Timeless Wisdom (Passages for Meditation from the World’s Saints and Sages)

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Item Code: IHL470
Author: Eknath Easwaran
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 139788179929506
Pages: 228
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 270 gm
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Book Description

THIS BOOK IS a collection of passages with the power to transform lives, drawn from the world’s great spiritual traditions. It is a companion to my book Passage Meditation, which describes a program for putting that power to work — for bringing the deep wisdom of the heart into daily living.

I was in the midst of a very busy career in the English department of a university in India when I began to develop this program in my own life. That story is told in Passage Meditation; here I would like simply to add a few words about what the richness of this discovery meant to me — and why meditating on passages like these makes this method of meditation so effective and so universal.

In Kerala state, South India, where I grew up, the new year is ushered in with a ceremony many centuries old. The night before, while most of the family is asleep, a special shrine is assembled with all kinds of lustrous objects — yellow flowers, brassware, gold jewelry, ripe fruits, lighted oil lamps — arranged around a mirror draped with garlands. The next morning, each member of the family is led to the shrine with eyes closed and asked, “Would you like to see the Lord?” We open our eyes, and shining in the midst of this bright setting we see our own face in the glass. It is a beautiful reminder of the divinity in each of us — the viewer and everyone else around.

Naturally, the reminder tends to get forgotten later, as life closes in again. But in my home, whenever one of us children began to misbehave, my grandmother had only to ask, “Do you remember where you saw the Lord on New Year’s?”

The passages in this book are like that New Year mirror. They show us our original goodness. They remind us that whatever mistakes we may have made in the past, however self-centered our words or behavior might be today, at the center of our personality lies a spark of the divine that can never be extinguished, does not even have to be earned, for it is an essential part of our nature as human beings.

When you and I look into a mirror, we see a familiar face with a distressing tendency to show fatigue or age. But that is not what the mystics see. They look at us — through us, into us — and see something transcendent, luminous, timeless, “the Face behind all faces":

I look into the mirror and see my own beauty;
I see the truth of the universe revealing itself as me.
I rise in the sky as the morning sun, do not be surprised.
I am Light itself reflected in the heart of everyone.

Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light
I of a thousand suns.

Radiant is the world soul,
Full of splendor and beauty,
Full of life.

Words like these are not just poetry. They are a passionate attempt to describe the direct, personal encounter with a reality beyond words, put into words by men and women over- whelmed by the desire to share that experience with anyone who will listen. When we hear with open hearts, the words stir an response within us. We glimpse in them a reflection of our own true Self. The wonderful potential latent in us begins to shine, as a possibility we can not only imagine but long for and begin to live by.

This is the real purpose of this book: to provide not just a Collection of inspiring poetry, but a mirror for helping us translate the lofty vision of the world’s great spiritual traditions into our daily lives.

How this can be done is the subject of my introduction, but I can give al simple illustration. Imagine beginning each day absorbed in meditation on passages like this from Francis of Assisi;

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy

Or this, from the Buddha:

Just as a mother with her own life
protects her child, her only child, from harm,
so within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
your life will bring heaven to earth.

When you step out into the workaday world enveloped in words like these, the words go with you. Gradually they become part of you, assimilated into your character and consciousness. They provide armor to protect you from the stress and hurry of the day — the armor of patience, compassion, wisdom, courage, love.

More than that, they become your friends. When you get caught up in the heat of the moment, the words come to you and tug at the sleeve of your mind. ‘An instrument of peace, remember? As a mother protects her only chi1d?" For if this original goodness is in each of us — you and me — then it is within everyone else as well. Surprisingly perhaps, the only way we can reveal the divinity in ourselves is to focus on it in those around us.

These words ring with power — and not simply the power of words. Words go no deeper than experience. If a neighbor says, “Go sell what you have and give it to the poor’ will we take it seriously? Yet the same words from Jesus have been changing lives for thousands of years. A nobleman in third-century Egypt, a would-be troubadour in Assisi, an obscure nun teaching school in Calcutta hears them and puts them into action, transforming not just one life but countless thousands. Words from this depth of the heart never lose their power.

