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MEDITATION TIMES

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A PRODUCTION OF www.taoshobuddhameditations.com Published by: www.taoshobuddhameditations.com Country of Origin: Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Chief Editor/Graphics Layout & Design: Swami Anand Neelambar
Editorial Team: Taoshobuddha, Swami Anand Neelambar International Contributors: Hadhrat Maulawi Jalaluddin Ahmad Ar-Rowi, Lars Jensen
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In This Issue
Editorial Sahajobai An ode to guru by Sahajo Laleshwari

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Daya Mystic Rengetsu Ten Poems of Otagaki Rengetsu Muktabai

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Women Mystics

Taoshobudhha Meditations

Meditation Times

MEDITATION TIMES
Published by Taoshobuddha Meditations Trinidad, West indies

EDITORIAL
We continue with our women mystics in this September issue of Meditation Times. I have culled the editorial for this issue from the body of articles as I cannot find any appropriate sentiments to better expressed the magnanimity of these masters of mystical compos5tions. The word Sahajo literally means spontaneity and that was her teaching; hence the name was given to her by her master. Live spontaneously, moment to moment. This moment is all. The past has to be dropped, and forgotten, because it is no more, and the future has not to be worried about because it is not yet. Then all that is left is this beautiful moment. Rejoice in this moment, live in this moment totally and this moment becomes the door to God. The words of the enlightened one overflow spontaneously. He does not make any effort. The choice of words, their arrangements, and the melody creates an energy field that is a transmission beyond words. There is something mystical in the overflows of the enlightened one for which no words are sufficient to explain. Through such compositions and overflows the enlightened one creates such levels of beauty through the use and mastery of musical rhythm and rhyme with the play of words, that the reader and listener not only can appreciate the wisdom contained in these compositions, but also reach levels of ecstasy and mystical energy that is seldom found in any other such ii Taoshobudhha Meditations
Swami Anand Neelambar

compositions. Certainly these connect to your being. I call these as Meditations. To me Laleshwari is existential. One who was never and born never died. Beings of such an awareness that have experienced oneness within are existential. Their bodies are born and die but not the being that they have realized. Even a moment spent in the company of such a being is blessing. Let me take you to such a moment of ecstasy. Indian spiritual horizon is aglow because of Female Beings in Mirabai, Sahajobai, Dayabai, and Laleshwari. These had been beings of tremendous awareness, insight, and understanding. One thing that is common in all these is that they have been enlightened masters, and poets. There are two ways a man can be. A man can either move towards having more things then he goes against Buddha, Tao, and Zen. The man who is too much concerned with having more is the worldly man. And the man who is happy with whatsoever is good always remains. He relaxes and is not worried about having more money, more power, more prestige, and more respectability. Indeed he relaxes into TATHATA, suchness, is-ness he becomes a religious person. He starts moving in. If you are thinking to have more, you will move out. When you are concerned with having, you will be moving out; when you are no more concerned with having, you will move in towards being. And being is Buddha.

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September 2011

Sahajobai

n India we have known only six women who can be compared to Buddha, Christ, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu and Nanak. One is Mira, whose name is well known all over the world. The second is Lalla she was born in Kashmir, and Kashmir has tremendous respect for the woman. In Kashmir there is a saying that they know only two names: Allah and Lalla. Allah means God, and Lalla means the woman Lalla. The third name is
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Sahajo; the fourth name is Daya another contemporary of Sahajo and a friend of Sahajo. And the fifth name is Mallibai, one of the tirthankaras of the Jainas, one of the most important masters. The sixth woman mystic is Muktabai the 12th century mystic from Maharashtra. She is youngest of four brothers and sisters. Her three brothers were masters in their own right NivritiNath, Dnyandev, and Sopandev.
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In addition to these women mystics there has been a Sufi Mystic Rabia al Basri, Naqshbandi Sufi Shakuntala Devi, and Zen mystic Rengetsu. These are the names of the most important woman mystics of in the entire history of human consciousness for the simple reason that man never allowed them to discover their innerness. The word Sahajo literally means spontaneity and that was her teaching; hence the name was given to her by her master. Live spontaneously, moment to moment. This moment is all. The past has to be dropped, and forgotten, because it is no more, and the future has not to be worried about because it is not yet. Then all that is left is this beautiful moment. Rejoice in this moment, live in this moment totally and this moment becomes the door to God. Sahajo is enlightened. As such as you are, you cannot understand the enlightenment of Sahajo. You will understand only when you become enlightened. Only an enlightened one can recognize another enlightened one. The words of the enlightened one overflow spontaneously. He does not make any effort. The choice of words, their arrangements, and the melody creates an energy field that cannot be put in words. Words come from the source. It is the inner beauty, harmony and bliss
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that assume words to manifest innerness fresh and new. After enlightenment each word that overflows is like a coin freshly minted or the flower that has just blossomed. It becomes scripture that will continue to be the beacon light. There is something mystical in the overflows of the enlightened one for which no words are sufficient to explain. However, certainly there is something indescribable. Through such compositions and overflows the enlightened one creates such level of beauty through the use and mastery of musical rhythm and rhyme with the play of words, that the reader and listener not only can appreciate the wisdom contained in these compositions, but also reach levels of ecstasy and mystical energy that is seldom found in other such compositions. Certainly these connect to your being. I call these as Meditations. The mastery of rhyme and rhythm is such that very often he creates a new vocabulary, using the same old words, yet creating new feelings that are associated with the insights of enlightenment. Furthermore, often he has such mastery of play on words or at other times he uses the same word with a different accent or vowel twice or even thrice in the same composition, with a different meaning each time.
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One cannot help but marvel at the linguistic mastery that the enlightened one displays through various compositions and meditations that he has created. One can simply drown in the essence of it and thus get connected to your being. In any case, the end result is the same. The experience of artistic beauty of these compositions, voice modulations, rhythm and ecstatic energy, and alpha brain wave patterns all combined together with the mental understanding of the wisdom conveyed take the listener to the state of meditation. This is as close as one can get to the mystical experience itself, without actually being present with enlightened master. In other words, His presence pervades each composition just as consciousness permeates the entire cosmos. The question is a difficult. Words cannot be the enough proof, because words can be borrowed. It can be the repetition of what has been said by someone else earlier. Hence words cannot be a sufficient proof, but they can be an insufficient proof. They can give a hint that perhaps this person has known. An enlightened ones words will be spontaneous overflows. They are just coming from the source like fresh breeze.
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The words of Sahajo have just come from the mint. Sahajo is not a scholar, nor is she a poet. Her words are simple and straight. Sahajo has spoken in such a way as no one else has before. So there was no way to borrow the words that Sahajo has spoken. Whenever God descends into someone, he descends always as new and fresh each time. God does not like repetition. He is embodiment of creativity. Every single verse of Sahajo is unique. Never before and never after have there been such verses overflowing understanding and awareness. Sahajo was enlightened. Still she remained the disciple of Charandas and never as master. There is a way for you know that Sahajo was enlightened. You have to learn to read the empty spaces between the words. And not only that you have to decipher the empty spaces between the lines as well. This will give you the sufficient proof of Sahajos enlightenment. However it is not easy to read the empty space between Sahajos words if you have read the empty space within you. That is why I said that the question is a somewhat difficult because nothing will be solved by my saying that Sahajo is enlightened. It will be solved when the answer comes from your own life.

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Sahajo came from Rajputana in the state of Rajasthan, India. She had accepted the disciple-hood of Sant Charandas. The story of how she got converted to the path of devotion is quite interesting and inspiring. Her marriage ceremony had just been over. Preparations were afoot to send her off to her in-laws house. Her hair was being done. She was being meticulously dressed & decorated. Her friends were busy doing her make-up. It was then only, shall we say by the quirk of the fate that Charandas appeared on the scene. Looking at Sahajo whose make-up was in progress, he remarked, Chalanaa hai rahanaa naheen chalanaa wishwaabees Sahajo tanik suhaag par kahaan guthaavai sheesh [O Sahajo! This world is not your permanent abode. We would have to leave, it is dead sure, this world. Would you trade your head for such a fickle & ephemeral conjugal bliss?] No sooner than these words had been uttered, she put off all items of make-up and decoration, and gave up the very idea of going to her in-laws place. Instead, she got herself married to a life of meditation and grew up, in due course of time, into a great devotee and saint herself. She could attain the Ultimate Perfection (Self Realization) by meticulously and rigorously obeying the instructions of her Guru, and thus,
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she had gratefully experienced his infinite grace. It is with this deep sense of gratitude in her mind that she has expressed her heartfelt emotions towards her Guru in the above verse. Such miraculous transformations are the results of highly elevated Samskaras! We, too, can purify our Samskaras by making efforts in the right direction. Samskaras do not befall us, or come to us, as it were, overnight or readymade. They are formed, processed and purified over a number of cycles of births; lives of only such persons, who have made such endeavors in their past lives, get so easily and instantly metamorphosed with a slight rub of the matchstick, in the form of attending Satang, or coming into the blissful company of saints.

Sahajo Image outside the Sahajo Temple

We all, therefore, should regularly attend Satang. It is an extremely noble thing to do. Let us listen intently, with rapt attention, to the messages of saints and the masters. However, we must not
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stop merely at listening. We should also introspect, and reflect over all that has been listened to acquire manan jnaan. Then, we should try to translate the knowledge so acquired into practice. This will

bring nididhyaasan or putting words to practice which, if done perseveringly, this would mature into anubhav jnaan or practical experience.

An ode to guru by Sahajo

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I may abandon Ram (God), but I can never forget my Guru, I do not see God with the same sense of gratitude as I do my Guru! God sent me into this world, But Guru rid me of the vicious cycle of birth & death or transmigration! God sent five thieves (the five sensory organs namely eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin which keep on stealing (the pleasures in) objects of senses viz. form, sound, smell, taste and touch) to accompany me, Guru rescued me, the helpless, from the captivity of these (thieves)! God ensnared me in the trap of kith and kin, Guru, on the other hand, freed me by snapping the shackles of attachments! God entangled me in various diseases (bodily as well as mental) and enduring the fruits of fate or deeds performed in earlier births, While Guru liberated me from all these afflictions by making me a yogi i.e. by making me performs Yoga -Sadhana (Drishti Yoga and Shabda Yoga)! God misled me into the illusory web of doing (good as well as bad deeds, But Guru made me see, taking me beyond these, my true Self! God hid or concealed Himself from me (though He is in me, I couldnt see Him), Whereas Guru, lending me the lamp of inner eye - vision, enabled me see Him!
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God brought me repeatedly in the fetters of the body and the f our kinds of mukti (liberation which is not genuine) namely, saalokya, saameepya, saaroopya and saayujya, But Guru, imparting the experiential know ledge of kaivalya mukti (access into the sphere of pure consciousness i.e. primeval word), ended all my wanderings & delusions! I (Sahajo Bai) offer myself whole-heartedly, with all my physical and mental resources, in sacrifice at the lotus feet of (my Guru) Charandas, I may renounce God, but can never ever forsake my Guru!

n Sahajo, woman appears in utter purity. Man and woman are two dimensions. And if you clearly understand the difference between the two, the songs of Sahajo will be clear to you. Do not try to understand them as a man. Just forget who you are, otherwise your conditioning will create the barrier. Sahajo was a sannyasin, a celibate. She did not have a family. The world did not attract her at all. She left everything at the masters feet. Those feet were her home, those feet were her family. Here is her total acceptance of God. And I would not ask of Sahajo that she should be in a family, should become a wife, a mother. If she had asked me, I would have said, Do whatever you feel like. Don't force anything on yourself. Her celibacy was not forced. Nobody ever saw Sahajo in misery. She was always happy, and everblossoming like a flower. Nobody could find a reason for there to be any other direction to her life than

what she had chosen. That was her direction. It is said that the fruits are the proof of the tree; then the achievement of a life is proof of the life. If Sahajo attained the ultimate bliss in her life, it means she lived life as she should have. If she could be ecstatic, if her lotus could blossom, then it is the proof that the way she lived was right; otherwise the flower could not have blossomed. Sahajo sings: I OFFER EVERYTHING TO CHARANDAS. I CAN LEAVE GOD BUT NOT THE MASTER. God has been found in the feet of the master, Charandas. Everything is offered to him. I can leave God but not the master - as God has taken form in Charandas. Charandas was a very simple man. He is so simple that the ordinary man could not differentiate between himself and Charandas. He was very ordinary.

