Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
As we look back upon the ancients and wonder at their barbarous customs, so too will our descendants look back upon us and wonder how it is that we choose our representatives for their purely political skills. They will consider inconceivable that anyone with sense would fail to choose, as the people’s representatives, any but poets, philosophers, scientists, and artists. Yet we appoint instead liars and charlatans, the most debased and ignorant, depraved and fanatical, who delight in power for the sake of power, and serve for the sake of serving themselves.
How ridiculous we will surely seem.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
If God wills that you should be successful, you will enjoy success. If He wills that you should fail, you will fail. His will likewise transcends all actions that may ensure or prevent success, or may assure or avert failure. His will is not contingent on your intention, nor is it bound by your action. Nor is the desired outcome contingent on your innocence or your guilt.
Yet if success is based upon some expectation, and you anticipate this success, and engage in no action, then you have abandoned your duty. You engage in action, good or evil; His will may be to require good or evil. Thus, if you act appropriately and perform your duty, the action in which you engage may take the form of success or failure—success because you have merited it, or failure when your endeavor is innocent but misguided.
Understanding this, it is possible to glimpse some understanding of the command to be detached from success or failure, but likewise always to engage in action, sacrificing the outcome always to His will.
Always He wills it but, as the people of Nineveh understood, our actions aren’t without consequence, and He is aware of our intentions, our actions, our guilt, and our innocence.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Monday, August 31, 2015
In terms of sin and redemption, sin is absolutely acknowledged. Yet punishment for sin doesn't take on a necessarily eternal form, but a definitive time-limited one in which punishment is in proportion to the sin. That punishment may be hellish or rebirth in the life to come in a lowly form.
Hinduism putatively solves the problem of equitable and proportional punishment for sin, and that even after death there is the possibility of God's redemptive grace. One may possess good karma or bad karma and enjoy heavenly peace or hellish agony. But these states both have their ending in time. And when that karma is burned away? Here mysticism begins, but only insofar as the mystic speaks figuratively of mysteries otherwise inconceivable, even to the mystic himself. He looks upon a spark, and speaks of the Sun.
The forests hint the Tree of Life,
And the waters hint His fathomless love,
And the mountains hint the height of His majesty,
His creation is His sign, having made nothing without meaning.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
I had a vision of the son of Vayu, Rama's faithful servant, the wisest of his kind. I said, "Immortal Hanuman, how is it that Vishnu granted you immortality? Was it some boon He granted? A wish He fulfilled in exchange for performance of some terrible austerity?
Hanuman answered, "Never for myself did I perform His service or obey His command. On the day that Sita emerged unscathed from the fire, on that glorious golden morning when she was restored to Rama's side, I said, 'Make my prayer a fountain of living waters whereby I may live as long as Your sovereignty endures and make mention of You in every world of Your worlds.'
"Lord Rama redeemed my promise and fulfilled my prayer. If I seem alive to you today, it is not for myself, but is because there is not a moment when His name and His praise is not on my lips."
I said, "His love is your well of fathomless waters, the vault of endless treasures, your heart of eternal life."
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
I still have two books to complete. The first is the Vishvarupa, which has yet to be printed, but which is otherwise finished. The second is the Bhagavad Gita Interpreted, which I edited and for which I provide an extensive introduction. The Vishvarupa, and their immediately preceding books, the Ramlila and the Rasa Lila, are the last of my original works.
While I expect to continue editing works, much as I did with the Rose Garden of Sa'di, I believe that the period of original works, which began nearly 25 years ago, is over. The works that I produced during that period are concluded. Once emptied, the cup is overturned. So empty is that cup that I must borrow words I wrote years ago, knowing this time was drawing nearer:
O friend, I have composed these books for you. My subjects come before you, to honor you, and to give advice in its place. But if you would be guided you would know that these are not the best of books. They are the least of them. If you read these works yet understand only these few words, you will put my books aside and take up another's. Then you will have heeded my advice and this gift will have served some good purpose.
Why do you draw from your quiver the crooked arrow?
Toss it away and take up the straight!
Be satisfied with the work of Rumi or Attar instead. In verse and prose they might bring you nearer your goal; they offer rest and comfort and solace to the weary.
To Rumi’s tales a wiser man refers,
To Attar’s skillful verses he defers.
Though envious of them, I cannot claim,
Their finer bow, their arrow, or their aim.
These two surpass me, but if they are not to your liking, turn instead toward the bounty of Abha, risen in your midst if you but looked. From Him you will find sure footing on this ruined road, and clear vision through a fog of doubts.
For my part the season has ended, and the fruits were long ago gathered up. Upon that field the sun has set; in that effort the work is done, the foundation built and I offer no further service. Recall the words of Sa‘di.
If it should not touch anyone’s ear of desire,
The messenger told his tale; it is enough.
After doubting the angel, Zechariah could not speak. For nine months his tongue was locked; silence from that sage was His sign, for what tongue can move without His leave? I can say nothing more.
Whoever speaks when his speech is done,
Burns the very bread of his motives,
And bleaches the shirt of meaning to tatters.
As for the books you'll find here, I take leave of them, these dear companions, the best of this orchard.
These fruits won't fall; they'll ripen on the vine,
Nor ever rot, nor hands incarnadine.