the sake of another, day and night performing action,
given up self-centered interests, the compassionate person acts;
self-centered man is wholly immersed in necessity,
unsuccessful actions for himself alone.
compassionate person without any vested interest works day and night for the
welfare of others. On the other hand, a selfish person, desirous only of his
own advantage, toils endlessly but comes again and again to frustration.
For the sake of fellow-man, unceasing, day and night
Unstinting strives the kindly man;
The niggard lying prone, what frustration’s toil undertakes,
That is for his own sake alone.
major theme of Atmo is enlarging the ego boundary, and it starts up in earnest
now. The section on sama and anya, self
and other, from verses 36-41,
looms in the near distance. The idea is that we learn to erect protective
barriers around ourself in order to develop in safety, and while these serve a
valuable purpose for awhile, their rigidity eventually becomes stifling for
those who desire to expand their consciousness beyond the mundane. Spiritual
development is the process of enlarging the ego boundary to include more and
more of the universe, ultimately expanding it to infinity. When the ego
includes everything, it no longer resembles the petty, turf-guarding version in
the least. It is said to be one with the Absolute. Like the skin of a snake, we
have to continually shed our envelopes when they become too tight for us, else
we will not be able to grow.
all have periods when we become comfortable with our boundaries. After all,
they do keep us safe from threats and include much of the territory we have
already explored. We adapt ourself to their shape and dimension and settle
down, and can quickly become content. Our energy is mainly expended to
reinforce the defenses, keeping what appears to be hostile out. Yet as Nitya
puts it, “Of course, as Robert Frost has said, you are fencing yourself
in as much as the other out. You only think you are keeping an alien world
outside, when actually you are putting up a wall and imprisoning yourself.” He
is referring to the sublime poem Mending Wall, which we have often referred to
in these notes.
Mending Wall, Frost says “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that
wants it down.” That Something cannot be named. It’s not elves, exactly, but
it’s like elves—invisible playful spirits. Inside us is a growth program
unfolding, and it has many obstacles to overcome. Like a growing snake in its
skin it pulsates between periods of rest and periods of expansion. But we have
a tendency to cling to our image during the resting stage. Our brain seeks
equilibrium, and holds on to it when it occurs. If we are not to become stuck
in semi- or pseudo-enlightenment, we have to stay attuned to the inner impulse that
“beats, murmurs, and pulsates in the nerves.” (DM VI, 7) We either expand or
stagnate. Walls hold us back.
of the most important services of a guru or dear friend is to help us make a
breakthrough when we are satisfied with our stage of growth and are
unconsciously stifling our development. Love
and Blessings, Nitya’s Autobiography, is filled with stories of Nataraja
Guru coming to sabotage his position whenever he found what he thought was a
propitious situation. A favorite paragraph of mine is on page 207:
If Guru had not come along at
that very moment and set me back on my path, my life might have been very
This wasn’t the first time Guru had come
into my life like a destroying Shiva to separate his disciple from the snare of
karmic entanglements. Wherever I proved to be successful or was becoming
admired, he had a knack for sabotaging the situation. Once I asked him why he
was doing this, and he told me his name was Natarajan and he was only doing his
duty, adding “If Shiva doesn’t demolish, Brahma won’t get a chance to create
again.” I have to admit that whenever he intervened to get me to terminate a
program it always led to another program of greater spiritual value.
Hexagram 39 of the I Ching, Obstruction, is
one of several that offer a similar insight, including, interestingly, “It
furthers one to see the great man.” Richard Wilhelm’s comment on the image is
typical of the I Ching’s philosophy:
Difficulties and obstructions
throw a man back upon himself. While the inferior man seeks to put the blame on
other persons, bewailing his fate, the superior man seeks the error within
himself, and through this introspection the external obstacle becomes for him
an occasion for inner enrichment and education.
I’ll tuck a more complete version of the
hexagram into Part III, along with the Frost poem.