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And remember, you can be saved only if you can catch the glimpse of the extraordinary in the ordinary. Only then do you know that there is someone who is so close but is still far away; who is so close sometimes that you start doubting that there is any difference between you and him perhaps he is also drowning with us. So Charandas was a very simple man. He saved Sahajo. That is why Sahajo goes on singing his songs. She says, Even if I have to drop God, I will drop him, but I will never leave the master. Because God threw me into the midstream and drowned me, the master saved me and brought me back to the bank. As a result I can leave God, but cannot forget the master. Nobody would have known about Charandas. Sahajos songs brought his name to the masses. He had two disciples - Sahajo and Daya, like two eyes of a man, like two wings of a bird. Both sung the songs of Charandas. So people came to know. Both belonged to the same state of Rajasthan. And Mira also hails from the same state. The songs of Daya are so similar. They are bound to be, because the same master has saved her too. They have found shelter under the same master, and the same masters heart was beating in them. Their songs come from the same source.

It is as if they are both the beatings of the same heart. That is why for Sahajo I used Dayas words, and for Daya I will use Sahajos words. In the past I overflowed on enlightened men but never on enlightened woman. It was easy to speak on enlightened men and they belonged to the same gender. Speaking on the enlightened women is an altogether different matter. As such deep within both are same. However on the surface the two are different. Their expression, approach, thinking, understanding is not only different instead at time quite opposite and contradictory as well. The talks on enlightened masters like Buddha, Nanak, Mahavira, Jesus, LauTzu all paved the way for a deeper understanding of the phenomena of enlightenment. And once you are beginning to understand the very essence of enlightenment it would be relatively easy to understand the enlightened women as well. Look at the ray of light of the sun. It is white in color. When this white light passes through the refracting media of the prism it gets divided into its seven components the seven colors of the beam. The green remains green and so all colors maintain their separate existence. Although all colors emerge from the white light and then one day once again will dissolve into the origin white color.
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Yet still there is a distance gap, division and the difference. The difference is beautiful and meaningful as well. In this difference lies the beauty of the existence. Green trees bring green leaves and flowers of different color. Such contrast renders beauty to the tree and the flower. So too, in existence or in God man and woman meet and merge into one harmony. This is un-manifest realm where all is one. However in the realm of the known such diversity, and difference is beautiful. This difference has to be adorned and not destroyed. Not only that amidst the diversity we have to seek the unity. When both man and woman begin to resonate on the same wavelength without changing the diversity only then you have inner vision the vision of unity and oneness. Look at the sitar player. He vibrates the strings of Sitar many diverse notes emerge. The difference is in the process of vibrating the strings. The strings and the fingers remain unchanged only the process changes. Music is the process of creating harmony, melody and rhythm amidst the diverse notes. Music is the symphony between diverse notes. Had there been only one note the music would be meaningless. The manifest realm is beautiful because of diverse nature. The musician is one, and so are the
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fingers and the strings yet there is difference between the musical waves. So too man and woman are different waves. Not only they differ instead they are contradictory to one another. And this is the reason for attraction and the intense yearning to know one another. This attraction forms the basis of love and the beginning of inward journey. The talks on Nanak, Kabir, Buddha, Lau Tzu, Mahavira, etc. were one dimension or one shore or existence. And now with the talks on enlightened women the other dimension is also added and thus the other shore of existence is discovered. To understand the other shore the first shore was the preparation. One very significant thing happens when someone reaches to ultimate flowering. The enlightened man develops feminine qualities and the woman develops the masculine qualities. When I say so, this does not mean the qualities at the physical level. When you look at the life of Buddha you will find the finest feminine qualities of Karuna compassion, softness. On the surface this is Karuna compassion. When you look deep within you will find this Karuna is the shadow of the inner woman within Buddha. At the core of enlightenment there is the union of male and female; anima and animus; Shiva and Shakti; yin and
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yang. And when this union takes place the two energies dissolve into one another. Then the energy is neither male nor female. In Mahavira this dissolution manifested as Ahimsa or nonviolence. However whenever enlightenment happens to a man here is softness, and patience. As such man is impatient and is always is a rush. If man has to take care of children and the pregnancy the number of miscarriage will increase enormously. He is conscious of time. Woman lives in eternity timeless awareness. Man lives in time. For a woman patience is natural and spontaneous but not for man. Prayer, puja, archana are all natural for woman. Fir man struggle is natural. Man lives by struggle and woman lives by surrender. They are opposite to one another yet still there is great possibility of harmony of opposites. To understand this you have to enter human mind. Deep within every man there is woman hidden. And also within each woman there is hidden man. I do not mean man or woman physically. Psychologically male and female are two aspects or energy within each one of you. Your body comes with the interaction of ovum and sperm. You cannot be man or woman alone. In reality you are the confluence of the two. When the ovum and sperm interact with one another human body was formed. And when the two
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energies merged into one another two aspect of brain and human psychology came into existence. Then what will be the difference. In man woman will remain dormant within and man will be on the surface. And in woman man will remain dormant within and woman will surface. In the process of enlightenment your consciousness returns to the center. In that case that which has been dormant manifests. That which remains dormant has freshness and the other part you have lived with so far has dust accumulated. Its newness is lost. Therefore near enlightenment when you have not yet reached the center the other aspect overshadows the existing one. The consciousness has left the circumference but it has not yet reached the center. And at the center the two dissolve into one another. All colors of rainbow merge and disappear into the white color. With the disappearance of rainbow world and the duality too disappears. This dissolution we called as Advait the non-dual. WE did not say one because the awareness of one requires undercurrent of duality. All we could say - two do not exist. And to say more than that is not within our hands. Hindus have been courageous to give Brahma the neutral gender. Consciousness in neither male nor female and in the final moments you are beyond both genders.

