Monastic Life and the Interreligious Dialogue

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Monastic Life and Interreligious Dialogue: What does our life as monks mean to the non-Christian world?

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#set-monastic-life-and-interreligious-dialogue, #retreat-conference


Say a little bit about what any of you can do with regard to religious, inter-religious dialogue, just in the light of where you are, where God has called you, where God has placed you. You don't have to do anything special to enter into the inter-religious dialogue as a monk. I mean, just being a monk is enough, that's all, you know, and that's the best way to dialogue with Hinduism and Buddhism, be a monk. So if anyone asks, what should I do to get involved with inter-religious dialogue? Just tell them, go be a monk, or go be a nun, as the case may be, because that's what the Buddhists understand best, that's what the Hindus understand, I mean, if you're living this kind of life, and if you're doing it in such a way that they can see the signs of what they understand as a monastic spirituality, then you're already saying a great deal to them. And just the fact, just being there, you know, not like the movie with Peter Sellers, but


just being there, just being, you know, is the message, it's not the medium, it's the person, it's the message, it's just, because there are Hindu monks and there are Buddhist monks, and a real Hindu or a real Buddhist, you know, doesn't understand any kind of religion that doesn't have monks in it, at least monks, and that's why a lot of them think that maybe Christianity isn't a religion, you know, it's an organization, it's an institution, it's a social movement, it's a betterment society, you know, but it's not a religion. Religion means being a monk, means meditating, it all kind of boils down to this, and after you've kind of swept away all the, how should I say, the embellishments of it, you know, you get down to the reality, you set aside all the side dishes, you know, the antipasto and the dessert and everything, and you get down to the meat, and this is it, you know,


just meditating, going off and meditating, and that's what they're going to finally end up asking you, asking you, well, do you meditate? And hopefully we'll be able to answer yes. But of course, what we do, I mean, the way we meditate, of course, is somewhat different from the way they meditate, and it's got to be different, because, I mean, there's real differences, this is what I try to say, the first time we met on this subject, that there are differences, and there's no dialogue without respecting those differences, and we are Christians, and we are Catholics, and we are members of the Church, and we have this tradition, and we have this faith, which is truth, which is knowledge, which is a way of knowing, of course, beyond concepts, beyond anything that is accessible to the rational process, without violating that process, but it is a given truth, it is something we treasure, it is something we have in earthen vessels, and we're not worthy of it, and we're not really capable


of being entirely consistent with it, but this message is the truth, it is total truth, it embraces all truth, which means that, that's why they say it's Catholic, you know, it's universal, it embraces all truth, it embraces the truth of other religions, the truth of other religions, not their errors, of course, the errors of men, the errors of mistaken seekers, well-intentioned seekers, you know, who stumble along the way. Well, how many times do we stumble? How many errors do we have in our own lives? I know, I mean, I know my experience, I know how many errors that I've gotten into, I'm not going to lie, by the grace of God, you know, and sometimes, you know, we just have to kind of, kind of bow our head every day and say to God, not just generically, have mercy on me, sinner, but have mercy on me, a heretic, you know, because I'm a little heretical, and every one of us is just a little bit heretical, you know, because coming to the truth is a


totalizing process, it's a process that involves every part of our nature, and where there's any kind of division in our nature, we don't really have the truth, we maybe hang on to the concept, I mean, is Jesus really risen in me, you know, in my whole me, and then, then I know the truth, and then I'm not in error, but if maybe his resurrection is not shining forth from every core of my body, then maybe I'm a little heretical, maybe I believe and don't believe in the resurrection, they know and do not know, which is the situation of so many believers. Well, a monk should be on the way to kind of purifying his mind and body and everything, in order that he may be less and less of a heretic, and more and more of a true believer, more and more orthodox, and that is Catholic, and that is universal, and capable of embracing the truth that he meets in any human being, whoever,


a Jew, a Marxist, a Buddhist, anyone, you know, truth, goodness, righteousness, beauty, embracing that and not being afraid, you know, what can a Buddhist do to me? I mean, someone might kill me, perhaps a Marxist would be more likely to kill me than a Buddhist, but he can't take away my she, or whatever, cannot take away my knowledge that I have from God that comes from my faith, so I'm not threatened by the Buddhists. I think that's what has happened too many times, where there hasn't been the dialogue, where there hasn't been the willingness to dialogue with these people, because really, you know, on the Christian side, the Catholic side, there's been this insecurity, kind of unconscious awareness that I really don't have the truth, and I'm going to see when I get run into this Buddhist, you know, he's going to show me that, you know, it's all wrong, I've been living an illusion.