23 invites us to break free of our limits. Certainly Nitya’s fabulous
commentary speaks for itself and needs no elucidation. The class dug up
subtlety after subtlety in just the way the Gurus intended the study to be
made. It’s really wonderful how the mutual feedback loops foster so much
Guru’s sublime ideal runs counter to surface appearance: acting unselfishly
benefits the self and acting selfishly is detrimental to it. It would seem that
if everyone understood this one simple idea, the human race would be utterly
transformed. Too bad it isn’t as obvious as we might like. It is further
complicated by the subtle fact that “I am acting unselfishly” or “I intend to
act unselfishly” is as much an ego thrust as “I am selfish,” although possibly
having nicer ramifications. True unselfishness doesn’t cling to either side of
that delusory coin.
noticed a similarity in the verse’s paradoxical premise to a teaching
attributed to Jesus at least six times in the Bible: “For whosoever will save
his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16.25) It is
sometimes paraphrased as by giving you shall receive, but lacking the
reciprocal: by receiving you should give. The underlying idea is that we are
all connected, so I cannot act in isolation. My actions have to be seen for
their impact in all directions. Nitya talks about this in terms of
counterparts; Nataraja Guru often spoke of reciprocity. Newton summed it up as
for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or as Deb said, the
more you concentrate on yourself, the more you minimize your connection to the
whole, thereby underlining your isolation and unhappiness.
saw us all as trapped in this predicament in varying degrees, so he used the
occasion to blast us out of our complacency. Even reading his words could
provide a lever to raise us out of the ditch, if we were willing to take it
seriously. It never ceases to amaze me, though, how resistant humans are to
change, no matter how attractive its possibilities.
friends routinely get in touch with me when they are at low points and have
become frustrated with the emptiness of their lives. They are isolated and
depressed, busily self-medicating to reduce their incentive to change. We work
to set up a first step in reaching out, of enlarging their ego barriers one
tiny bit, but they never follow through. Some mysterious fear blocks them,
keeps them enslaved to their habitual misery. The class wrestled some with how
to make a breakthrough, but mostly we acknowledged the invisible factors that
militate against our making progress. Needless to say, this is a critically
important aspect of spiritual life. Why, oh why, do we fear life and willingly
embrace instead a living death?
used our friend Johnny as an example of someone who organically has found an
outlet for unselfish activity, and whose life has been vastly enriched by it.
He donates time to go to a prison and hold discussion groups and produce plays
with the inmates. Plenty of people consider this a shocking waste of time and
money, but for Johnny it gives his life meaning. Those outcasts from society
who everyone would rather forget are living human beings not at all unlike the
rest of us. The emptiness of their existence calls out to Johnny to cast his
fullness into it. It is not a zero sum game. All are enriched by his efforts,
including himself. By contrast, the untutored ego views it as effort wasted on
those who don’t deserve it, a lose/lose proposition. Many of them might even
call themselves Christians or Hindus, but Johnny is the one acting as Narayana
Guru and Jesus specifically advised. His is a win/win endeavor.
Bill said, many teachers speak of the need to free ourselves from ego. Meaning
the limits of a fearful ego. The ego is essential, but it needs to know its
place. Johnny’s ego has expanded to include a very needy group. I often recall
his brief poem: My foreign policy: there are no foreigners.
also stressed that being compassionate is a practice.
It is meant to be practiced. The idea is eminently practical. You can be
beautiful people following gurus, but if you aren’t practicing what they preach
it is all for naught.
pointed out that we have to be unselfish without any expectation of reward or
notice. If we act unselfishly with an implicit expectation of glory or heavenly
reward or some such, it spoils the purity of the act. We should resolve to act
in secret, out of the public eye, which helps take away our selfish
reminded Deb of a meditation Nataraja Guru once prescribed for egocentric
students: imagine the world without you in it. He himself had been instructed
by Narayana Guru to meditate on himself without the world being present, and
that’s more the classic version. Because he was keenly aware of the reciprocal
nature of the universe, Nataraja Guru was always bringing the opposite to bear.
related a story where he got upset and snapped at a woman who was just trying
to help him. He was sheepish that for all his trying he still gets flustered
and fails to act in an exemplary manner. Of course, everyone present knew he
was not alone! We are all trying to really learn that moments like those are
not so much failures as golden chances to tale a look at our normally hidden
conditionings. One of the biggest steps we can take in spiritual life is to
convert our ego’s leaps to its own defense into learning opportunities, which
is what they are.
