Friday, November 2, 2018

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for November 2018: Mata Amritanandamayi on the Climate Crisis, Human Trafficking and Divine Love

Mata Amritanandamayi April 2009 (CC BY 2.0)

 "When fire breaks out in a ten-story building, the person living on the first floor cries out for help. The person living on the tenth floor says that it is not his problem. But it soon will become his problem too. He does not realize that. Amma always says that there is harmony in the universe. Everything in the universe is interconnected. The universe is a net held by each of us. When there is movement in the corner of a net held by four people, it will reflect everywhere. All actions we perform knowingly or unknowingly, alone or as a group is being reflected in the corners of the universe. It will not work if we wait for others to change. Even if they do not change, we should be willing to change. We should see what we can do. -- Mata Amritanandamayi's Message for Summit of Conscience for Climate (2015)

"Today the value of everything has increased. Men sell their sperm and women their ova for a great deal of money, but ironically, in many countries, a child can be purchased for prostitution or forced labor for a pathetic sum of 10 to 20 dollars.
"There are antibiotic ointments that aid in the healing of external wounds. Similarly, there are many different kinds of medication available to treat diseases of our internal organs, but there is only one medicine that can heal the wounds of our mind. This medicine is pure love. In order to heal the mental and emotional wounds inflicted upon the victims of human trafficking, we need to care for them with selfless love." -- Mata Amritanandamayi's Speech Against Human Trafficking and Slavery at the Vatican (2014)

SFTS Lodge 2018
"Love is our true essence. Love has no limitations such as religion, race, nationality, or caste. We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity and to spread the love that is our inherent nature to others—this is the true aim of human life. Indeed, love is the only religion that can help humanity rise to great and glorious heights. And love should be the one thread on which all religions and philosophies are strung together. The beauty of society lies in the unity of hearts." -- Mata Amritanandamayi, May Peace & Happiness Prevail (2004)

"The love of awakened motherhood is a love and compassion felt not only towards one’s own children, but towards all people, animals and plants, rocks and rivers—a love extended to all of nature, to all beings. Indeed, to a woman in whom the state of true motherhood has awakened, all creatures are her children. This love, this motherhood, is Divine Love—and that is God.
"The essence of motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth; it is a principle inherent in both women and men. It is an attitude of the mind. It is love — and that love is the very breath of life. No one would say, ‘I will breathe only when I am with my family and friends; I won’t breathe in front of my enemies.’ Similarly, for those in whom motherhood has awakened, love and compassion towards everyone is as much part of their being as breathing." -- Mata Amritanandamayi, The Awakening of Universal Motherhood (2002)


For more on the life and work of Ammachi, visit https://amma.org/


Thursday, November 1, 2018

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events: November 2018

 

Friday, November 2nd

NO MEETING. LODGE CLOSED. Día de Muertos! Samhain! Halloween! Celebrate. Enjoy. Lodge Reopens November 9th

Friday, November 9th

Yoga Nidra  -- John Paul 

 

Friday, November 16th 

Founders' Day -- Join Us to Celebrate the Life and Work of H.P. Blavatsky, H.S. Olcott and W.Q. Judge

 

Friday, November 23rd

NO MEETING. LODGE CLOSED. Have A Joyous Thanksgiving. "Ours is Not A Caravan of Despair"

 

Friday, November 30th

Conversations in Theosophy

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SFTS Lodge Heritage: Clear Light Invocation


"The Clear Light is the source of light hat ligheth everyone of humankind that cometh into the world.
It is the radiance of Cosmic Consciousness. 
Yogins realize it while still in the fleshly body
And all humans glimpse it at the moment of death. 
It is the light of the Buddha, the Christ and all Masters of Life. 
And to the devotee in whom it shines unimpededly, it is the Guru and the Deliverer."

The Theosophical Society Lodge of San Francisco has a deep, rich heritage stretching back to 1901.

Among the many mystical treasures that have been swept up into the Lodge's ongoing narrative are two powerful invocations, the First Ray and the Clear Light. Every Friday night meeting opens with one or the other. Each has a story that flows along with it into the future.

Both of these stories are told in Richard Power's Great Song: Life and Teachings of Joe Miller.

The Clear Light came to us from Dr. W.Y. Evans-Wentz through Joe Miller.

The great scholar-mystic was an important influence on Joe.