And don’t they speak with one voice, these lovers of God? Which is the Catholic nun, which the Sufi poet, which the Indian sage? Like heights above the timberline, where no tree can grow, on these heights of the spirit no distinctions can arise. However varied the paths, when we actually make this journey we cannot help but end up at the same place.

I’m often reminded of nineteenth—century explorers’ search for the highest mountain in the world. Tibetans pointed to Chomolungma, Nepalis to Sagarmatha, Chinese to Shengmu Feng. In Darjeeling, Westerners looking for “Peak XV" were directed to Deodungha. All, of course, turned out to be talking about the same peak, best known today as Mt. Everest.

Similarly, though the men and women in this book naturally fall back on the language of their own times and traditions, they are not repeating dogma or theory. They are telling us what they have seen, describing a place they have actually gone to and discovered to be their home — and then come back to tell us, over and over, that this is our home as well.

I like to think of this place as a country a vast realm in the depths of consciousness beyond the frontier of personal separateness — a land of unity where all of creation is one. Others prefer terms that are cozier and more personal, scaled to human dimensions. For Teresa of Avila it is an “interior castle"; for Augustine, a city; in the Upanishads, “a secret dwelling in the lotus of the heart? Whatever the language, however, all the world’s great mystics agree with one voice that this place at the center of the soul is where we really belong. “God is at home," insists Augustine; “we are abroad." Until we discover this for ourselves, we remain exiles, wanderers, tourists with a growing sense of being strangers in a strange land. Our main job in life is to find this place in the heart where we belong; then we are at home wherever we go:

After much wandering I am come home,
Where turns not the wheel of time and change ....
I Listen to Ravidas, just a cobbler:
All who live here are my true friends.

After decades of meditation, I can say the same of the saints and sages you will meet in this book. All are my true friends — constant companions whose words remind me daily of the divinity latent in us all. I hope they will become your friends as well.

Back of the Book

In this collection of passages for meditation, Eknath Easwaran brings the wisdom of the world’s great saints and sages within our reach. These are powerful, universal wisdom texts that inform and transform.

-Enjoy them for their poetic and intellectual appeal
-Or study them slowly, with concentration
-Or meditate on them, so that the words come to life in you thoughts and actions.

The great saints and sages are the world’s spiritual geniuses - men and women such as the Compassionate Buddha, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, and the sages of the Upanishads. They come from different faiths, different times, but they all discovered the same changeless reality underlying the shifting world of sense experience. By reminding us of our essential goodness, they give us hope. Through the legacy of their words, they show us what it means to think in freedom, love fully, and see life as it really is. Easwaran chose texts that are positive, practical, and inspiring, that express the universal ideals of love, steadfastness, and wisdom. They can be read as holy words but also as the promptings of our true self, the core of goodness within us.

Read this book again and again - and let these saints and sages take you to the heartland of the spirit within.

About the Author

Eknath Easwaran is respected around the worlds as one of the great spiritual teachers. He was Professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur, India, and an established writer, when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. As Founder and Director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and the Nilgiri Press, he taught the classics of world mysticism and the practice of meditation from 1960 till his death in 1999.