related something Charles had told her. When he was in Nepal, the guru he was
with (Thubten Zopa Rinpoche) had said when you meet a difficult truth, a
stinging truth, that’s your “root lama” giving you a wisdom teaching. Don’t
obfuscate it with feeling upset or embarrassed, but look at what it’s showing
you. The ego’s pain is just another ploy for it to avoid facing itself.
to our root lama. This is another lesson, like reaching out to a wider world,
that is easy to describe but difficult to put into practice. Something in us
slyly resists, but that’s the moment we have to bring pressure. Not by trying
mightily to become calm again, to become a peaceful, wise rishi, but to admit
our blundering and gaze open eyed into the chaos, because once we truly see
what’s going on there, it begins to lose it’s hold. Bill wanted to assure us
that we are blessed if each day gives us an opportunity like that to be compassionate.
I’d add, compassionate to ourselves as well as those around us. If the ego
didn’t feel under pressure all the time, it could more easily lighten up. It
needs to be trained that it won't be punished for admitting its mistakes, it
will grow wiser.
had been building up to a blast in the previous couple of verses, and at the
end of this one he lowered the boom. Most of us in the class were in our
twenties, and so still quite self-centered despite our posturing. Even though
the outburst was nominally about other people, it was something for us all to
take to heart. I well recall the intensity of sitting there and being
eviscerated by his quiet yet incredibly passionate words. Later when I was
preparing the American edition of Love
and Blessings, I discovered it included the letter Nitya had sent to the
father who sparked the whole thing. I’ll close with it, since it adds to the
lesson and also demonstrates Nitya’s expertise in dealing with people’s
problems. He was walking a fine line in being critical but also loving and
supportive. Too much criticism and the person walks away. Too much love and
they don’t hear the lesson. Nitya got it just right. And yet it didn’t change
the outcome. So it goes.
Swami these people were close to was Saccidananda, who had been brought low by
a sex scandal. Nitya was responding to the man’s letter:
letter opens with the sharing of beauty like some of these winter mornings in
Oregon when St. Helens reveals herself for one moment in her snow clad glory
with purple clouds hovering over. Unfortunately the morning glory of the winter
fades out in no time, and the rest of the day is doomed with its dark clouds
and cold mist. Your letter reminds me of Krishna’s first admonition to Arjuna:
“You are speaking words of wisdom and yet you are grieving unnecessarily.”
hermit in you is what the Gita calls a midhyachara
in chapter 3, verse six: “He who sits controlling the organs of activity while
ruminating mentally over items of sensuous interest, thus blinded to the self,
whatever he does has only outer conformity and in substance is meaningless.”
Your thoughts of becoming a hermit do not at this moment mean anything more
than fleeing, escaping from your own conscience. In that you will not succeed.
Cain tried to run away and hide from his own conscience, and he failed
miserably. God is the all-seeing eye in one’s own conscience.
hermit should love his aloneness, but what delights you is the company of
admiring, supportive and loving friends. At a very impressionable time Swamiji
was your alter ego. At that time he lived in undisputed glory, and you were
recognized as a priceless promise of the future. Afterwards both these images
were tarnished. However stained the image is, the mind habitually looks in that
direction with muffled regret clad in confused hope.
have within you a youthful Apollo who brings to you visions of beauty, wisdom
and love. But your psyche is also recurrently benumbed by the haunting
influence of a Sphinx that suggests terrible things to you. Otherwise, I do not
understand how you can ever look upon your children as a burden.
is generous on your part in the think of giving Mary Sue in marriage to a
loving rich man. This would have been a good aspiration if you were her father.
But there are billionaires in the United States who live in greater poverty of
feeling and sense of values than the most hard-hearted bandits. The magic to
make Mary Sue happy is not finding a rich husband for her but curing her of her
innate poverty that again and again raises its head like the hydra dreaming of
new wants and fearing the advent of insecurity around the corner. Contentment
should be her riches.
welcome your preparedness to enter into a dialogue with me. I thank you for
sending the note on Sankara’s Vivekachudamani.