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One of the Jews Scripture Midres says: Torah has two parts. One is the path of the sunlight and the other is the path of snow. If you follow the first then you will die of sun and if you follow the path of snow you will die of coldness of snow. Then what to do? Midres says, walk between the two. That middle is neither man nor woman. If you follow the path of man you will die of heat and if you follow the path of the woman you will die of cold. To walk in between actually happens at the center. When you reach the center you are free from both dualities. Transcendence has happened. The ray of the sun, rainbow, and the world all returns to the source the origin. Before we enter the sutra of Sahajo let me explain something about the feminine mind. Meditation is not the way of a woman. Her way is that of love. She attains to meditation also through love. She overflows love. For her prayer is another name of meditation. Man can live and survive alone. In fact man wants to be alone. Man is crystalized ego. And ego does not associate with anyone. For relation you have to come to the plane of the other. He is not ready for friendship then love becomes almost impossible. Prayer becomes difficult. Prayer is surrender. Man cannot surrender
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wholeheartedly. He can pray only when there is no choice. All the languages of the west are male oriented. And the languages of the east are female oriented. The English word surrender does not explain correctly what the Hindi word connotes. Surrender is the outcome of defeat at the hands of the other. In the east the Hindi equivalent for surrender is samarpan it implies self-defeat and then comes the samarpan. No one has forced you. On your own you have accepted the defeat. Man naturally gives importance to abstract words that cannot be touched. His talks center the far away objects and subjects. He talks about heaven the far away thing. Listen to the woman. She is interested about her surroundings the family, children, neighbor, friend, and husband. Man focuses on far away things and woman on near things. Man talks about God. Woman talks about the guru. She says no one has seen God and no one can touch God. Certainly you can touch the Guru. For her Guru is more important than God. That is why you will find the sense of atheism in the words of Sahajo. Only Sahajo can say I can verily leave God but not Guru. Man will hesitate is saying this. Instead he will say God is the ultimate and one day Guru has to be left to attain union with God. Woman will
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say directly. If God has to unite then He has to descend in Guru. There is no way to leave Guru. God is not to be attained at the cost of the Guru. She is more realistic. To her guru resembles you and in every way he looks like you. Certainly he is you plus something more that you. God is not like you. Man will say God is formless, un-manifest, unknown and unknowable. All these things are useless for the woman. She finds all such talks useless and words empty. She trusts form. She trusts love not meditation. Try to understand the difference. One can meditate on formless. Form creates problem in meditation. However no love is possible without form. Bhakti will not arise through formless. Love will not emerge. The devotee considers God formfull. For him formfull permeates through the flowers, leaves, mountains, rivers, and waterfall. The feminine mind does not want to go beyond formfull and for her there is no need either. For man love is bondage. Woman finds freedom in love. To her these bondages are beautiful and also these have given her freedom. Both man and woman have different language. Upanishads say God is both far and near. Indeed for man God is far and for woman God is near close by. Woman decorates the
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idol, dresses her in many ways. She puts on ornaments and decorates her in many different ways. Man finds this crazy. He sits under the tree in meditation. Both have different ways. Thus this is the beginning of a new series. Under this series I shall speak on many women masters like Sahajo, Mira, Daya, Rabia, Lalna, Rengetsu, Mukta Bai, and Shakuntala Devi. Once you understand the difference between the approach of man and woman then it will be easier for you to understand the sutras of Sahajo. Sahajo says I can forget Ram but certainly not the Guru. This is very dynamic statement. Rama is a far away concept. Who knows God is there in the sky or not. Certainly we can leave Rama. The formless can be abandoned for the form that is guru. Guru is form. One can look deep into his eyes. A bridge can be established with him. To say such thing requires great courage. Both Kabir and Farid will hesitate to say such thing. Sahajo says it straight forward. There is no logic needed. Her words evolve straight and direct from heart. Then the question does not arise whether Rama will feel bad or not. Not only Sahajo is ready to abandon Rama for the Guru, she cannot look at Rama in the same way as the Guru. Look at the courage of Sahajo that she cannot
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put two together. Maybe God created this world and everything sentient and insentient. But certainly I cannot place God above Guru. Enlightened men tried to exhibit courage and at the most could bring both God and guru together. Still could not place Guru above God. Kabir showed courage in saying both God and Guru are together. I am in quandary who to bow first. And then Kabir bows to Guru saying, it is he who gave me the awareness of God. Indeed he is vowing to Guru because of Guru he came to know of God. Certainly Kabir has placed God above Guru. This is politics. Thus Kabir convinced both. Kabir bowed to Guru and said you deserve respect because it is you who made me aware of God. Thus Kabir neither displeased God nor Guru. What Sahajo could say Kabir had no courage? Sahajo says certainly I cannot place God and Guru together. I can place both on the altar but certainly not equivalent to Guru. Wherever woman gives birth to love God is born there. Sahajo gives the reason and these are beautiful as well. Sahajo continues. God gave me birth and thus brought me into the world of duality and conflict. There is no need to express gratitude for this. Kabir also gives reason for his bowing to Guru. Kabir also did so because guru brought acquaintance with God. Sahajo says God brought me into the web
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of duality and it is not worth any gratitude. He brought me on the path of darkness and left alone to stumble in darkness. And it is Guru who supported me at each step. He did not let me remain alone. God let me in the woods of emotions and ignorance. And it was Guru who brought on the royal path. How can you (God) think that I will place you equal to Guru. Truly you gave me birth. But what did I gain through the birth except pain, misery, conflict, and suffering. I thank you for this realization of suffering. And because of this realization I experienced the compassion of Guru and thus attained moksha. God got five thieves behind me. Should I call this grace or something else? Through the five sense perceptions he wove the web of desires, ignorance and negation. She says thus I got into bondage and I got orphaned. In the process I forgot who the owner is. And considered sense organs and sense perception as the owner and in vain continued running behind these. Thus I traversed through many deserts and illusionary realms. How can you (God) to be placed above Guru. Guru set me on the spiritual thoroughfare and by sheltering made my life worth. God weave the bonds of family, and relationships. Guru removed all bonds. Such are direct communion between Sahajo and God. This is straight. There is no trick. There can never be any
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dialogue between man and woman. Man talks in roundabout manner using tricks. He says the irrelevant and hides the main thing. Woman talks straight. Man cannot understand anyone can say so straight. And woman thinks what is the need of talking is such roundabout way. Womans talk is always precise. Look at the words of Sahajo. There is no poetry. The words are straight. Guru cut the bonds of love. These are very simple words. Farid is poetic in his expression. Sahajos words emanate out of the purity of her heart. There is no art. God threw me in the web of relations, family and the world. From all sided I got imprisoned. Pain, agony, misery was the outcome. All around were the heat and no shadow to comfort. Guru severed all bondages and thus I was freed. Do not tell me to place God above Guru. I cannot and will not do that at all. There is no reason for you to be angry. Such is the straight logic of life. With body and bondages came physical and psychological ailments of many types. Try to understand three words: roga ailments both bodily and mental; bhoga involvement in desires; and yoga the union. By roga we generally understand ailment or sickness. Spiritually roga refers to the state or total discontinuity with god or the source. The journey from roga to
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yoga is called bhoga involvement is sense objects and sense perception. Sometimes in rare moments the union happens. However the union is momentary. And then there is long discontinuity. This is bhoga constant involvement in the world of objects and beings. With involvement or bhoga momentary satisfaction comes and then once again the desire. You eat food. After eating you feel satiated. The satiation lasts for a short time and then again the desire and more hunger. In the moments of satiation you come close to god and then again the separation. Life goes on like this. The sages of the Upanishads were wise. They say Annam Brahma food is consciousness. Man of awareness comes close to God through eating. With awareness a different kind of fulfillment comes. Thus with each sense perception he comes close to God. Tantra says sambhog sex involvement is close to Samadhi. Tantra scriptures proclaim vishyanand sense enjoyment and brahmanand consciousness or brahma enjoyment are brothers. Both have emerged from the same source. In the solitary moments of sex mind is no more, all thoughts vanish, and the control of ego too is no more. You are in the grip of God. Then in his hands you are like a leaf tossing in strong wind or storms. You are not the doer. Even in small moments of sambhog
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sex when you are lost you get the glimpse of Samadhi. This experience will be momentary. You do not have any control over it. It happens like dj vu. However with awareness the experience can become satori. Bhoga is short lived and then again roga discontinuity comes. Sahajo says roga and bhoga came with birth. More than this nothing can be said. Occasionally I did get the glimpse like lightening in clouds and then the darkness intensified. After the glimpse pain, suffering, and misery deepened. There is nothing great in this. Guru showed the thoroughfare of awareness, light and thus freed me from the veil of ignorance. I got yoga and with this union all ailments of the body and the mind disappeared. Once you are connected to the best the lower loses its grip. When essential is in your grip no one bothers for nonessential. In front or diamonds no one worries for pebbles. One who has attained to yoga both bhoga and roga disappears completely. Then there is no way to deviate from god. Bhoga was the vehicle to take you to roga therefore when the vehicle is no more roga too is no more. This does not mean that saints never suffer from ailments. Ramakrishna and Raman died of cancers. Mahavira had dysentery for six months before he attained Samadhi. Buddhas body had
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poison spread because of poisoned food. A doubt arises why such enlightened one have to suffer from such ailments. Mind cannot understand such masters and deadly ailments. This you have to understand. After enlightenment there is complete discontinuity with the body. The bridge between the body and the being are severed. To you the body and the being seem one. This is not in case of buddhas. Both body and the being are separate. The distance between body and the being is same as between being and the ailment. The relation between being and body - the sense perception was the cause of bhoga and roga too. With enlightenment all connection are severed. The bridge is no more. To you ailments appear. You cannot see beyond the body consciousness. Raman had acute cancer. According to doctors his cancer should be the cause of great pain and suffering. But no one ever saw him sad. The glow remained unaffected and so was his consciousness. Doctors will visit and were amazed seeing Raman so happy. In such advanced stage injection of pain and sleep are to be given to save from pain. Raman was totally conscious. It appeared the cancer was somewhere far as if someone else had cancer in place of Raman.

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Ramakrishna had throat cancer. Food and water was prohibited at a certain stage. One day Vivekananda was around and he could not bear the pain of Ramakrishna so he asked Ramakrishna to pray to the mother at least for his (Vivekananda) sake so that the master is relieved of suffering. Ramakrishna agreed. He closed his eyes in prayer and the suddenly opened the eyes with a burst of laughter. Vivekananda was startled. Ramakrishna said, when I told the mother of your concern, she responded, you have used the body too much. You drank enough water and ate enough food through your body. Now eat and drink through other bodies. Ramakrishna told Vivekananda when you will eat and drink my body will be nourished. One whose connection with body is severed his is connected the other beings. He has attained to Brahma. This is yoga. To connect to the consciousness that permeates the entire cosmos is called yoga. Duality is no more. With nonduality or advait ailments are impossible. I mean ailments of the inner not of the body. Ailments of the body are possible. All desires are vanished there is no desire to live. The enlightened one lives because he still has to stay on this shore to complete the work. There is indifference towards the body. There is feeling of emptiness. In that situation body attracts
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ailments. The inner ailments are the outcome of bhoga the involvement with sense perception. After Ramakrishna became enlightened he became even more carefree. But he continued to have attraction towards food. Quite often he will leave the congregation to come inside the kitchen and enquire what was being cooked. The disciple used to feel embarrassed. So one day when Ramakrishna came in the kitchen to enquire about the food Sharda said, indeed your action embarrass your disciples and they feel you are so attached to food. Ramakrishna told Sharda, my connections with the body are severed. There is no interest to live. But my work is not yet over. Any moment I may disappear like a dew drop slipping into the lake. As a result I have to create certain anchor to remain on this shore. Food is the only anchor that I have created to stay until my work is over. And the day I turn my face from the food, three days after I will be no more. Sharda thought it be an excuse of Ramakrishna. Then one day when he was lying on the bed suffering from cancer Sharda brought his favorite food on a platter. Sharda said, Look Ramakrishna Dev today I brought your favorite food.

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Ramakrishna looked at Sharda and then turned his face away from the food to other side. SHarda immediately remembered the words he spoke many years ago. The platter slipped from her hands. Such is the state of the enlightened one. After enlightenment the awareness continues to flow like an undercurrent always. God got me entangled in karma, dreams, and the sense of doing. I was lost for many lives. In the company of the guru I was awakened from this slumber. It was guru who showed me the real face, and said, you are neither action, nor the doer instead you are simply existential. I became aware of the nature of the world. Certainly I cannot place God and Guru equal. I am ready to forget God but not the Guru. God hid me from my own essential nature. Guru gave me the lamp is awareness to see my real face. With light of awareness ignorance and all darkness disappeared. God created much bondage into the world. Man lived in the prison and thinks of freedom. Have you ever thanked God when you are free? In prison you think of freedom. And when you were out of the prison you never think of freedom. Bondage creates the need for freedom. Guru not only freed from the world instead freed me from moksha as well. God thus brought both

bondage and freedom. Through I attained to total freedom. Ordinarily man thinks in terms of duality, conflict, and opposites. You consider world to be the bondage and think freedom to be somewhere else. You think after the world is over the journey of freedom will begin. Both bondage and freedom are two sides of the same coin. With world the idea of moksha or freedom too disappears. And until the desire for moksha disappears you have not really attained freedom. Have you ever thought that ailment brings the desire for health? You feel your head only because of headache. When there is no headache you forget your head. In Sanskrit there is a beautiful word for pain. The word is vedna. It is beautiful. Vedna means pain and also knowledge. From the same root emerged Veda and vidwan or learned. Really we are only aware of pain and not happiness. Hence the word is beautiful. Headache makes you aware of the head. A thorn in the foot makes you aware of the foot. You are aware of life because of pain and suffering. And the state of totality of health is videh the bodiless consciousness. You will not aware of the body at all. Look at the small children they are unaware of their body. Slowly and slowly as
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problems engulf he becomes aware of the body. The old person is aware of the body. He feels the body while eating, bathing, walking, and breathing. The ears do not hear properly, eyes are week. The child is unaware of the body and the health as well. Indeed knowledge and awareness is a kind of sickness. Both vedna and veda are part of one reality. Sahajo says God gave world, bondages, freedom and moksha as well. Guru removed all illusions. Guru not only freed from the world instead from moksha as well. I bow down to Charandas. Women are unique disciples. Holy Quran descended on Mohammed. He was sojourning alone on the mountain. Suddenly he heard a voice: read. Mohammed got startled and responded: I am illiterate I do not know how to read. Again the voice insisted: do not worry, go ahead and read. Mohammed emphatically responded: who are you and why are you telling me to read when I know I cannot. Again the voice came even more forceful this time: when I say read read you will know.

The word Quran means to read. Mohammed started reading with closed eyes. An invisible book was in front of him. And he started repeating. This was the first verse of Quran the Ayat. Frightened Mohammed could not believe was happening. He could not believe the incident and also there is some God who is revealing the secrets of life. Frightened and disoriented he returned home. He got fever. He hid him under the comforter. His wife Begam Aaisha enquired what has happened. Mohammed narrated the entire thing. Aaisha became his first disciple. She said, there is no question of distrust. This is great happening and there is no need to worry. She brought trust in Mohammed. Aaisha is not only the first disciple instead she is the first Sufi as well. Try to understand the first sutra of Sahajo. This is the sutra of love. If you think she is speaking against God you will miss. There may be fear in Kabir. But Sahajo is very courageous. Never think Sahajo to be atheist. Even atheist cannot say such deep things. Sahajos sutra is the love game between disciple and God. It is indeed the expression of love talks. Enough on Sahajo for now!