Preface 11In the Company of Saints & Sages
Introduction 19
St. Francis of Assisi 33 The Prayer of St. Francis
Isha Upanishad 34 The Inner Ruler
Lao Tzu 37 Holding to the Constant
Abraham Isaac Kook 38Radiant Is the World Soul
Hasan Kaimi Baba 39 The Path of Love
St. Teresa of Avila 40Let Nothing Upset You
The Buddha 41 Twin Verses
St. Symeon the New Theologian 44 I Know That He Reveals Himself
Dov Baer of Mezhirech 45Cast Aside What Limits You
Bhagavad Gita 46The Way of Love
Gospel of St. Matthew 49 The Beatitudes
Kabir 51 The Unstruck Bells and Drums
Thomas a Kempis 53 The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love
Swami Omkar 57 Prayer for Peace
Rabi’s 58 Dawn Prayer
Eleazar Azikri 59 Beloved of the Soul
Psalm 23 60 The Lord is My Shepherd
The Buddha 61 Discourse on Good Will
Ansari of Heart 63 Invocations
Bhagavad Gita 72Whatever You Do
Brother Lawrence 74Practicing the Presence of God
Shantideva 76 The Miracle of Illumination
Psalm 119 77I Am the One Who Will Never Forget You
Sarada Devi 84 The Whole World Is Your Own
St. Paul 85 Epistle on Love
Bhagavad Gita 86 What Is Real Never Ceases
Lao Tzu 89 The Best
St. Patrick 90 Christ Be With Me
Jewish Liturgy 91Sabbath Prayer
Thomas a Kempis 92 Lord That Giveth Strength
Mahmud Shabestari 96 The Mirror of this World
Katha Upanishad 97 Perennial Joy
Solomon ibn Gabirol 103 The Living God
St. Catherine of Genoa 104 A Sea of Peace
Chandogya Upanishad 105 You Are That
The Buddha 108 Cross the River Bravely
St. Francis de Sales 114 Do Not Look with Fear
Bhagavad Gita 115 Living in Wisdom
Native American 116 Great Life-Giving Spirit
Gospel of St. Matthew121 The Lord’s Prayer
Mahatma Gandhi 122 The Path
Baba Kuhi of Shiraz 123 Only God I Saw
Psalm 139 124 Lord; Thou Hast Searched Me
Chandogya Upanishad 127 The City of Brahman
Lao Tzu 130Finding Unity
Book of Common Prayer 131 I Am the Resurrection and the Life
The Qur’an 133 The Opening
Psalm 100 134 Worship the Lord in Gladness
Rig Veda 135 United in Heart
Hazrat Inayat Khan 136 Prayer for the Peace of the World
Solomon ibn Gabirol 137 Adon Olam
St. Therese of Lisieux 138 Living on Love
Lao Tzu 141 Mother of All Things
Katha Upanishad 142 The Razor’s Edge
St. Augustine 145 Entering into Joy
Hazrat Inayat Khan 147 Prayer for Peace
Psalm 63 148 Lord, You Are My God
Jalaluddin Rumi 149 A Garden Beyond Paradise
Gaelic Tradition 151 Silence
Fakhruddin Araqi 152 The Shining Essence
Psalm 24 154 The Earth Is the Lord’s
Bhagavad Gita 155 Be Aware of Me Always
Gospel of St. Matthew 159 The Sermon on the Mount
Hasan al-Basri 160 Remembrance of God
Seng Ts’an 161 Believing in Mind
Bahya ibn Pakuda 164 Duties of the Heart
Isaiah 166 When You Call
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 167 The One Appearing as Many
Judah Halevy 171 Lord, Where Shall I Find You?
Upanishads 172 Invocation
Gaelic Tradition 173 This Morning I Pray
Katha Upanishad 174 The Immortal
Kabir 177 The Temple of the Lord
Fakhraddin ar-Razi 179 Remember Me Through Grace
Songs of Sri Ramakrishna 180 Dwell, O Mind, Within Yourself
St. Clare of Assisi 181 The Mirror of Eternity
Mishkat al-Masabih 182 I Come to Him Running
The Buddha 183The Saint
Meera 185 Come, Beloved
186 The Path to Your Dwelling
187 Life of My Life
Chief Yellow Lark 188 Let Me Walk in Beauty
St. Teresa of Avila 189 Her Heart Is Full of Joy
Katha Upanishad 190 The Tree of Eternity
The Buddha 193 The Island
Bhagavad Gita 194 All Paths Lead to Me
Abu Sa’id 196 If You Want to Draw Near to God
Mechthild of Magdeburg 197 Lord, I Bring Thee My Treasure
Kabir 198 Simple Union
Tukaram 199 Think on His Name
Jewish Liturgy 200Evening Prayer for the Sabbath
Kabir 201 The River of Love
Thomas a Kempis 202 Four Things that Bring Much Inward Peace
Guru Nanak 203 There Is But One God
St. Teresa of Avila 204 I Gave All My Heart
Rabi’a 205 Night Prayer
Rig Veda 206 God Makes the Rivers to Flow
St. Bernard of Clairvaux 207 That Wondrous Star
Meera 209 Singing Your Name
Jewish Liturgy 210 Mourner’s Kaddish
Kabir 211 Weaving Your Name
212 The Fruit of the Tree
Ravidas 213 Grieve Not
Glossary of Names & Terms 215
Acknowledgements 219
Index by Author & Source 221
Index by Title & First Line 224
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