I shall go back to it leisurely. In the meanwhile, let us have a direct
confrontation like this and sort out the issues satisfactorily.
I went through five full sets of correcting the errors that the publisher added
(free of charge) to That Alone, but some remain. Many people are confused by
the difference between everyday (adjective) and every day (compound noun).
Pages 165 and 167 each have an instance of substituting the adjective for the noun,
which I have corrected in the digital text I sent out. Nitya was a stickler for
accuracy, and trained me very strenuously, but there are limits. The publisher
even “fixed” some of the corrections in later proofs, after they had been
rectified. The whole thing was a nightmare, demanding over a year of repair
work, but I couldn’t have stood it otherwise.
am keeping tabs on errors in case there is a second edition ever, but you can
send me what you find, just in case. So far I have about 40 more.
Neither This Nor That But . . . Aum:
one in this world is an isolated entity. Our abilities, commitments and
responsibilities are to be shared with at least a few people. No one can
totally abstain from action. Just to keep the body going one has to breathe,
eat and keep the body and the environment clean. All these come under the
category of daily imperative actions. Apart from this, there are actions that
need to be performed because of our commitment to society, such as the
pursuance of one's vocation, for instance. The third kind are optional actions
and we may perform them only if we choose; these are incidental actions.
responsible doctor cannot suddenly decide to treat the casualties on his hands
lightly. Parents cannot shirk their responsibilities when their children are
too young to take care of themselves. These are examples of the two kinds of
imperative actions. Jesus' example of the Good Samaritan illustrates incidental
the three kinds of actions enumerated, incidental action implies a deeper
spiritual significance than that of imperative and daily actions. Our
commitment to it is born of free choice, and that choice is motivated by a
unitive understanding that recognizes our identity with the Self in others as
well. A father or mother, duty bound to their child, is under social duress. We
can say that social mores are based on the fraternity of all beings, but it can
also be interpreted in terms of convenience, as theorized by Hobbes, Bentham
and Machiavelli. Our life flows between the banks of compassion and
selfishness. Nature pushes us toward the bank of selfishness when our personal
identity is threatened. Our spiritual belongingness attracts us to the opposite
bank of compassion when others exposed to danger require our services.
person with a strong and healthy spiritual identity places his own self as one
among others and thus acts out of compassion even when his own
self-preservation is at stake. Compassion is the most dominant note of a
cluster of values such as love, rejoicement, peace, justice, freedom and
fraternity. The realization of all these values is experienced as different
degrees of happiness. Even the sharing of pain or grief can have in it an
element of spiritual happiness when it is of an altruistic order. Actions
motivated by pure selfish need are born of the pain/pleasure complex and are of
who are obsessed with the idea of “I,” “me” and “mine” are blinded by their ego
and they hardly notice the inflow of compassion from others. They build around
themselves strong walls of separation and they decline responsibilities. As
there is no trust in others, they become calculating and carry with them many
secrets which increase their paranoia. Their lives are filled with intrigues and
manipulations. Such people give way to despair and become heavy weights on
those who are willing to show them compassion. From one disillusionment they go
to a new fantasy, only to be once again disillusioned and thrown into the ditch
of frustration. These unfortunate people always see long dark shadows of
failure obstructing their path in every attempt they make to find an avenue to
compassion dawns in the firmament of our life as our guiding star we become
easily acceptable to others and we also detect in everyone something good to
love and accept. Encouraged by the showing of love and happiness we may even
become strong enough to commit ourselves with unlimited liability. The world
will always find a good friend in a kindly person who is not daunted by
reproaches and reprovals. Such a pleasant person brings out his or her goodness
spontaneously. The sun shines and does not radiate darkness because it is its
nature to shine, and so only good comes to the world from the compassionate
sage as he engages in action without feeling that he is doing anything.