In the oral history included in Great Song, Joe tells both the story of their friendship and the origins of the Clear Light as it is uttered at the SFTS Lodge to this day:
  • "In the late 1950s, Joe wrote an essay on the Clear Light, which Evans-Wentz edited for him Although the short piece was never published, it gave Joe an opportunity to formulate some ideas. In his edit, Evans-Wentz struck a paragraph of Joe's and contributed one of his own as a substitute. Evans-Wentz's contribution was one of Joe's treasures, and he recited it at the conclusion of his Lenten readings of the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation:  The Clear Light is the source of light that ligheth everyone of humankind that cometh into the world. It is the radiance of Cosmic Consciousness. Yogins realize it while still in the fleshly bodyAnd all humans glimpse it at the moment of death. It is the light of the Buddha, the Christ and all Masters of Life. And to the devotee in whom it shines unimpededly, it is the Guru and the Deliverer." (Great Song, pp. 226-227.)


SFTS Lodge Heritage: First Ray Invocation


May the Holy Ones show us the Light we seek
And give us the strong aid of their Compassion and their Wisdom
There is a Peace that Passeth All Understanding 
It abides in the hearts of those who live in the Eternal
There is a Power that maketh all things new
And it lives and moves in those who know the Self as One
May that Peace brood over us, and that Power uplift us
Until we stand where the One Initiator is invoked
Until we see that star shine forth

The Theosophical Society Lodge of San Francisco has a deep, rich heritage stretching back to 1901.

Among the many mystical treasures that have been swept up into the Lodge's ongoing narrative are two powerful invocations, the First Ray and the Clear Light. Every Friday night meeting opens with one or the other. Each has a story that flows along with it into the future.

Both stories are told in Richard Power's Great Song: Life and Teachings of Joe Miller.

The First Ray came to us from Annie Besant through Joe Miller.

Besant and Miller had a brief but profound encounter early in Miller's life. In the oral history included in Great Song, Joe tells the story of his meeting with Annie and all that came from it.

He also recounts the origins of the First Ray as it is uttered at the SFTS Lodge to this day:
  • "Now in the LLC (Liberal Catholic Church), just as in the Roman Catholic Church, women couldn't be inside the sanctuary while a service was underway. So when they called Annie Besant in for the snapper, she just walked up in front of the rail to read this First Ray Invocation: May the Holy Ones show us the Light we seek. And give us the strong aid of their Compassion and their Wisdom. There is a Peace that Passeth All Understanding. It abides in the hearts of those who live in the Eternal. There is a Power that maketh all things new, and it lives and moves in those who know the Self as One. May that Peace brood over us, and that Power uplift us. Until we stand where the One Initiator is invoked. Until we see that star shine forth. I said, 'Wow, I gotta learn this!' And I did. But, in those days, no one was supposed to use it unless they were a priest in the LCC. Well, naturally, when I heard that I knew immediately I was going to learn it and use it. There was another line that I dropped. I didn't like the feel of it. It sounded like you should grovel. It seemed a bit slavish to me, so I just cut it out. It went, 'May the Holy Ones, whose disciples we aspire to be …' I just figure that if the desire is there, the aspiration, then you're IN, and there's no audition." (Great Song, p. 155.)


Thursday, October 4, 2018

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for October 2018: "I define the soul as ..."

 

Annie Besant, circa 1880s



"I define the Soul as that which individualises the Universal Spirit, which focuses the Universal Light into a single point; which is, as it were, a receptacle into which is poured the Spirit; so that that which in Itself is universal, poured into this receptacle appears as separate, identical in its essence always but separated now in its manifestation; the purpose of this separation being that an individual may develop and grow; that there may be an individualised life potent on every plane in the Universe; that it may know on the physical and on the psychical planes as it knows on the spiritual, and have no break in consciousness of any kind ; that it may make for itself the vehicles that it needs for acquiring consciousness beyond its own plane, and then may gradually purify them one by one until they no longer act as blinds or as hindrances, but as pure and translucent media through which all knowledge on every plane may come." -- Annie Besant, In the Outer Court (1898)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events: October 2018

 

[NOTE: Remember the new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.]

 

Friday, October 5th

Extended Library Hours 6-8 P.M. No Formal Meeting. 

Join Us. Browse the Collection. Sip Tea.