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Laleshwari
KASHMIRI MASTER OF IMPECCABLE INSIGHT
(Born 1300-1320 Death 1377-1390 A.D)

o me Laleshwari is existential. One who was never and born never died. Beings of such an awareness that have experienced oneness within are existential. Their bodies are born and die but not the being that they have realized. Even a moment spent in the company of such a being is blessing. Let me take you to such a moment of ecstasy. Indian spiritual horizon is aglow because of Female Beings in Mirabai, Sahajobai, Dayabai, and Laleshwari. These had been beings of tremendous awareness, insight, and understanding. One thing that is common in all these is that they have been enlightened masters, and poets.

was born sometime between 1300 - 1320 A.D. and died round about 1377 A.D. Among the historians and scholars there is controversy about the birth and death of Laleshwari. Although I have mentioned of the controversy and debate among scholars about the life, birth and death of Laleshwari I am, in fact not interested in the historical events. To me Laleshwari is existential. One who was never and born never died. Beings of such an awareness that have experienced oneness within are existential. Their bodies take birth and die but not the being that they have realized. Even a moment spent in the company of such a being is blessing. Yet still historians and scholars engage in futile childlike discussions. Quite a futile controversy among the scholars continues who have not reached the core of their own being how could then reach to the being of Lalla. Nothing more is available as far as her birth and early life is concerned.

BIRTH:
Lal Ded or Laleshwari is also affectionately called Lalla, Lal Diddi, or Laleshwari. She was born in Kashmir in northern India at Pandraethan Village (ancient Puranadhisthana). According to Noor Nama and Reshi Nama she
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The Hindus called her Laleshwari while the Muslims called her Lalla Arifa. But both lovingly called her Lal DED (Grandmother or Grandma). This is certain and continues as such to date.

Matrimonial Relations and Relationships:


Lal Ded could not be and was no exception to the common lot of womanhood, the world over in general and Indian womenfolk in particular. She was married at the age of twelve to one Pandit boy at Pampore (ancient Padmanpora) where presumably she was renamed Padmawati, as per the Kashmiri Pandit tradition, by herin-laws. Her mother-in-law, perhaps as a means of cathartic projection of her own experience, often incited her son against his wife. Being unintelligent and too dull to observe and appreciate the nobility of Laleshwari and the divine sparks in her, he would thoughtlessly create unnecessary problems for her. Lal Ded remained ill-treated and ill-fed despite the family control of her father-in-law who liked her. Lalias hypocritical mother-in-law was cunning and tricky. She would usually place a large round shingle underneath the cooked rice in her plate at lunch and dinner-time to display her deceptive affection for Lal Ded and, at the same time, to
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show to others how hefty the latter was. Laleshwari would always finish eating quickly the scanty rice, wash her plate and the pebble and deposit them at their specified places before attending to other chores. She would not utter a word of protest, much less complain against such a strange way of illtreatment, but take every care to shield her husband as well as mother-in-law and their honor. Once, while carrying a pail of water on her head from a brook, Laleshwari was intercepted by her husband. He fell upon her out of purpose. And broke to pieces the earthen pot with a rod! The pieces fell to the ground but the water remained frozen pitcher shaped at its place. After filling all the vessels at home, she asked her stunned mother-in-law if there were any other vessels to be filled. On getting a negative reply, Laleshwari threw the remaining water out at a place which later came to be known as Lalla-Trag (marsh). It has dried up since. Such a particular aspect of selfdenial, patience, self-discipline and forbearance are unparalleled in human behavior. However, once on a festive occasion while filling a pitcher at the river bank, she was asked by her girlfriends what the festivity and merriment at her home was all about. She responded:

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Whether they slaughter a ram or a lamb, Lalla will never miss her shingle. The allusion to her routine travail is reflective of the stress of circumstantial exasperation seeping into her delicate demeanor and ticking her divine leanings.

the three fold science of an individual. This included the immediate and remote environment in the universe, pervaded by the supreme energy in its totality.

Laleshwari Compositions:

Laleshwari and the inner quest:


After enduring such ill treatment for several years, Laleshwari slowly and steadily resorted to secret spiritual practices deep Sadhana and yoga in seclusion. A highly talented and reputed scholar yogi of the time, Sidha or realized Sri Kanth (Seddha Mol) of Srinagar became her guru. She eventually escaped to take Sanyas (initiation into the world of renunciates) in the Shaivite tradition. Lal Ded became a sadvi, a wandering ascetic, singing out of her bliss and love for the Divine. The name Lalla means, appropriately enough, a seeker. Thus, Laleshwari lived a life of purity guided by yogic discipline. Her experiences matured. Awareness deepened. And thus she transformed the ascetic in her into a Yogini of the highest order. Laleshwari is the supreme manifestation of Yoga. Purified by the crystal clear waters of Vedanta, and soaked in Upanishadic awareness, she invigorated and revitalized the Trika-Philosophy,
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Gwaras GURU; pritshyom ENQUIRE; sasi late - THOUSAND TIMES; yas nu kenh vanan - THE UNKNOWN AND UNKNOWABLE; tas kyah nav - WHAT IS HIS NAME; pritshan pritshan-ASKING AGAIN AND AGAIN; thachis tu lusu-EXHAUSTED; kenhas nishi drav - Out of nothingness evolves the entire existence A thousand times I asked my Guru the name of the one who cant be named? The one who pervades the entire cosmos! One who is the cause of the existence both finite and infinite! Both inner and outer! No response! And asking again and again I tired myself only silence was the response. How has something come out of nothing? I wandered a myriad time! The silent communion of the Guru continued! Many a day and night I spent in my sojourn. Then I reached to very core of my being. Then one day
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out of deep within response came: SEEK WITHIN! SEEK WITHIN!! SEEK WITHIN!!! I knew it is the voice of that which is unknown and unknowable. One whose communion I sought erelong. Existence showered harmony, bliss, oneness, and serenity on me. This is Laleshwari. Since then I sing, chant, dance, and frisk around out of joy and ecstasy. SHIV CHUI THALE THALE ROZAN MAOZAN HIEND TA MUSALMAN TRUKH HAI CHUK TA PAN PARZNAV SAI CHAY SAHEBAS SEETH ZANI ZAN SHIV CHUI is; THALE THALE ROZAN omnipresent; MAOZAN HIEND TA MUSALMAN do not discriminate between Hindu and Muslim; TRUKH HAI CHUK - if you are intelligent; TA PAN PARZNAV -Realize yourself; SAI CHAY - that is; SAHEBAS SEETH ZANI ZAN - that is how you understand God. Shivas present everywhere. Where lies the creek to distinguish between a Hindu and a Muslim? Quick witted if you are, recognize yourself and realize God! Lord Shiva is all pervading oneness. In His sublime Omnipresence and Omniscience He exists in the very electric charges that pulsates the nucleus of even the smallest atoms of matter. Laleshwaris concept of Shivas
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universal presence or Omniscience combined with the qualities of evenness, truth, goodness and beauty enjoin upon us to follow her didactic message. A message that imbibes the qualities of impartiality of judgment, indiscriminating attitude towards all, equality, equanimity, love and affection for the socio-economic, socio-political as well as socio-cultural and religious harmony. Hence, she says, Shiva is Omnipresent! Everything evolves out this cosmic oneness. Then why distinguish between a Hindu and a Muslim. It is said Love begets love, and to this I add Evil begets evil. And the latter is too contagious to control. It certainly disturbs the mind, raises tempers, and causes tensions, leading to violence that becomes a perpetual source of turmoil and threat to life and serenity. Laleshwari continues, how apt the age old Kashmiri saying is. I bought nettle and transplanted it. But-alas! I myself became the first victim of its painful pricks. Hence, the truth of Shiva is Omnipresent and Omniscience. Distinguish not between a Hindu and a Muslim. The following discussion between the Guru and his disciples should be of interest to the reader: Once, Lal Deds husband approached her guru, Sedha Mol,
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requesting him to help make Lal Ded return home. The guru agreed and the discussions that took place included an interesting dialogue.

the veil. Self-realized, I began to dance in freedom. My Guru whispered into my ear but one Guru Shabad. He asked me to seek myself within myself, not without. The magic worked, I become free and, began dancing in blissful Boom What use to me are Those fives, tens-and elevens Who lick cooking kettles and go away If we gather together and pull The same rope, in the same direction, Then, how can a single cow Elude eleven of us? Thou are the sky, the earth and air, Thou the day and night; Thou art the grain, flowers and sandalwood, Thee, the water, universe, all; then what remains to adorn thee with O. Lord? No need is there of garden, flowers Oil lamps, water: He, Go with faith and Bhakti Heartily trusts his Gurus word. And, of his oven volition, Contemplates on Shiva, He'll do what he says With easel With a florists heart and Abiding faith, Offer Him thy flowers of Bhakti: In bone with sacred Mantras use A Naeri Kalush to pour the nectar of Obeisance on Him; Thy mute prayers to Shiva will thus Heed, thy Soul: Salvation l would I obtain Even while living A Social life, day and night: Ever beloved of the gods are those that live for others (or those that are selfless :)

Lal Ded:
There is no light like the knowledge of ultimate TRUTH. No pilgrimage, like the one of the love of the Supreme. No relative like the Lord himself, For, for her Gurus Gur-Shabad i.e. her Gurus advice Draw within from without, tickled Lalleshwaris spiritually susceptible inclination and she at once by a reflex action withdrew from without to merrily delve down deep into the domain of her choice to probe into the depths of her inner soul. Absorbed thus she roamed about the depths of her soul in relation to her body and the super soul called Almighty Lord. The process advanced in a happy concentrated mood in dancing and trekking to reach and analyze the truth of ultimate reality of the focus of the energy of the energies of which only a few of such energy rays are known to us in the form of heat, height, etc. In this way she almost became one - with the Lord of the Universe the source of eternal dynamism of the Universe. says, Lalleshwri. My Guru gave me but He told me to move without. That hit my head I realized myself one Shabad. within from Nail, on the and shed off

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Exhausted I was, seeking myself Within myself; Cocooned around me was The secret of mystic knowledge Tended and rocked it till I attained my goal: Found I there, pitchers and pitchers of nectar but, - no drinkers. Thou art within me And without: I contemplated, scanned and Analyzed myself and thee: A century later, Sant Kabir gave vent to a similar spiritual experience in one of his dohas: The more you observe the red glow- Of my red pearl, the redder (beloved ) It becomes; I went to see the redness, And, I too fumed red A double century later, Mira Bai burst into song: None but Girdhar Gopal is mine, Thus she too bathed in the sun-shine of one God. Century after century from 14th century onwards, Lalleshwari and Nund Reshi were followed by Ramanands, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Mira Bai all, high-ranking saints of the Bhakti Movement. While Tulsi Das (contemporary of Akbar) composed Ramayana, MiraBai took solace in Lord Krishna who was her Girdhar Gopal. However, the honor of being the first scribe of the Kashmiri language in the form of Mahany Prakash, goes to Shitikanth. Lalleshwari is credited with laying the reinforced concrete basis of the language by her dexterous coinage of apt idioms and proverbs to infuse life and dynamism into it from its very infancy. The
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language, thus enriched and ornamented by lively idiom pregnant proverb, depth of philosophical thought and messages of social welfare and peace, became the main vehicle of communication of ideas among the Kashmiri people. Her cryptic, terse sayings still continue to enliven scholarly discussion and resolve social problems. Votary of Vegetarianism and critic of animal sacrifice: O, you dull pundit, you offer A living ram to a lifeless stone, It will cover you in woolens. And shield you against cold; It will feed on water and natural grass And crumbs: Who has advised you to sacrifice A livelamb as an offering To a dead rock? The stone that forms the temple and the prayer hall, the very same stone forms the sanctum sanctorum. And the rolling mill: Shiva is hard to reach, Take the cue:

Commentary for Vakayas No 11, 12


As a Shaivite, mistress yogni, the Divine for Lalleshwan is NIRANKAR formless, limitless, boundless, timeless, changeless, nonconceivable (mentally or physically), non-confined to any place and yet, not non-existent anywhere, either.
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To her, God is one absolute Truth, infinite and Omnipresent, all pervading. She has realized her inner sun and moon in objectless, self-consciousness, vacuum, nothingness (void, emptiness and essence of cosmic consciousness. Lalleshwari is firm on NIRGUNA aspect of goodhood, without any attributes, qualities, objectives or personifications such as, God is gracious, merciful, just or great, as against its complementary SAGUNA counterpart, wherein visual or verbal images are used as catalysts of concentration on the focusing object, both as mental or material images so usually used by the followers of different religious sects in one form or the other as rightly noted by the author of Negations in India , by an European scholar. The Lalia of Padmanpora, Gulp by gulp Amrit who drank, who saw Shiva face to face everywhere: Grant me too that boon, O. Lord Shiva! The Hindus called her Lalleshwari and the Muslims Lalla Arifa. But both endearingly called her Lal DED (Grandmother or Grandma). This is certain and continues as such to date. Lalleshwari was a thought provoking saint-poetess, profound Shaivite philosopher deep thinker, creative artist and the builder of the Kashmiri language. She has been and still continues to be an unmatched sage, seer, sadhak par excellence. As such she relieves in
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nirankari Divinity and nirguna type of worship and Sadhana as observed above. She is a ruthless critic of ritual religion and, worship too. And yet, says she: With a florists heart and Abiding faith Offer him the flowers of BHAKTI. IMMORTALITY AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF EQUALITY Shiva is omnipresent, Distinguish not between A Hindu and a Mussalman. We existed ever before and will exist for ever; we permeate all, did so earlier and will continue prevailing all, forever; the immortal soul shuttles between life and death, the sun ceases not rising and setting. Nor is it destroyed: Siva ceases not coming and going: Thus does this versatile genius of a Yogni and poetess of eminence communicate her enlightened experience on the path of selfrecognition and the thrill of selfconsciousness and widening vision to quote late Swami Laxmanji. Hefty eating in quick succession will lead you nowhere: Meager eating or non-eating will excite your ego. Be moderate in food and moderate youll be in everything. Sustained moderation will open the doors of Warm Welcome for you; Sadhana without the purity of spirit in action has no meaning for Lalleshwari. Sadhana, without the removal of the cloak of evil, bears
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no fruit. Lalleshwari skillfully conveys the ticklish message by blaming her rasher then others in the matter learning by rote, my tongue and palate dried. That thou art my destiny! I found not the right way to act and reach thee. Telling the beads, my thumb and finger wore out; and yet, my friend I couldnt get rid of The duality of mind:

behind Tell me dear, how do you relish your food? The flesh of my feet stuck to The Tracks only one showed me, the only One path to the only ONE Even if those, that hear this May go mad: From hundreds of path., Lalla Chose only but one: The Finale:

Multi-Faceted Profundity of Lallas Vaakhs


Lalleshwari seems to have delved deep into the realms of her consciousness guided by sparkling rays of the inner, master Sun, which reveals the ultimate Truth, gifts one with the right choice of inspiring words of wisdom that kill all evil and pain, of every kind, cool and compose the soul and delight the mind with intuitive foresight and divine discrimination and discernment. Let the reader relish and estimate of the sweetness of expression and profundity of divine, social and cultural message in the foregoing and the following Vaakhs of Lal Ded. Underneath your very feet! Is A concealed ditch, And you are dancing over it. Tell me dear, how does your mind allow it? How do you like it? Your life long collections, all you have to leave

FINAL JOURNEY:
Towards the late seventies or eighties of the fourteenth Century Lalleshwari is said to have gone to Bijbehara town in Anantnag district in South Kashmir. There, her soul said to have left her physical body to merge into the Supreme Soul. A dispute is said to have arisen between the Hindus and the Muslims, the former wanting to cremate the body according to Hindu rites whereas the latter wanted to bury it according to the Muslim, code. For some she was the grandma, Lal Ded for all irrespective of creed or status in life. Appreciating the sentiments, the spirit of the yogini is said to have asked those present to bring two large washbasins. The body is said to have sat inside one and inverted the other over her head. Thereafter the body is stated to have shrunk slowly till the two washbasins overlapped. After sometime those present are said to have ventured to remove the upper wash basin.
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They found there nothing but a liquid formation. Half of the liquid is said to have been taken by the Hindus for cremation and the other half by the Muslims for burial adjacent to the local Jama Masjid. A similar episode is said to have repeated itself more than a century later when Kabir died. After a similar dispute over the mode of disposal of the body, Kabirs body that was kept in the coffin is said to have turned into flower-petals. Half of which were cremated by the Hindus and the other half buried by the Muslims. For now I would conclude the message with a quotation from a modern scribe, Fida Mohd Husains, recently published book entitled. The Beautiful Kashmir Valley published by Rima publishing House New Delhi. I quote. The earliest Kashmiri work is MAHANAY PRAKASH written by Shati Kanth. Laleshwari composed her philosophy in the language of the people; she expressed her spiritual and mystic experiences in Kashmiri. Her songs became popular and the people committed to their heart and passed on from generation to generation. To crown all, her message did cut through the man-made barriers of

religions. Hindus as well as Muslims became her votaries with equal gusto. Her appeal was humanistic and not sectarian. Her approach was of positive affirmation and not of negative abjuration. Laleshwari did not preach any religion, she even disdained ritual. She projected a way of life quite in harmony without cultural traditions, in which a happy amalgamation was made of what was good in Buddhism and even Islamic. Her Clarion call to assimilate human values in those days won for her the esteem and acclaim of Hindus and Muslims alike. It was no mean an achievement on her part in uniting the lost children of one god. Her message was so appealing that the tallest of Muslim Rishis of Kashmir Sheikh Noor-UdDin Noorani made her his ideal and expressed what he owed to her in these words :That Lalla of Padmpur was fortunate enough in gulping the ambrosial nectarine draughts; thereby she sojourn adoration as in incarnation of immortal Divinity. Benevolent God, grant me also such a boon. Only this much Laleshwari! for now on

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Daya

eligion is individual process. There is nothing like universal religion. Truth is solitary and cosmic. However religion is individual process. When truth interacts with your being a personalized religion is born. This alone has the capability to transform you. You have to give birth to religion. To give birth to a religion one has to be like a feminine body, a womb. The feminine consciousness is extremely introverted. A woman lives in herself. She has created a very small world around her. It is the most minimum possible. That is why you cannot interest a woman in things of great vastness. No. You cannot talk about the far away places to her, she does not bother. Also you cannot talk to her of things that are abstract. She is concerned with her family, her husband, and the child, the dog, the furniture, the neighbor, the radio set, the TV and all such near and small things. A very small world is around her. Because she does not have a very big world around it is very difficult for man and woman to talk intelligently they live in different worlds. A woman is beautiful only when she keeps quiet. The moment she starts talking then stupid things
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come out of her. She cannot keep secrets. She is ready to speak of a thing that displeases her most. She cannot talk intelligently. She cannot be very philosophic. These things are too far away, she does not bother at all. She lives in the very small circle of her own world, of which she is the center. And whatsoever is meaningful is meaningful only in if it concerns her. The rest is all useless and not meaningful and worth at all. She cannot see why you are bothered about far away things. What is the matter with you? And the child is ill and you are bothering about far away things! She cannot believe that she is near you and you are reading the newspaper. Women live in a different world. She is centripetal. Man is centrifugal, he goes out. The moment he can find an excuse he will escape from the home. He returns home only when he cannot go anywhere else. A woman is always home-centered, home based. She goes out only when it is absolutely necessary, when she cannot do otherwise. When it has become an absolute necessity she goes out. Otherwise she is home based. Man is a

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wanderer. The whole of family life is created by women, not by men. In fact, civilization exists because of woman, alone. If he is allowed on his own he will be a wanderer no home, no civilization is possible. Man is outgoing, woman is ingoing. Man is always interested in something other than himself that is why he looks healthier. When you are too concerned with yourself, you become ill. Man is happy looking. You will always find women sad and too concerned with themselves. A little headache and they are very concerned, because they live inside the headache becomes something big, out of proportion. But a man can forget the headache. He has too many other headaches. He creates so many headaches around himself that there is no possibility of coming upon his own headache and making something out of it. It is always so little he can forget about it. A woman is always concerned something is happening in the leg, something in the hand, something in the back, something in the stomach, always something because her own consciousness is focused inwards. A man is less pathological, healthier, more outgoing, and more concerned about what is happening to others. That is why, in all religions, you will find that if there are five persons present, four will be
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women, and one a man. And that one man may have only come because of some woman the wife was going to the temple so he had to go with her. Or, she was going to listen to a talk on religion, so he came with her. In all churches this will be the proportion, in all churches, temples, wherever you go. Physically man can be healthier. Spiritually woman can be healthier, because their concerns are different. When you are concerned with others you can forget your body, you can be more physically healthy, but religiously you cannot grow so easily. Religious growth needs an inner concern. A woman can grow very, easily into religion, that path is easy for her, but to grow in politics is difficult. And for a man to grow in religion is difficult. Introversion has its benefits; extroversion has its benefits and both have their dangers. Dayas poetry is carefully crafted, incensed, fervent, loving and full of rasa - different poetic moods. It is gentle - flowing naturally and spontaneously. Her poems cover such topics as devotion to the master, incessant and constant awareness of the presence of the divine, love and courageous commitment to the spiritual journey, abiding in the company of other seekers, and the final merging with the ultimate through the process of ajapa jap, the unchanted chanting, the soundless
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sound, the uncreated sound which fills the disciples with awareness of the oneness of existence. These verses of Daya are unique. They can bring a total revolution in your life. Daya says, A tiny spark of fire burns the greatest forest. If even a tiny spark of these verses falls into you, your darkness will be completely destroyed. Come, come further. Daya has walked the path and is acquainted with it. She has done everything possible. Nothing is left on that path. She has died along the path. Treading on the path, traveling on the path she has become empty in every way. Now just the fragrance of the path is there. That very fragrance has appeared in her small verses. Daya belongs to those devotees who have left no information about themselves. They drowned so much in singing songs of the divine that no time was left for leaving information. Just the name is known. Now what is special about a name? Any name would do. But one thing is certain she has remembered the name of her master. She has sung songs of the divine and remembered the name of her master. Her master was Charandas. Both remained in his service their whole life. When you have found the master, service is the discipline; just to be close is
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enough. Whether they practiced anything else is not known. But this is enough. If someone has achieved, it is enough to be with him. When you pass through a garden, your clothes catch the fragrance of the flowers. If you are with the one who has known your being catches the fragrance. The fragrance flows, and spreads. There is not much of a difference between their verses either. The master is the same, so whatever has flown through them cannot be very different. Both drank from the same source and have the same taste. And they come from the same village, in the same region that Mira came from. Blessed is that region, because no other region has the prerogative of giving birth to three women mystics together. Jesus says to his disciples, Look at the lilies in the field they are far more beautiful than even the emperor Solomon attired in all his precious clothes and ornaments, in all his grandeur. These poor flowers, lilies, are far more beautiful than Solomon, for the simple reason that they do not think of the morrow. They live in the moment, herenow. That is their beauty. The female is less worried about the future than man and less burdened with the past than man. She is more realistic, pragmatic, more rooted and grounded in the earth; hence it is easier for her to
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be spontaneous. And spontaneity and a life of spontaneity can become the whole path. God knows only one time and that is now, and only one space and that is here. God is always nowhere. So once you withdraw yourself from the past and the future, only God is left. There is no need to pray, there is no need to go into scriptures, there is no need to dig into all kinds of stupid esoteric teachings. One can be very simple and one can find the truth without any fuss. The whole of theology is an unnecessary fuss, much ado about nothing. And this is my approach too to live totally in the present. Nothing else is needed. Let me speak to you something about Daya and her composition. A saint, mystic is one whose inner instrument is attuned. And now God is vibrating the strings of that instrument. He is the one whose Veena the celestial musical instrument of sage Narada. Saint implies one whose inner flowering has attained fruition. And now the beauty and the fragrance is manifesting in myriad ways. The song that he was born with is now overflowing. Now you have attained to your fruition. As long as the seed remained as seed there was pain and suffering. Seed implies the potentiality that has not yet attained to fruition. Seed means you want to blossom but have not blossomed yet. Seed
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mean yearning, and waiting. You are on the path the journey is long, and the destination has not yet reached. Sainthood implies seed is no more. The flower has blossomed. Its petals are open. He is blissful like a flower. Journey is complete. Nothing more is needed. The journey is complete. Now there is possibility of peace and harmony. The flower is blissful because the journey is complete, future is no more. And the moment you are discontinuous with the future the past also drops. We remember past because there is some hope still alive. May be the experience of the past be useful. We preserve the past because we have to journey forward in the unknown realm. Past experiences may be useful in this process. It may become the way. When nowhere is to go, the future is no more one attains freedom from the past as well. There is no need to carry the memory. The flower has blossomed. Fragrance and the inner beauty have now assumed the poetry. There is celebration all around. The man of awareness or mystic expresses inner celebration and beauty through the poetry, and myriad other expressions as creativity. Each word is the lamp of awareness or the flower with immense beauty.