Well, actually, that's not a good Christian, that's not a good Catholic, wherever there's that kind of nagging doubt, you know, you're not really, you're not fully converted to the Lord, if ever there's this nagging doubt that if I start reading about Buddhism, I'm going to end up losing my Christianity. Although, on the other hand, you don't want to read too many books, because that will be a distraction. Too many books, you must read many books. It is a holy duty for a monk to read many books. I mean, it's always been there, the library's been full, you know, our monk over there just published a book a couple, or a year ago, which was a study of the library catalog, it sounds, you know, silly, how to write a big book this thick, on the catalog of the library of the Holy Hermitage of Canada, in 1400 and something, which was basically a record of the books that had been there since 1200 and something, which is just about 150 years after the place was started. So,


anyway, reflecting, you know, what kind of culture the monks had, and really, brothers, they had a lot of culture. They read a lot of books, and they had them there, and they had them cataloged in such a way that the arrangement of the books on the shelves told the story of what was going on in their brains, how they were forming themselves, and they started with a liturgy. They started with prayer, without making any fuss about liturgical, non-liturgical prayer, meditation, private prayer, public prayer, singing psalms, not singing or doing whatever. These are non-issues for the monastic tradition before, you know, up to and including, you know, this period in our own spirituality, in our own history So there, at the holy hermitage, you know, well, it may be good for the novices, but for the hermits, you don't want them to read. No, they've got to read. They've got to read many books, but not too many books. In other words, not books that will disperse your mind.


You always have to go back to the one thing necessary. And the books are useful instruments. So, meditation also includes reading books. There's nothing wrong, like, in the morning or in the evening, you know, after a vespers, you know, bring along with you. In choir, I mean, if you fall asleep, maybe this is a help, you know, bring along a book and read a paragraph. I mean, just, you know, little nibbles. Not, you don't want to read a chapter and you'll say, when you hear this, oh, where was I? Oh, I just read two chapters. So that's good, you know, there's nothing wrong if you end up, you know, being surprised that you read two chapters and maybe you wouldn't have done it if you hadn't brought it there at that place. But anyway, meditation can be helped in just as interesting ways. So, getting back to what I was saying, in other words, the dialogue gets started when we no longer feel threatened by the person with whom we're dialoguing. And we no longer feel threatened by that person when we're really in the faith and we're really living


the faith. We're really Orthodox, which means we're giving the right kind of glory to God. And we're really Catholic, which means we're universal. And we're really evangelical, which means we're simple and little children, you know? So it's, there's nothing sectarian about it. Now, let's see, the last time I kind of read, you know, a few scattered texts and maybe suggesting, you know, what kind of the wide range of things and how certain themes can go through the history of Hinduism and Buddhism. These are just scattered examples. These are not, these are not really a consistent doctrine. You have to kind of search through there. But there is a kind of a basic background of wisdom that emerges, you know, frequently in these texts. In the Hindu texts you have Vedas and you have Upanishads and you have


the epics and Puranas and you have Tantras. And among the Upanishads, but inserted into one of the epics, is a book called the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavad Gita, or simply the Gita. Gita means song. And Bhagavan, the nominative case, Bhagavan, means the blessed one or the Lord or he who shares, participates, you know, makes others participate in his richness. This, this, bonum diffusivum sui, if you've ever heard this phrase from classical philosophy, it means the good is by its very nature expansive. It expands itself. It scatters abroad its goodness. It is diffused throughout, not diffused, but diffused throughout all things. So the


nature of the good is to expand itself and to just let everything share, you know. You can't put perfume on yourself without filling the whole room with the smell of it. So this is a way of saying that moral virtues are not only to make yourself smell sweet in the eyes of God, but also to make the whole environment around you sweet. And of course that is where you find a holy person. A holy person really does this. But then there are people who have such worked senses of smell, they can't stand the smell of lavender or something really good. They prefer the smell of manure or whatever. And so they run out of the place. They can't stand this perfume. They can't stand the good. These are people who are not in love with the good and not with the evil, with nothingness. So they run away from this. That's why some very good and holy people end up getting killed and end up being refused and rejected. But