 

Friday, October 12th

Conversations in Theosophy -- From Annie Besant's Writings


Friday, October 19th

Lodge Video Night: "Secrets of the Yogis of Tibet"

 

Friday, October 26th and Friday, November 2nd

NO MEETING. LODGE CLOSED. Día de Muertos! Samhain! Halloween! Celebrate. Enjoy. Lodge Reopens November 9th

Saturday, September 29, 2018

In Gratitude and Celebration of Baba Hari Dass

Photo Courtesy of http://BabaHariDas.org
"There is an unspoken language. It comes from silence
and can’t be heard by the ears, only by the heart."
-- Baba Hari Dass

The great Baba Hari Dass has passed on from this incarnation.
"Baba Hari Dass, the spiritual leader and silent monk who inspired thousands out of the Mount Madonna Center north of Watsonville, died Tuesday morning in his Bonny Doon home. He was Known by his students and devotees as Babaji — Hindi for 'respected father,' he taught yoga and meditation out of the Watsonville retreat center and school after moving to the U.S. from India in 1971. Babaji took a vow of silence in 1952, conversing only through his writings and a small chalkboard from which he would dispense terse-yet-profound utterances to those who sought his advice. Asked once by a Sentinel reporter to describe himself, he wrote simply, 'I am what people see me as.' Asked how should one live a good life, he would reportedly respond, 'Work honestly, meditate every day, meet people without fear, and play.'"  -- Nicholas Ibarra, Silent monk Baba Hari Dass, who inspired thousands at the Mount Madonna Center, dies at 95, Mercury News, 9/26/18
Hari Dass was a beloved friend and ally of the legendary American sages Joe and Guin Miller. Through the Millers, I had the blessing of two one-on-one encounters with this powerful being.

In the mid-1980s, Joe sent me down to Mount Madonna to ask Baba Hari Dass a question. Over a decade earlier, Joe had come across the term "Sphurana" in S.S. Cohen's Reflections on the Talks of Sri Ramana Maharshi. He felt it explained his experience with the gentle in-drawn breath into the heart -- in a way he hadn't come across anywhere else. So, in 1971, he wrote to Cohen, who was living at Ramana Ahsram, and shared what he felt the term meant. In response, Cohen wrote, "Sphurana only interests those who are very near the end of their spiritual journey. But to describe the Sphurana correctly, as you do, is the end itself." (See Great Song: Life and Teachings of Joe Miller, p. 19) Late one night sitting in the Miller's living room, Joe and I discussed that same passage from Reflections. It provided technical context of certain experiences I was having. Some weeks later, seemingly out of the blue, Joe said, "Go down and see old man Hari Dass, and tell him I said to ask him about Sphurana." So I drove down to Mount Madonna and Hari Dass graciously received me. "Joe said I should ask you what 'Sphurana' is?" On his chalk board, Hari Dass wrote, "You tell me." I described my experience, I shared what the term meant to me. Nodding enthusiastically, Hari Dass made a little sound several times in rapid succession, it wasn't a word, he didn't say anything, it was less than a syllable, it was just a sound made with his tongue, his teeth and his breath, but it might as well have been "yes, yes, yes." Looking back, I realize Joe had sent me because he wanted me to feel the same kind of validation that he had gotten from S.S. Cohen.

In the late 1980s, while I was writing "Great Song: Life and Teachings of Joe Miller," I contacted Hari Dass and asked to interview him for the project. Soon, I was sitting once again in his deep, beautiful presence. "I just have one question for you, why does Joe Miller say he isn't a teacher?" On his chalk board, Baba wrote, “In life, we have many teachers. [Then he wiped it clean, and wrote again.] Our parents are teachers. In school, we have teachers. [Then he wiped it clean, and wrote again.] Life itself is a teacher. [Then he wiped it clean, and wrote again.] From time to time, there are record-breakers, Joe was a record-breaker.” (See Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality, p. 241) Baba was affirming that Joe was doing something remarkable, something outside the box.

Two encounters, two big questions, two profound answers. But there is something else, something beyond description really, during each of the two encounters, after each of the two questions were answered, he laid down his chalk board, straightened his spine, placed his palms on his knees, and took a breath, and in doing so, he communicated the ineffable nature of samadhi, palpably; it was emanating from his countenance, from how he held himself, from his presence, through the silence itself. For a few moments, the air rippled, the veils fell away. Vast, vast, vast.

At our Friday Night Lodge Meeting on 9/28/18, we held an impromptu memorial for this great being. We shared stories. We viewed two wonderful digital artifacts on You Tube, first, What is Guru, a marvelous thirteen-minute slide show of photos from Hari Dass' life and work (with a beautiful soundtrack courtesy of Snatam Kaur Khalsa), and then Hari Dass Baba Doing Rare Mudra, a seven-minute video featuring Hari Das doing a powerful, flowing demonstration of sacred hand gestures. And of course, in our closing circle, we sang "Never the Spirit is Born."

-- Richard Power, SFTS Lodge

[NOTE: We have embedded the videos below, so you from our blog site you can view them from inside this post, but if you are reading this via e-mail subscription, you will have to click on the links and watch via You Tube since embedded content doesn't carry through to e-mail.]

What is Guru


Hari Dass Baba Doing Rare Mudra