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Saintliness is a grand celebration. No celebration is greater than that. The ultimate moment has come. There will be celebration, expression of gratitude. In that state Mira danced, Daya composed songs, Sahajo whispered inner joy, Kabir composed couplets, Chaitanya danced, Buddha spoke. However it never happened that the person became silent. Even then the silence is the dancing one. There are different types of silence. One can remain silent out of anger. His silence is the overflow of anger. Even through his silence he is expressing anger. Next one is silent in his sadness. Every pore, eyes, gesture, face, and each movement expresses his inner sadness in many ways. The air that surrounds him is burdened with sadness. Someone else is sad because there is nothing to say. There is emptiness within, and no experience. There are two stages of silence to happen. The pitcher makes no sound when it is empty or when it is full. Both are two separate things. One who is empty within his silence will reflect a negation, and emptiness. The other is so full and overflowing he will find there is so much to share, how to speak and from where to start, He is silent because the words fail to express innerness. Nothing will be lacking in him or through his expression. And this state is expressed through the word God.

One who is unable to speak because of inner emptiness in his company you will feel as if your energy is drained. You return from the company as if you have lost everything. Such people subsist of your energy. When you visit the sick in the hospital you return drained as if you have no more zeal. It happens because you are not aware and your energy is being sucked by these patients and you are unable to preserve your energy level. It is like the water is flowing and it accumulates in the nearby holes and low-lying areas. When you are in the company of such empty person your energy will flow towards him and you will feel weary and tired. However if you go in the company of the one who is full within you will return invigorating, exhilarating and joyous. His inner incandescence will enter your dark caves. His fragrance will fill your nostrils. You will return with a new poetry, a new song, and a dance. When his inner strings vibrate it will create a reflect effect and you inner string will start echoing the same tune. Saintliness is celebration. It manifests in many ways. Sometimes as sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora caves, dance of Mira, insights of Buddha. Certainly one thing whatever manifests reflects inner beauty and harmony. Their expression is poetic. When something has to be proved prose is essential. Logic does not flow through poetry. The saint has
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blossomed. His expressions are overflows of bliss. He does not have to prove anything. He is the proof. This is the meaning of the Hindu word Siddha. That which is already proven needs no more proof. Once when a learned scholar asked Ramakrishna for the proof of God, he replied I am the proof. This man Ramakrishna is a siddha the established or certified proof. A saint is not a scholar or a pundit. Saint has known and as a result he is the expression of knowing. There is nothing to explain. He speaks not through the mind instead through the heart and through his gestures. In his presence your innerness gets impetus. He gives you the taste of your being. He is a song, a dance, a celebration, and an overflow. He invites you to participate in the song and dance of the being. He is not to convince you of anything. He is the taste. And he wants you to taste his innerness. And once you have tasted his innerness your life will not remain the same. He is invitation of dance and celebration. He is drunk with life elixir. He invites you to dance at his tune, look deep into his eyes. He says when his celebration can happen to me why not to you. The whole effort of the pundit is to convince you that God is. Saint says celebration dance is. Begin the journey with a celebration, dance, and rejoice you will come to ultimate knowing. Know this. There
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is no need to accept. And ultimately knowing becomes acceptance and the awareness. Never seek false relation with God. That will not help. Begin with celebration. At the peak of celebration, knowing springs forth. And the flowering of knowing is awareness. Then you are proof. Logic is impotent. No one has been convinced of logic. There is always something lacking is logic. And that is the drawback of logic. If you are well-versed in logic you can convince of even the wrong. Logic is an art. Sit by the side of the one who is drunk and is now overflowing the bliss. In his pitcher even water becomes intoxicating. The air, his words, his gestures, his gait, his sitting all is overflowing bliss and is intoxicating. There is an old saying in Tibet. If you want to know the way through the mountain, then enquire from someone who travels daily to those heights. One who has never travelled and lives down the valleys cannot take you to the peaks of consciousness. It does not matter how many maps he may have, how many scriptures he may know, how many sutra of scripture he may recite fluently certainly will not help. Ask the postman who goes up and down the hill daily with stake of mail. He may not have the map, or may not even know the scripture, certainly he

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knows the way to the peak of consciousness. Daya is not learned in the sense of being a pundit. She is not even knower of shartras or scriptures. Even then I have chosen to speak on these women mystics. Daya has traversed along the path. Her every word is soaked in that fragrance. Through the small couplets of Daya the fragrance of her innerness emanates. There are three types of poets. First are those who got the glimpse of God in the dream. Johan Milton, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma Ezra Pound are the poets who experienced God in dream not in the waking state. They heard the whisper in the dream. And the same fragrance emanates through their songs and compositions. There is melody that appeal. Sometimes they got the glimpse through a rose flower, the moonlight, the sound of the waterfall. They are unconscious. Yet still there is tremendous melody in their compositions. All poetic compositions belong to God. All beauty is his reflection. Poetry means the worship or prayer of the beauty. They lamented waking up. However the intensity was less. The second type of poets is devotees or Bhaktas. They did not see the beautiful scene. Instead they say beauty through each scene not the reflection. He saw
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the source of beauty. Sometimes someone sings on a mountain top and the echoes come from the valley. Such is the situation of the first category of poets. The saint had the direct vision of the music. The poets captured the far away echo from the valleys. The saints captured the music directly sitting in the company. He may not be technically correct. He has not learned poetry somewhere. However his experience is profound and inner. And the third is neither poet not saint. He understands poetry, the essentials. He has neither seen truth nor experienced it. He understands the language and the grammar. They can write songs according to the situations. The film song writers come in this category. Ninety percent of the poets fall in this category. And out of remaining ten nine are poets and only one is the saint. Daya is one of the rare ones who had the direct experience of truth and now the same reflects through her compositions. Both Daya and Sahajo remained in the company of Charandas and sang all that they experienced. There is not much difference between the compositions of Sahajo and Daya. They drank water from the same source. Both were unlettered. And sometimes this is blessing. They both came from the same area of Marta from where Mira came. It is like a chain reaction. If a divine soul takes birth in an area. The
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presence creates create sparks. It is like chain reaction just like wide fire. This is what happened during the times of Buddha and Mahavira. Spirituality reached its pinnacle. Thousands moved towards the path. It was the beginning of a chain reaction. Spirituality spread like the wild fire. It seemed as if the hearts were aflame with the fire. Sainthood is such happening. The flame for the divine has attained to intensity. The flames are increasing in leaps bounds. The area was significant. Three extraordinary women emerged from Marta in Rajasthan. The two women mystics grew under one master Charandas. Look at the composition of the two. Daya sings: ibn daimn %ijyar Ait ibn xn prt )uhar mgn -yae mnuva< tha< dya inhar inhar Bin damin ujiyar ati, ibn ghan parat phuhaar Manag bhayo manuva daya nihar nihar Without lightening there is enough light, without rain cloud rain drops My heart became ecstatic watching the daya or comapassion Sahajo sings

Jaise moti oas ki paani anjuli mahiin The morning star does not stay for long. All stars and the moon has disappeared the sun is about to rise. The last star too has gone. One moment before it was there and, now it is no more! The world is like the morning star. Never trust that instead search for that which is like pole star and not like the morning star. Seek the shelter of that which is eternal, and immovable. Through that alone you can go beyond death. How long can you rejoice the morning star? That which you seek to hold is indeed like the air bubble. It will certainly disappear before you can capture it. You can make efforts but you cannot hold it Sahajo laments. This is what we have been doing. We are trying to hold the relations, love, husband, wife, son, daughter, money, wealth, name, fame, and prestige but all in vain. It will disappear before you can even catch hold of it. You cannot capture waves. Mind is unstable. Whosoever will try to capture will lament. Have you ever introspected why we are sad? Certainly we try to capture that which is ephemeral, momentary. We are sad because we try to capture water bubbles or because we are trying to make castles in the sand the castles of cards. A small breeze and the castle is no more. And then we cry
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jgt trEya -aer kI shjae Qhrt nahI jEse maetI Aaes kI panI A<julI mai<h<
Jagat taraiya bhor ki Sahajo thahrat naaahi
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and lament over ill fate. Nothing is ill fate. All is ignorance. Certainly the world is like the morning star that does not stay. One who has known and seen this will certainly stop making castles of sand and cards. He will not trust dreams. Only he can know that which always is. As long as your eyes are filled with dust of ignorance you will not see. That which comes and disappears is not eternal. Life after life this is what has happened. It is like dew drop on the grass blade, tree leaf, on the flower petals all shine in the light of the sun like pearls. Keep away and do not start collecting otherwise you will have water in your hands. The pearl is illusory. So too is the world. There is an anecdote in the life of Buddha. Seeing the last star disappear in the light Buddha attained to Nirvana. That moment his inner state would have been like Sahajo when she composed this sutra. I call these sutras because these contain the essence of inner wisdom. Buddha was sitting with eyes half open and half closed and witnessed the last star disappears. The last star was disappearing and as it came close to disappearing something also disappeared in Buddha. In a moment a flame appeared and the inner lamp was lit. Why does this happen sometimes? Indeed mind fails to understand
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Why does this happen sometimes Life after life and lives too disappear in search Still the beloved of the heart never. In the absence of one opening Indeed the lotus of heart Passes through so many seasons without blossoming The mind that laughs on the surface Laments deep within Why does this happen sometimes? Indeed mind fails to understand Why does this happen sometimes How long such mishap shall continue When hands will get the firm hands in love When will the eyes understand the language of eyes? When will the path of truth Be free from thorns Why does mind always loses Something in the hope for gain Why does this happen sometimes? Indeed mind fails to understand Why does this happen sometimes Life after life and lives too disappear in search Still the beloved of the heart never. In the absence of one opening Indeed the lotus of heart Passes through so many seasons without blossoming The mind that laughs on the surface Laments deep within
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Why does this happen sometimes? Indeed mind fails to understand Why does this happen sometimes

closed without blossoming. Inner lotus blossoms only when the season of God comes the eternal spring. You have excelled in doing mistakes. And thus becomes lifeless without life-force. Awake! Arise! Never repeat mistakes! You gained nothing through such repetitions. Do not try to pass through the wall. Certain you will hit your head. Seek the door. Pass through the door. All the masters speak of that door.