where people are more or less, at least they're little ones, at least they're able to take it when it's given to them, when it's really placed before them, they're able to be drawn to the holy person. And the holy person fills his environment or her environment with that fragrance of God. So, in the same way, God, Bhagavan, the divine being, fills the universe with goodness and shares the divinity with things, continuous beings. So this is Bhagavan and Bhagavan is God. And the word, the root of this, the verbal root, bahaj, which means to share, participate, becomes bhag when it comes on the end, you know. And then you must know that in Polish and other Slavic tongues, you know, buk spelled B-O-G, spelled B-O-G,


buk in Polish means God, the root for God. So it's not only in Sanskrit that this word is used and so the concept itself is a universal concept, a beautiful concept to apply to God. And so, Gita, song, it is the song of this blessed Lord, of this Lord who shares His divinity. Now, the Lord here is called Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. And let me say another thing. So this Gita here is found in Book 6 of a big, long epic called Mahabharata, Mahabharata, which is a story of Bharata, who is a warrior, an Aryan warrior, and his battle with his enemies who were also his cousins, you know, was an internecine battle among the Aryans, two different tribes, and they ended up killing each other off. And, well, the


story of the epic is very complicated, but it's something like the Trojan War, it's something, you know, like the Iliad, because all of this, you know, the epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and then you have the Mahabharata and the Ramayana in Hindu literature. Ramayana is just a kind of an odyssey, you know, the king who gets thrown out of his kingdom and goes wandering all over, and his wife remains faithful to him, and all of this, you know. Just the basic elements of these stories are the same, so they must go way, way, way back, because, you know, they're before Homer, and they're before whoever, you know, started putting together these Hindu emblems. So they come from, we don't know how many thousands of years before the birth of Jesus. So, anyway, it's an epic, and you can put both of Homer's epics into one of the volumes of this enormous Hindu epic, because they just kept adding on and adding on and adding on. One of the add-ons is the Bhagavad Gita. And the Bhagavad


Gita is also called an Upanishad. Now, Upanishad is an initiatory discourse. I think I explained it comes from Shraddha, from the same root that we have in seat, sitting, to sit, you know, so that it means sitting at the feet of the master, and listening to his doctrine. And that's the position, you know, in all of the ancient cultures, including the Jewish culture, you know, Mary sat at Jesus' feet, you know, and said, enough of this contention. And, of course, the thing that no one understands, no one realizes, that a woman wasn't supposed to be sitting at the rabbi's feet, you know. It was only for men, there was no place for a woman, you know. So here, Jesus is breaking all the rules, as he usually does. So this was an Upanishad that was happening there, in the house of Martha and Mary. It was an Upanishad where Jesus was the master, pouring forth his wisdom, and his listeners were around, were there at his feet, including this girl, you know, didn't belong anywhere.


So, here is a kind of a universal model, the Upanishad, the initiatory discourse, and very often it's set up in a kind of a dialogue in the Upanishads themselves, what are called the classical Upanishads. They're part of the Vedas, they're tacked onto the Vedas, and not part of the Epics. And these, they usually, without telling, there's not a real story, but it's, you know, they kind of, make it kind of a scene, set it kind of a scene, and then it's, you know, like Plato's, well, Plato's dialogues are Upanishads in a sense too, although they're more consciously literary, but Plato's going back to this type of literature, he's going back to this, maybe there's some kind of unrecorded Greek type of Upanishad that goes way back. So here's, the story in most Upanishads is the king comes and speaks to the Brahmin, to the priest, and this Brahmin's an old man, he lives off in the forest, he's gone through the thing, he's already taken care of his kids, and they're growing up in


there, and so now he goes off in the forest, and then the king goes out to talk to him, and to find out what he's supposed to do, not how to run his kingdom, so much as to how to run his life, and how to get out of this mess of cyclic existence, how to transcend the futility of the world, and everything repeats itself, and how do I get out of this? Now, the Gita is also a dialogue, but it's a different kind of dialogue, and so it's not tacked on to the Vedas, it's tacked on to the Upanishads, I mean, tacked on to the epic, the Mahabharata. There might be a certain reason for this, because, you see, the Gita is a kind of unique text, you see, the Hindus have kind of an idea of a canon, of holy scripture, you know, what is inspired scripture, and what is really tradition, you know, and inspired scripture is anything that's tacked on to the Vedas, the Vedas themselves, anything that's tacked on to them, and tradition is the epics and the Puranas, and anything


