurses saying you are looking better, you are doing well and then they would go out of the room and say she won’t live the week. And I thought how bizarre that a human being is going through one of the most profound transitions in their life and they are surrounded completely by deception. Can you hear the pain of that? That nobody could be straight with them because everybody was too frightened, even the rabbi, all of them, everybody. Everybody. And she and I talked about it. She said what do you think death is? I said I don’t know. I look at you and you are my friend and it looks like you are in a building that is burning down but you are still there, and I figure when the building burns it will go and you’ll still be there. In a way we just met in that space.
So with Phyllis I was open and she could ask whatever she wanted. I didn’t say “now let me instruct you about dying” because she would not have accepted that. But then she gave up, and at the moment she surrendered it was like watching an egg breaking and some being emerged that was so radiantly beautiful and present and light and joyful. It was a being that at some deep intuitive level she knew herself to be but had never been busy being all of her adult life. And she opened to this being and she and I just basked in its radiance and she at that moment had gone into another plane of consciousness where we were completely together talking, being, but the pain and the dying process were just phenomena that were occurring. At that moment she was no longer busy dying.