The reason is straight. We are in vain trying to stop that whose nature is not to cease. That which comes in existence must leave. One whose nature is to go! One that is beyond all grips, how can that be held. Indeed you are trying to capture mercury. The world is like the mercury. But we have never raised the eye that which always is. That which is beyond all games! That which si within us as witness indeed we have overlooked. That is why you never met the eternal beloved. Considered many as the beloved and rejoiced that the beloved is sought and then in a flash disappears. How many times you created love, friendship, and bonds of attachment but failed each time. Pain and agony came your way yet never woke up. May be this time I may succeed. One more chance life wasted thus in vain. Hope creates new dreams. One who awakens from hope indeed wakes up from the world and attains to freedom. Indeed in the world of duality the eternal beloved one never gets. Inner lotus too never opens. Indeed it can blossom with the unknown touch. Seasons will come and go but inner lotus shall remain
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This net of the world you have preserved for long. Sitting on the shore how many times you threw the net but the fish never came in the net. Life passed sitting on the shore. Again and again you throw the net but the fish does not come. One day while Jesus was going and suddenly he saw a fisherman sitting on the shore with his net thrown in the river hoping to capture a fish or so. Jesus placed his hand over the shoulder from behind and asked to look at him. And then Jesus uttered, how long shall you continue capturing the useless fishes. Follow me and I shall teach you the secret of capturing the real fish. The voice was unfamiliar. The message was unique. The voice was strange and so was the person. There was tremendous attraction in the
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words. The fisherman discovered familiar splendor in an unknown face. Soul recognized the answering soul. He followed Jesus. His brother called him from the boat in mid-stream. He listened to none and followed Jesus. He must have seen something in Jesus eyes. He could trust this strange man. There is nothing to lose.

Simon bar Jonah the fisherman from the Bethsaida of Galilee followed Jesus and disappeared. His brother Andrew followed. Jesus renamed Simon as Simon Peter the apostle. Only this much for now! I have simply tried to create the thirst in you!

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Mystic Rengetsu

here are two ways a man can be. A man can either move towards having more things then he goes against Buddha, Tao, and Zen. The man who is too much concerned with having more is the worldly man. And the man who is happy with whatsoever is good always remains. He relaxes and is not worried about having more money, more power, more
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prestige, and more respectability. Indeed he relaxes into TATHATA, suchness, isness he becomes a religious person. He starts moving in. If you are thinking to have more, you will move out. When you are concerned with having, you will be moving out; when you are no more concerned with having, you will
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move in towards being. And being is Buddha. tagaki Rengetsu ( ) was a Buddhist nun who is widely regarded to have been one of the greatest Japanese poets of the 19th century. Very few women are there who have attained to the Zen ultimate. Rengetsu is one of those rare women. She was born on February 10, 1791 and lived until December 10, 1875. Her original name was Nobu. And Rengetsu was the name adopted later. She was also a skilled potter and painter and expert calligrapher who is regarded a Japanese poet, calligrapher, potter and painter. Shortly after her birth, she was adopted by Otagaki Mitsuhisa who worked at Chionin, an important Jodo (Pure Land) sect temple in Kyoto. In 1798 she was sent to serve at Kameoka Castle in Tanba, where she studied poetry, calligraphy and martial arts. She returned to Kyoto in 1807 and was married to a young samurai named Mochihisa. They had three children, all of whom died shortly after birth. In 1815 Mochihisa her husband also died. In 1819 Nobu remarried, but her second husband also died in 1823. After enduring the tragic loss of two husbands and all her children, Nobu, who was only 33 years old, cut her hair off and became a nun. It was then Nobu adopted the
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name Rengetsu meaning - the lotus moon. She lived with her stepfather, who had also taken vows, near Chionin. She was widowed twice, and had several children who died very young. Her personal life was a relentless teaching on impermanence, and her decision to become ordained as a Buddhist nun was a heartfelt effort to make sense of this impermanent life. After she was ordained, she settled into a hermitage on the grounds of her adoptive fathers temple. However, he died nine years later, which resulted in her being evicted. Being forced to leave her hermitage after so many losses must have hit her hard. Without a place to live, and without a means of support, Rengetsu decided to make and sell pottery inscribed with her poems, as well as calligraphies and drawings on scrolls. She went on to produce more than fifty thousand pieces of art. For her, art was much more than simply a way to make a living; it offered a way to make sense of her life. Her enlightened effort became tangible. After his death in 1832 Rengetsu began to make pottery, which she then inscribed with her own waka (31-syllable classical poetry) and sold to support her. The delicate hand-built tea utensils that she inscribed with hauntingly beautiful poems are unique combinations of poetry, calligraphy and pottery;
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they were as highly prized in her own lifetime as they are now. Rengetsu also inscribed her poems on utensils made by other Kyoto potters. Though best known as a waka poet, Rengetsu was also accomplished at dance, sewing, some of the martial arts, and Japanese tea ceremony. She admired and studied under a number of great poets including Ozawa Roan and Ueda Akinari, and later in her life became a close friend and mentor to the artist Tomioka Tessai. A number of Tessais works, though painted by him, feature calligraphy by Rengetsu.

(17911875), her art enjoyed broad appeal, and there has been a steady Rengetsu boom up to the present day. What is it about Rengetsu-ni that has made her so popular? Her pottery, were inscribed with her poems, has a down-to-earth appeal coupled with a sublime beauty. Her elegant calligraphy, done in the curvaceous womens script known as hiraganamore emotionally accessible than classical Chinese characters touches us through its simplicity. But it is Rengetsu herself, her vulnerability and ability to express her enlightenment in very human terms that has kept people connected to her art, and her dharma, for more than one hundred and fifty years. Rengetsu was ordained in the Pure Land Buddhist tradition, but she studied and integrated Zen and Shingon Buddhism into her practice. Her poetry especially leans into the Zen teachings of self-inquiry, ongoing effort, and enlightenment rather than visions of the Western Paradise usually associated with Pure Land practice. Her pottery expresses the Zen aesthetic of wabi-sabi, plain and lonely. My own Japanese Zen teacher, Fukushima Keido Roshi, described Kyoto tea cakes decorated with his calligraphy in this way: Eat the cookie and taste my mind. Drinking tea from one of Rengetsus cups inscribed with her

The tea pot Buddhist practitioners might be surprised to discover that a nineteenth-century Zen nun, Otagaki Rengetsu, is probably the most successful female artist in history. Even during her lifetime
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poetry, one could say: Drink the tea and feel her heart. Like other female Buddhist practitioners, Rengetsu had needed to support herself, and this led her to offer the dharma through handson encounter rather than through books or lectures. Similarly, Zen tea ladies have offered their teachings while serving tea and cakes. Those who encountered Rengetsus work could hold and touch her enlightened mind and ponder her poems while doing something as ordinary as sipping tea. What are now precious pieces of art were once just kitchen teacups. Imagine a tired woman in her kitchen holding a cup, sipping tea, and reading this poem inscribed by Rengetsu: From dawn to dusk Spending the day Gathering clay: Surely the Buddha would not Think this a trifling matter. Ordinary work life is uplifted. Whatever your position, your life is not trifling; the buddha mind holds all effort in the steady gaze of compassion. Rengetsus musings did not portray an inscrutable, conquering Zen heroine; instead, they reveal a woman humbled by lifes blows as well as its beauty, a woman who exposed her longings and the steady view with which she accepted these longings. Grace Jill Schireson says my own first encounter with Rengetsu came
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just before my priest ordination, when I read her poem titled As a Nun Gazing at the Colors of Autumn: Clad in black robes I should have no attractions to The shapes and scents of this world: But how can I keep my vows Gazing at todays crimson maple leaves? How happy I was to hear feelings and longings expressed by a Zen woman! I knew I could not inhabit ordination through imitating my male teacher. But this ongoing gaze, this steady acceptance of my feelings and shortcomings, this is something I could understand and practice authentically as a female Zen priest. She did not mystify herself or her path through her poetry and art; on the contrary, her work welcomes us into her spacious view of herselfand of ourselves. It shows how she embodied Zen just as she was. For Westerners, the experience of enlightenment may seem mysterious or unreachable, but through Rengetsus example, we see a path illuminated by effort and inquiry breaking through selflimiting mind: Ice in the Mountain Well Yesterday I shattered the ice To draw water No matter, this morning Frozen just as solid.
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No matter what we have done before, each day we face ourselves. We hear Rengetsus calm acceptance of this condition, the persistence of neurotic patterns, and a steady commitment to keep breaking up the ice, to keep working on stuck places. We also observe how this calm, steady, and effortful practice opens up to awakening: Autumn Evening In a mountain field Enthralled, so enthralled Returning all the way home Accompanied by the Autumn moon. Viewing the self with a steady meditation practice yields the freedom and joy of enlightenment. The autumn moonthe moon that rises after the sun has peaked, after the letting go of attainment this moon follows us into our own home, into our own life. This moon will not fade for us; it makes itself at home, no matter where we live. We, too, follow this moon alongside the lovely Rengetsu.
GRACE JILL SCHIRESON is the founder and head teacher of Empty Nest Zendo in North Fork, California. She received dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2005. (b Kyoto, 1791; d Kyoto, 1875).

is so revolutionary, so utterly rebellious, that it is very difficult to accept it. By accepting it you are going to be transformed; by accepting it you will be passing through a fire, you will never be the same again. Indeed traditional people have always been against all that it true in religion. Tradition is all that is untrue in religion. So those must have been traditional Buddhists in the town, and they didnt allow this woman to stay in the town; they threw her out. It was a cold night, and the old woman with no lodging... and hungry. She had to make a cherry tree in the fields her shelter. It was really cold, and she could not sleep well. And it was dangerous too wild animals and all. At midnight she awoke because of too much cold and saw, as it were, in the spring night sky, the fully opened cherry blossoms laughing to the misty moon. Overcome with the beauty, she got up and made a reverence in the direction of the village.... This is what TATHATA IS. Overcome with the beauty, she got up and made a reverence in the direction of the village: Through their kindness in refusing me lodging I found myself beneath the blossoms on the night of this misty moon. She feels grateful. With great gratitude she thanks those people who refused her lodging, otherwise she would be sleeping under an
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Rengetsu was on a pilgrimage, and she came to a village at sunset and begged for lodging for the night, but the villagers slammed their doors. They were against Zen. Zen
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ordinary roof, and she would have missed this blessing these cherry blossoms, and this whispering with the misty moon, and this silence of the night, this utter silence of the night. She is not angry, she accepts it. Not only accepts it,

welcomes it she feels grateful. A man becomes a Buddha the moment he accepts all that life brings with gratitude. He is on the Way, he is on Tao; and he IS becoming meditative.

Ten Poems of Otagaki Rengetsu


Translated by Kaz Tanahashi and Joan Halifax Roshi

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Autumn Moon
Fearing my past is exposed to the moon, I keep looking down this evening.

Water in an Old Temple


Leaking from the rock in an old temple, water barely trickles the voice of the lingering dharma.

Brush Doodling
Just playing not doing anything special the drawn traces of an ink-soaked brush.

Snow on Water
I see it dust the river wind then vanish fragile snow over water disappears from my sight.