AFTER laying down the subtle dialectical law of ethics in
which the counterparts of
interest as between oneself and a fellow-human who is ‘no other’ than oneself, judged by
interest that binds them both in the two verses preceding the present one, the Guru here passes
on to point
out how static, self-centred striving, egocentrically
carried on, finishes up in
vain frustrations, eliminating in the process both the general good and the good for
These last two aspects of taking and giving, when correctly
viewed in the light of dialectical ethics, hang together.
Closed ethics ends in the
desert sands of exclusive isolation; while the open and inclusive way, which rises from the
particular to the universal
in a dynamism implied in all things that develop and grow, gives life more
abundance and makes life generally better for oneself and for all others.
Moreover, selfish toil
involves a great deal of energy which paradoxically defeats its own purpose. Niggardliness
of the open and bold generosity which widens the circle
of a man’s opportunities.
The ungenerous man closes the bars against himself.
Here the Guru clearly enunciates the basis of ethical
conduct, not in terms of a categorical imperative or an inner
compulsion, nor merely in
the name of the specifically human element in man, but based on a dialectical
formula as between
oneself and one’s own counterpart in the world of human relations. Many of the ordinary theories of
unilaterally-conceived ethics are here bypassed by the Guru in favour of an
approach more in keeping with the non-duality which is the basis of the whole
philosophy of self-knowledge as understood in this composition.
This verse teaches the same principle as the dictum ‘love thy
neighbour as thyself’; only the dialectical bipolarity is more explicit and the
unworkability of one-sided interest in the Self more categorically denounced.
23 speaks in a straightforward manner about a very basic feature of American
life: the pervasive strength of narcissism. In many ways, this ego-centrism can be interpreted in terms
of avarice, greed, and general materialism, but that definition covers only a
limited number of the ways in which narcissism manifests. In his commentary,
these behaviors as a consequence of a series of steps that solidify as a
solipsism that often takes a routine path but can also result in an arrogance
for “straightening out” others.
Both are projects of the ego-centric because in both cases
self-enhancement is the goal.
is with this very point of definition that Nitya begins his commentary. He opens
by describing the different
borders we draw around our egos, beginning with those inside of which we place
people most intimate with us such as family members. Subsequent borders of a larger circumference include larger
groups such as nations, ethnicities, and so on. The larger a circle becomes, the more likely it is to
require a doctrinaire character in order to maintain (“the one true God,” “my
country right or wrong,” etc.).
The realized and compassionate person, Nitya points out, expands
boundary to the point of its evaporating and uses the term I interchangeably with the term we.
two alternative motivations—narcissism and compassion—lie behind our actions
which are of three kinds: daily activities, social activities (that speak to
one’s “placement in society”), and irregular or “incidental” activities. The first group includes those routines
everyone must attend to such as eating, sleeping, and so on. These pursuits carry
no moral weight. They just are. The other two
categories, on the other hand, have an impact on others and as such are ethical
in character. Damage or benefit to
the larger group results from our decisions however trivial they may be. By assuming
the fear-driven ego-centric
position, the selfish person maintains his boundaries thereby highlighting the
distinction between the ego-self and the other. With this basic foundation, one develops a “life-pattern”
that carves out major psychological ruts through which one drives one’s
life. Because the threat of the
other is everywhere, one must be on guard and constantly calculating relative
advantage. The world contracts.
sad state of affairs is the lot of many, continues Nitya, but it need not
be. Compassion requires no more
(possibly less) effort than that which is required to constantly attend to
boundaries. We can begin by
identifying in our social/ work lives those counterparts we regularly come into
contact with: teachers/students, merchants/customers, doctors/ patients,
parents/children, etc. By putting
yourself in that counterpart’s position (walk a mile in another’s shoes), by
pursuing those activities beneficial to that counterpart, we expand our worlds
and include rather than exclude.