tacked on to them, but here this Gita is, it's tacked on to the epic, but it's considered, it's called in Upanishad, and it's considered divine scripture, and in Hinduism today, Neo-Hinduism, you know, the Hindu revival, starting in the last century, beginning of the last century, let me just go through the Ramakrishna and all these others. In Neo-Hinduism it's fast becoming the sacred text, the gospel of Hinduism, so you read this book, and it's not too long, it's 18 chapters, you read this book, and you've already, you know, read just about 90% of anything you need to know about Hinduism, it's here, you know, and then there are other things that are interesting, if you want to really go into it, there's a whole, you know, there's a whole world to discover, because Indian religious culture is so extremely vast, that none, no Westerner can do any more than scratch the surface of it, because no Indian, no Hindu can do any more than scratch the surface of it, because you take any Hindu, the most brilliant scholar, the most brilliant Shastri, we call that scholar Shastri, the most brilliant Shastri, or Pandit, Pandit is an Indian word, Pandita, which means learner,


the most brilliant of these only has time enough, you know, to maybe he memorizes the Vedas and a lot of the Upanishads, memorizes, this is part of the academic discipline, the scholastic discipline, young boys studying, you know, they learn by rote a lot of that stuff, and then they learn their commentaries of their own school, so they know their part of Hinduism, but that's not all Hinduism, and Hinduism is not a religion, it is a whole world of religion. But, if you want, you know, to reduce everything to the essential, and to take one text that everyone, that every school is going to have some kind of commentary on it, and wants to claim, as it were, as an inspiring doctrine and source of truth and wisdom, that is the literary standpoint. I don't think it's much more difficult to understand and appreciate than say, hmm, Ecclesiastes, Kohelet, which we heard a few readings from in the Mass,


or Plato's Dialogues. It's a different culture and there are certain things that you run into here that you don't know quite how to handle, but it's not that difficult. And the language and some of the concepts, you know, are very close in some strange ways to Christianity. Now, of course, you're going to ask the question, everyone asks the question, well, maybe this Gita was written, you know, with some Christian influence, you know, because if oral tradition is to be believed in, to be trusted, St. Thomas the Apostle arrived in India sometime in the 50s, the 50s, 50s, you know, at the time of the first century. And he arrived there, so he was there in India before St. Peter got to Rome, at least according to modern scholars. But anyway, if he got there, that means the Christians were already there, you know, from early times. There were Jews there too, you know, there were Jews in Bombay that


traced their tradition back to Phoenician navigators before the time of our Lord. So there was a Jewish colony there, which makes it doubly likely, you know, that Thomas himself or maybe someone else, you know, in the early Christian generations kind of went there, you know, because they had, as it were, family down there. They could go and, you know, and preach in the synagogue, as Paul did, and then go out and preach to the Greeks, that is, to the Hindus. So, well, that would mean, you know, there would be Christians around and that Christian doctrine might have kind of filtered into some of these texts. And it isn't unlikely. I mean, there are some texts, there are some texts which we are absolutely certain were influenced by Christianity, but these texts were most probably written in the 17th, 18th century, after the Portuguese came along and maybe the English came along, and they're called Puranas. There's even a Purana of Jesus. It talks about Jesus and that he really came to India and died in Pashmina. Utter nonsense, but still, you know,


it's a text and they try to push this back to the time of the apostles, but it's really, you know, it's really a fictitious composition which was made sometime under direct Christian influence, by a Hindu. But, so, you know, you wonder, and it's the same thing the fathers asked, you know, about Plato. They said, well, didn't he really, he must have read Moses, that is the Old Testament. He must have read the Old Testament, because he has so many good things in there. I mean, he couldn't possibly find these good things on his own. He had to have read the Old Testament. Well, probably. I think, I don't think Moses really, I don't think Plato read Moses. And I don't think that the author of the Gita read anything about Christianity or even the Old Testament, simply because I'm pretty much convinced, and I think there's good scholarly evidence, although I've not gone directly into the whole, you know, the whole difficult issue, it's something that, a conclusion I come to from reading what other people have done, with the text and with comparisons of what, one


