A blog reader asked the question – “How to make best utilize one’s savings from a spiritual point of view? Should one take medical insurance, life insurance, invest in mutual funds. If we engage in the stock market, it increases greed ? In some countries, medical costs are high so medical insurance is necessary.”
Time magazine in Jan, 1950 called it the “Revolt of a doormat” (alternate link). Nandini Mehta, wife of Bombay textile millionaire Bhagvandas Mehta and mother of three children went to court asking for legal separation. She had become a disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti and aspired to live a celibate life but her husband would not permit her to do so. After an acrimonious court battle, she eventually separated from her husband but was unable to gain custody of her children (1). She devoted the rest of her life to running an orphanage Bal Anand (i.e. “joy of children”; it still exists; see a report).
In January of 1939, when Britain was consumed by the anxiety that Hitler might invade Netherlands(the “Dutch war scare”), the young British novelist Christopher Isherwood arrived in America to further his literary prospects. In Los Angeles, he found his fellow countryman and friend Gerald Heard engaged in some mystical meditation practices under the guidance of Swami Prabhavananda who headed the Vedanta society of Southern California. In Isherwood’s opinion, the Christians were sour life-haters and sex-forbidders, hypocritically denying their rabid secret lusts while the Hindus seemed to be stridently emotional mystery-mongers whose mumbo-jumbo was ridiculous rather than sinister. Nevertheless, his curiosity was sparked by the discreet and composed Heard, who refused to divulge the secret teachings because it was absolutely forbidden to repeat the teacher’s instructions to anyone else.
This article is motivated by a recent comment on this blog. Those who have gained some familiarity with Sri Aurobindo are often baffled by his conduct: How could he smoke or eat meat while practicing Yoga? Doesn’t it violate the central tenets of Yoga? If that didn’t hinder his practice, can I emulate him? The answer is: “No, you shouldn’t emulate him” as we shall see by the end of this article.
There is a golden thread which knits together the lives of all sages. Behind their unique beatific personalities and inimitable ways of expression, they are all manifesting the same Divine Consciousness. It is this underlying unity which forms the basis for the similar phenomena that are visible in their lives. This article examines their ability to utter those aphoristic Truths which continue to resonate long after they are gone.
Growing up in a social milieu, we develop into gregarious beings who are accustomed to being praised, respected or at least acknowledged for being an individual. Humiliation in any form comes as a sharp blow to the ego. When our expectations are not met, we instinctively become resentful and hold grudges instead of handling the situation with dispassion. What do you do if the Guru, the very person you expected to be an epitome of boundless compassion, suddenly turns cold and hard? It can be a particularly acute test for the disciple as the two anecdotes here illustrate.
In an era suffering from an overabundance of Gurus and Avatars, it has become difficult to distinguish the real from the fake, especially when these Gurus are surrounded by a retinue of adoring, immature minions who tend to conflate coincidences with miracles and fervent imagination with spiritual experiences. Whose story should we believe? Various ancient Hindu scriptures speak of the different methods by which a Guru may initiate a disciple, and these signs can provide a test for discernment. We briefly cover the modalities of this initiation process (called Diksha in Sanskrit) with a few examples from some modern-day seers. Continue reading