It is in this simple adjustment that we can open ourselves to a
compassion grounded in mutual openness rather than in a fear-driven
concludes by noting the darkness and self-centeredness he witnessed in many
members of young American families who (at the time when he narrated is
commentary on the 100 Verses) asked
for his advice on how to free themselves of a life they no longer found
attractive and to pursue larger social goals. These young parents, says Nitya, had lost their way and
attached to their fantasies. In so
doing, they had failed to see what was important and the responsibilities they
had for others. Those closest to
us require our fidelity first, or as Nitya so cogently put the matter, “Save
your own child before you go out to save the whales” (p. 169).
poem, brimming with rishi-wisdom, that grows more beautiful with each reading:
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
I Ching Hexagram 39 -
Chien / Obstruction
- Above K'an
the abysmal, Water
Ken Keeping Still, Mountain
The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and
a steep, inaccessible mountain rising behind us. We are surrounded by
obstacles; at the same time, since the mountain has the attribute of keeping
still, there is implicit a hint as to how we can extricate ourselves. The
hexagram represents obstructions that appear in the course of time but that can
and should be overcome. Therefore all the instruction given is directed to
Obstruction. The southwest furthers. The northeast does not
further. It furthers one to see the great man. Perseverance brings good
The southwest is the region of retreat, the northeast that
of advance. Here an individual is confronted by obstacles that cannot be
overcome directly. In such a situation it is wise to pause in view of the
danger and to retreat. However, this is merely a preparation for overcoming the
obstructions. One must join forces with friends of like mind and put himself
under the leadership of a man equal to the situation: then one will succeed in
removing the obstacles. This requires the will to persevere just when one
apparently must do something that leads away from his goal. This unswerving
inner purpose brings good fortune in the end. An obstruction that lasts only
for a time is useful for self-development. This is the value of adversity.
Water on the mountain: The image of Obstruction. Thus the
superior man turns his attention to himself and molds his character.
Difficulties and obstructions throw a man back upon himself.
While the inferior man seeks to put the blame on other persons, bewailing his
fate, the superior man seeks the error within himself, and through this
introspection the external obstacle becomes for him an occasion for inner
enrichment and education.
discussion brought up a crucial point about spirituality. So much of the
popular version is about escape, seeking absence. There is a powerful
attraction to getting away from our problems, whatever they may be, and for
injured or abused people it may seem the only option.
of the stresses that beset us, we have to first distance ourselves from them in
order to gather ourselves back together. If our difficulties are grave enough
we begin to imagine that if we didn’t exist, life would be much more pleasant.
In any case, we have to find peace first of all. The hermit fantasy mentioned
in Nitya’s letter is a familiar aspect of insular spirituality, of an
unwillingness to cope with the present. In rare cases escape by itself could
produce a full cure, but not very often. Most of us learn much more from
meaningful interactions with others, once we begin to properly know ourselves.
That’s what Narayana Guru keeps underlining: the greatest “escape” is to be
here now, to find truth within existence.
is a huge industry built around relieving suffering, or promising to. Come
away, give up your daily chores, cut yourself away from society. It’s very
appealing. But Nitya and his forebears, including Krishna of the Gita, were
also teaching presence, in addition
to absence. It may be that presence grows out of absence. We retire to develop
wisdom so we can be more available, more present. We still strive for absence
from our faults and intractable problems, but not from our value to our
surroundings. For those who have recovered themselves, the practice is to
become more in tune with the world and improve our capabilities to interact
with it. Opting out is tragic. It is the child’s immediate response to a hurt
ego. When a child’s ego recovers from an insult, they eagerly get back in the
game. But if it is battered long enough, the child’s spirit is defeated, and
they only seek surcease of sorrow. They may even commit suicide to escape the
pain. Or they continue to live, but with an unbridgeable abyss between life and
Guru’s teachings direct us to restore the connection: to develop presence,
heightened involvement, in whatever we do. We don’t have to follow a formula or
change our lifestyle, but only engage in what we do as completely as possible.
We aim to be as alive as we can, if only at odd moments, when our focused
attention is brought to bear.
the greatest appeal of Narayana Guru’s philosophy is that it is totally down to
earth. There is no separation between us and the exalted state: there is no
special place to go or thing to do. We live realization right where we are, in
our daily activity. He assures us we are already realized. So many great
teachers have an other-worldly air. He does too, and yet it's combined with a
fiery intensity that pressures us to wake up and live, exactly where we stand.
It’s a philosophy that can have a fantastic impact on our life if we have ears
to hear with.