Firefly in the Field


Even if a thought of the firefly grass
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dwindles, it may light up as a firefly in a remote field.

Heart
Drifting like white clouds from beginning to end a thing of mystery is this heart.

Longing in the Wind


I await my beloved who is not yet here. The moon in the pines and voice of the wind provoke my longing.

Evening Plum Blossoms


The perfume of plum blossoms reaches even the sleeves of my ink-dyed robe my aching heart penetrates the evening.

My Wish Under the Moon


How I wish to die in autumn moonlight not to be lost, even in darkness.
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Death Poem
My wish is to see a cloudless moon above the lotus flower in my next life. Kazazuaki Tanahashi is a master calligrapher, Dogen scholar, and social activist. Joan Halifax Roshi Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, civil-rights activist, and author is Founder and Abbot of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are grateful to them for their kind permission to post these translations.

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Muktabai
With her radiating aura, intelligence and clarity of thought, Muktabai not only enlightened thousands, but also gave a new glory to her brothers greatness. She is revered and honored. Having been liberated and raised to sainthood, she even initiated others into spirituality. There are many legendary stories related to her supernatural powers and ability as a Spiritual Master.

Muktabai wrote forty-one Abhanga throughout her life span. Tati ughada dnaneshwara is one her most insightful works, being a conversation with saint Jnaneshwar. It is considered to be a milestone in Marathi literature. According to Mukatabai, the definition of saint is Saint jene vahave; jag bolane so save or a saint is the one who can digest criticism of people. Once, the parents set out on a pilgrimage with their children to Tryambakeshwar near Nashik, where their eldest son Nivrutti (at the age of 10) was initiated in to the Nath tradition by Gahininath. The paternal great grandfather of Jnaneshwar had been initiated into the Nath Tradition by Goraksha Nath (Gorakh Nath). The orphaned children grew up on alms. They approached the Brahmin community of Paithan to accept them but the Brahmins refused. According to the disputed Shuddhi Patra the children were purified by the Brahmins on condition of observing celibacy. Their argument with the Brahmins earned the children fame and respect due to their righteousness, virtue, intelligence, knowledge, awareness and politeness. Jnaneshwar became the disciple of Nivruttinath along with his younger Sopan and Mukta at the age of 8. He learnt and mastered the philosophy and various techniques of kundalini yoga.

uktabai was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family and was the younger sister of Jnaneshwar, the first Varkari saint.

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Nivruttinath was an authority on philosophy of the Nath sect. Gahininath, one of the nine Nath gurus, accepted Nivrutti as his disciple and initiated him into the Nath sect, instructing him to propagate devotion to Shri Krishna. Jnaneshwar began his literary work when Nivruttinath instructed him to write a commentary on Bhagavad Gita. The Dnyaneshwari or Bhavartha deepika Teeka was written down by Sacchidananand Baba from discourses by Jnaneshwar. By the time the commentary was complete Jnaneshwar was only 15 years old. It is considered a masterpiece of Marathi literature. The Jnaneshwaris 18 chapters are composed in a meter called ovi. Jnaneshwar liberated the divine knowledge locked in the Sanskrit language to bring that knowledge into Prakrit (Marathi) and made it available to the common man. He was confident that he would write in Marathi in as good or better manner than Sanskrit. Amrutanubhav, was written sometime after. It is difficult and finds fewer readers. Amrutanubhav contains 10 chapters and 806 ovi. It is based on non-dualism (advaita siddhanta). The seventh chapter is the biggest (295 ovi) and is the most important as well. Apart from Jnaneshwari and Amrutanubhav works like Changdev Paasashti (a collection of 65 ovi addressed to an allegedly 1400 years old yogi named Changdev Maharaj), Haripath and around 1000 abhanga are attributed to Dnyaneshwar. However the authorship of many is disputed due to differences in writing style. Sopandev is the youngest of the three brothers. Sopandev attained Samadhi at Saswad near Pune. He wrote a book Sopandevi based on the Bhagvadgitas Marathi interpretation along with 50 or so abhangas. The story of Muktabai is chiefly connected with Jnanadev, one of her brothers. The other two brothers were Nivritti and Sopan. Thus these were the four children of Vitthalpant and Rukhmabai Kulkarni of Apegaon, who lived on the banks of the river Godavari near Pai and later they moved to Alandi on the banks of River Indriani near modern day Pune. Muktabai was the youngest child and has been regarded as the incarnation of Saraswati or Adi-Shakti. Nivritti is regarded as the incarnation of Lord Shiva, Jnanadev as the incarnation of Sri Krishna, and Sopan as the incarnation of Brahma.
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Life and works of Muktabai

lmost nothing is available about her extremely brief but spiritually

illustrious life. However her life is embedded deeply with the lives of her brothers and the contemporary saints. She was only fourteen years of age when she wrote an essay titled About the Griefs of the Mangs and the Mahars. For an untouchable, and that too a woman of her time, to say O learned pundits, wind up the selfish prattle of your hollow wisdom and listen to what I have to say, was aweinspiringly sharp. She wrote many Abhangs in her brief life span. She tells us that she was awakened to spiritual consciousness by the grace of Nivritti. Many of her preaching to Changdev (her disciple) in the form of Abhangas became very famous. Though no form ever encompasses Him Still my eyes ever saw him, His glory is the celestial fire in my mind And knows His secret inner form As discovered by the soul - vision. What is indeed? Beyond the mind That has no boundary. In it all our senses and perception too dissolve. Mukta says: Words cannot hold him Yet in him all words exist.

~**~
When darkness is vanished, I live eternally, Where I am ever blissful Beyond coming and going, And beyond all vision too,
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Above all spheres and realms His spirit dwells in my Being erelong! Indeed He is my hearts only Sojourn. Her most popular Abhanga is the Tatiche Abhanga - The Song of the Door. It so happened once, that Jnanadev, being extremely annoyed with the people around him, locked himself up in his hut. Hearing this, Muktabai composed some Abhangas chiding him that for a saint to be upset over follies of the world was totally unbecoming. She sings: Indeed an ascetic is pure in mind and forgives the offences of people. If the world is hot as fire owing to exasperation, a sage should with pleasure be cool as water. Certainly a master carries fire in one hand and water in the other. Fire he consumes and water, he gives to others. If people hurt them with weapons of words, saints should treat those remarks as pieces of advice. This universe is a single piece of cloth woven with the one thread of Brahman. It is Brahman that permeates the entire cosmos. Therefore please open the door, O Jnaneshwar. This was the message of Buddha to Purna-Kashyap. The dialogue is beautiful: Buddha was sitting in lotus posture with eyes half open and half closed a typical insignia of Buddha. Buddha enquired, If along the way spreading the message people ignore you. Purna: Will consider then ignorant still unaware of truth Buddha: If they insult you? Purna: What insults can do to a no-mind or one who is not the mind? Buddha: What if they abuse you? Purna: What can abuse do to me? It is like dust that can be shaken of. Buddha: What if they stone you? Purna: What can stone do? Stone can only wound the body the outer shell not the being or my inner serenity.
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Buddha: And if they kill you? Purna: In spreading the message of love and harmony if physical life is sacrificed it will be my privilege and offering at the altar of Righteousness. Immediately Buddha opened his eyes and blessed Purna saying, GoNow you have. And through you there will be no harm. It is said Buddha send Purna to the criminal area of then Bihar called Sookha. There is yet another incident that I would like to mention here for the sake of seekers. Vivekananda was requested by the King of Khetri to represent the Parliament of Religions at Chicago in September of 1893. His master Ramkrishna was no more. He told the King, He cannot decide to go until he has the word of the master. So he went to Calcutta to see Ma Sharda to seek her blessings as the blessings of the master. Sharda was in the kitchen when she came to know of the arrival of her favorite son Naren. So she decided to cook special food for him. She invited Vivekananda in the kitchen to sit while she continued to work. Vivekananda told him of the proposed visit to the Parliament Of Religions and that he came for her permission. Sharda did not say anything about the request instead she continued the kitchen work. Then all of a sudden she asked: Naren give me that knife. Naren picked up the knife and handed over to Sharda. As she did so she immediately said: Naren you have the blessing of the master. Go ahead. What was so unique in this event that we want to mention here in this context? Such is the device of the masters. And such is the methodology for those who seek the spiritual path of transformation. Now let us explain. Knife has two parts. One is metal blade with a sharp edge and a pointed end. The sharp edge is used to cut the unwanted part and the pointed sharp edge is used to pierce when needed.
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Then there is the wooden handle. This protects the user from any injury. Normally knife is held by the wooden handle side. And when you have to hand over the knife to someone else normally people hold the handle side and point the blade side towards the other. This can harm the other. Vivekananda held the knife by the blade side and let the wooden handle face Sharda who needed the knife for use. And the way Vivekananda held the knife to hand over to Sharda clearly exhibited that amidst all talks he was aware. And the explanation continues. And the master-disciple is simply a conscious play or lila on the part of the one who knows. IsaUpanioshad explains that the cosmos is nothing but ever expanding consciousness and embodiment of Aham-Brahamasmi and Isa vasyam idam sarvam. Human consciousness is arrowed. It is like an arrow with a pointed edge that faces the target and the other edge is different as it rests on the string of the bow and held by the archer in the process of shooting. Normally human consciousness is single edged arrow. It always faces the other. For the work of transformation this arrow of consciousness has to be double-arrowed. One sharp edge faces the target and the other sharp one points towards your heart the center of the being. Unless the energy or consciousness of the person is double arrowed he will be able to bring about transformation and his words will be emerging from the memory the false center and not the awareness. Being is your center and the other is on the circumference. All spiritual journeys are movement from circumference of duality and conflict to the inner center of harmony. Therefore unless your master allows you to work never venture in spiritual work as guru. In the process of spiritual journey when the energy reaches the fifth center Vishudha Chakra or the throat center tremendous desire comes in you to share all that you have heard. This is simply all that you have heard and therefore this is not growth within you. There are dangers. This fifth center is the door that can lead to the world or to the beyond. And normally at this center there is great danger of turning towards the world because without your energy reaching to the last center Sahashrar the thousand petal center all work is illusion.

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These psycho centers move in pairs because each represents only one aspect of life energy male or female; yin or yang; positive or negative; shiva or Shakti; and anima or animus. In case of male Mooladhar is masculine energy and Swadhisthan is feminine energy and the vice-versa is the case with female. And such is the case with other centers as well. All these centers are dualistic. Only thousandpetal center is non-dualistic. And the thousand petal center is the center of attainment. At this center one is beyond body-mind-intellect, and its dualities. AT this center all dualities vanish. He has attained to enlightenment. However before reaching the thousand petal center many stages come when you feel that you have attained. These are illusionary. It is only at thousand petal center all illusions vanish. Through this knife incident Sharda exhibited the methodology in masterdisciple experience and the need of the command of the master. He has travelled through all these stages and is aware of pitfalls. Until you reach that state and it is subsequently confirmed by the master you work as master does not begun. Scholar Ruth Vanita mentions that Mukta did not reflect on her personal life or on womanhood in particular, however she wrote with a larger, more philosophical perspective. Indeed it is remarkable, for someone who did not live beyond her teens. With her radiating aura, intelligence and clarity of thought, she not only enlightened thousands, but also gave a new glory to her brothers greatness. She was revered and honored. Having been liberated and risen to sainthood, she even initiated others into spirituality. There are many legendary stories related to her supernatural powers and ability as a spiritual master.

A Publication of Taoshobuddha Meditations

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