thing or another, that the Gita must come from, like, about the third century before Christ. About the third century. Now, I like the period of the third century. Why? Well, because this was when Buddhism really started to take over in India, really started to take hold. And it took hold at the top. The emperor converted to Buddhism. The emperor's name was Ashoka. Ashoka. And he was a great man. He was an incredible human being. And he was a Hindu, and like a good Hindu, you know, he fought his battles and went off to war, and he conquered all of India, all the subcontinent, except there's a few little areas here and there, you know. And even these were kind of sacrifices of his empire, the Gupta empire. It was his father who started the empire, and he kind of consolidated it, you know, he's like Solomon, you know, in relationship to David. So here's this Indian Solomon,


and then he becomes a Buddhist, and he renounces war, and he puts up all these edicts, engraved on stone and mounted on columns, all throughout India. And these are among some of the earliest written texts. Now we know writing begins to be used in the 6th century B.C. in India. But they had such a strict oral discipline that the texts, which were not written down, were not even written down, you know, until recent times, were preserved much more accurately than the New Testament has been preserved, which was not transmitted by memory, but by paper, by parchment, by writing it down. And it's more dangerous to write something down than it is to memorize it, because the pen plays more tricks on you than does your memory. And this is something, you know, yes, ask Father David. Ask Father David, who wrote out, you know, writes out these books, 120 pages, you know. He made amazingly few mistakes, he was mortified by every mistake. I mean, you know, he said, I realize, you know, I


see these mistakes that I made, I found these mistakes, and then he made up a little card, you know, errata coriacea, you know, that they put in books, you know. And errata coriacea, he had another mistake, and I found it, you know. And he said, oh my goodness. But they're scribal errors, you know, because he had these rows in epsilon, you know, like this money in Greek. And he had these rows, you know how Greek is, and it has the X on the letters, you know, like this, and then it has, when you have a vowel at the beginning, it has this little thing called a breathing mark. And he had a whole series of epsilons here, you know, with what they call a soft breathing, you know. And then he had, you know, and this is heteros, it means friend. And it shouldn't have the hard breathing, but you know, he's just going down the line, he put a soft breathing. So that's, you know, that's a scribal error. Now that's, of course, nothing grave, because anyone can see, any dummy can see that, even


me. So, but, you know, scribes make these kind of errors. Whereas, when you have the kind of mnemonic discipline that they have there, they've had their, you know, from prehistoric times in India, and the Aryans, you know, with their Vedas, this kind of mnemonic, that is memory discipline, you just don't lose a syllable, because you memorize every syllable, and they get it down so they can read it off backwards, they can rattle it off backwards, starting with the last syllable, going to the first, and the whole thing, and the whole story, you know, starting with the last syllable, just by syllable, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta. And they've memorized two versions of every text, what is called the regular version, you know, which kind of links the words together. And there's all sorts of rules for linking words together, make it flow, make it musical, make it flow. And then there's, they have what they call the pada text, and pada means foot, and it refers to the single word, where each word is separated, and they memorize it twice, so that they can check from one to the other,


check from one to the other. Well, this is what they've been doing. So, anyway, and the Gita itself was not written down until after the time of Christ, but it was composed and committed to memory in its present form, most likely, three centuries, or 200, 250, 300, whatever, anyway. Ashoka, Ashoka, getting back to him, now he converted to Buddhism, and the Bhagavad Gita is a Hindu text. And I like to think that this Hindu text, this is the Hindu answer to the challenge of Buddhism, because it insists on many of those points of Hinduism, which are in seemingly most explicit and definite contrast with Buddhism. And it also insists that nonviolence isn't for everyone, you know. This is not a text which you read, you know, when you're thinking of nonviolence, and Gandhi and so forth. I mean, Gandhi read it, you know, and he liked a lot of it, and believed most of it, but as far as nonviolence, he got that from our Lord. He got that from the Sermon on the Mount. He didn't get it


from this, you know. He also got it from Buddhism, and Buddhism is nonviolent as a matter of doctrine, dogma, dharma, law, teaching, nonviolence, harm no living sentient being. Whereas the Hindus, the Hindus say, this is the Brahmapada, which is a Buddhist text, and it's not written in Sanskrit, it's written in Pali, which was kind of the popular language of the lower classes, the Sanskrit of the upper classes. I mean, Pali is to Sanskrit what Italian is to Latin, more or less. So this was written in Latin, Italian, this in Latin. And this is Buddhist, and this is sometime B.C. Not too much B.C. Maybe it's the same time, maybe these two things were written about the same time. You can compare them a lot. So if you want a Buddhist thing to read, that all the Buddhists go back to, and all the Buddhists love, read this, Dhammapada. And if this, you know, if this is something like the Song of Songs, the Gita, it's a poem of love. I mean, it's a poem of divine love, and it's


more explicitly, you know, supernatural, that is, you know, God who comes down and expresses love for his creatures. Whereas the, you know, it's all under this kind of veil, metaphorical veil in the catechol, in the Bible. Or like, for instance, the stories of Elijah and Elijah, you know, discipleship and so forth. Or even like the Gospel, a little bit. This is the Book of Proverbs, the Book of Proverbs. This is all the way through. But this is also easy reading. He who says what is not, goes to hell. He also who, having done a thing, says I have not done it. He goes to hell too. After death, both are equal. There are men with evil deeds in the next world. Doesn't matter whether you did it or not, you're still going to hell. Many men whose shoulders are covered with the yellow robe, you know who those are, are of bad character and unrestrained. Such evildoers by the evil deeds go to hell. All these monks are going to hell. Better it would be to swallow a heated iron ball, like flaring fire, than to live a bad unrestrained fellow on the charity of the land. In other words,


a phony monk is about the worst, you know, it's better to swallow what is swallowable to iron, you know. Four things befall the heedless man who courts his neighbor's wife. First, acquisition of demerit. Secondly, an uncomfortable bed. Thirdly, evil report, and lastly, hell. This is delightful stuff. And this is just plain old Proverbs and most of it is good. You know, you can just take it on the face value of it. And then of course they put in a little bit of Buddhism, you know, straight Buddhism here, and then that you have to take with a grain of salt. But anyway, it's still good reading. I've never used this translation but it's got to be pretty good. I mean, you know, it looks, it's enjoyable reading, and then it has an article here on Buddha and the oxen. I don't know if that's worth reading. There's a book by, who was it, Henri de Lubin, about Buddhism and the West. I don't know


if it's translated into English, but it's in French. So here's the Bhagavad Gita, and this you have in the library. You have other translations too. You have that one, you know, the Hare Krishna group, which is a translation I suppose is not too bad, but it's not too good either. And it has a commentary of this kind of doctrine there. And this is the Gita with the notes compiled from Sri Aurobindo's essays in the Gita. Aurobindo was a Bengali philosopher who died in 1950. And he was quite a man. He's sometimes considered the best Indian philosopher of the century. And he was also a guru, and he was also, you know, a wise man, and a yogi, and a man of experience and everything. So, I guess, this of course, I have not studied this either. There's a whole lot of things I haven't studied. I mean, I'm not that much of an expert. But this is maybe a good addition to you. So, here's


the challenge of Buddhism. Here's maybe the answer. If you want to know something about Hinduism and Buddhism, and read easy things, which then when you talk to Buddhists you say, I read the Dhammapada. And they say, oh great! You couldn't have read anything better. And you talk to a Hindu, I read the Gita. And he says, wonderful! You couldn't have read anything better. So, these, you can be sure of these. And now, what is the Gita about? I love this book. Let me read the thing that I love the most. Let me see if I can find my verses. All right. Now, this is in the last chapter. And what it starts with? It starts with this soldier. He's a prince. He's lined up, the battle lines are set. You know, there's his cousins across the battlefield. And he's on the other side. And he has a charioteer. A black man. Who's this black man? Well, he's really God. And


how do we know he's black? Because his name means black. Krishna means black. Arjuna means white. So, and it's all playing on words. Arjuna Arya. You know, an Aryan. And the black man, he represents this prehistoric civilization that was there in India. And which got wiped out by the Aryans. But not really wiped out, because they went off in the forest. Their wives went off in the forest. And they stayed there. They fled and went down south. Southern India. They're what we call the Dravidians today. Black-skinned, real dark-skinned, you know, chocolate-skinned Caucasians that you find down in southern India, like Father Rubella. Have you ever seen a picture of him? He was kind of of this race. A lot of them became Christians later, centuries following. So, anyway, the Aryans, you know. So Arjuna as the Aryan. And this black guy represents, he's in a position of servility, although


in the epic, you know, he's represented as, well, first of all, a divinity. Then also as a prince. A prince of the dark-skinned peoples. But he's in a subservient relationship to Arjuna. Arjuna, don't say it by Juna. It's Arjuna. Arjuna. And Arjuna is the, you know, he turns to his charioteer for advice, you know. Advice of a friend, of a companion, you know. The guy who, his chauffeur, you know, drives his chariot. And then, you know, as the story goes on, and pretty soon, you know, he comes to realize, well, I mean, the tables have turned here. Who's in charge? Well, Krishna's in charge. He's becoming the guru. He's becoming the master. And then he goes on a little farther and he says, wait a minute here, you know. This isn't a man. This isn't just any guy. This is God. And he has this marvelous vision, chapter 11. Magnificent theophany. Where he suddenly sees


and at the end, you know, his hair is standing on end. He has goosebumps all over him. He says, for heaven's sake, Krishna, come back to earth. I mean, I can't stand this anymore. I've seen God. I'm going to die if you keep this up. So he comes back and he goes on with the dialogue. Well, it starts with a scruple. I mean, and it's really a well-founded scruple. And you might say it's a scruple of a Hindu whose kind of Buddhist preaching has gotten to him. And the Buddhists, you know, say you're not supposed to kill people or anything. And here we are. We're setting up for battle. And these are not only, I mean, this is human life, but this is also, you know, relatives that we're going to go out and shoot our arrows at. And so he has this deep scruple. Well, here in the Gita, it's Arjuna. And in the whole epic, it's Arjuna's relative, his brother Yudhisthira, who is the real scrupulous


one. And he ends up just cursing the gods, saying, I'd rather go to hell with my dog who at least loves me. He doesn't harm anyone. He doesn't harm me. I'd rather go to hell with a dog than go to heaven with the gods. Well, he ends up, they finally get him to convince him. But he didn't want to kill anyone. And so, well, here it is, Arjuna has this scruple. He doesn't want to kill anyone. And so Krishna is trying to convince him to kill the guys, you know, kill them all, because they're really, you know, they've got to be killed anyway. The gods have decided this, you know. The gods have decided this. And you've got to go ahead and kill them. You've got to do your thing. You are a prince, and the job of the prince is to wage war and to, you know, acquire territory and dominate and rule and lord it over. And so you just go ahead and do this, because this is what is going to save you. But you've got to do it in a certain way. How do you do it? How do


you do your thing? Without being attached to the fruits of your actions. This is the big solution. This is the solution that Krishna throws at him. You might not like to do it, but you've got to do it anyway. You've got to do it anyway. And if you've got to do it, how are you going to come out of this with a clean soul? How are you going to be saved and liberated, you know? Because if you get into this, you get karma. You've heard of karma, haven't you? Karma, it means action, but it means, you know, the effects, the cause and effect relation. Everything is very mechanical in Indian morality. You do something wrong and it's going to hit you. It's going to get back to you, whenever. That's why you've got to keep getting reborn, you know, because it might get to you in time. But it's got to get back to you, and when it gets back to you, then it hits you. And you have to bear this burden until you've kind of worked it out, and you've worked out your system. This retribution is entirely mechanical. It's a very tragic view of existence, but


this is it. This is what the Indian worldview is. It's all cyclic, it's all determined. You do one thing and you get hit with it in the end. Whether now or later, but you always get hit with it. And good and bad things? Well, good and bad things, too. But the good things, in other words, this all goes back to the works of religion, or the religion of works. And then when you get the Buddhists and we get the yogis, and the yogis say, not only are you going to get hit with your bad deeds, like killing someone, or adultery, or anything like that, but you're also going to get hit with all the sacrifices you offer, all the ceremonies you go through, all the prayers you say to these gods. Because why did you do this? Why did you offer the sacrifices? Why did you say the prayer? Because you wanted male children. You wanted more cows. You wanted a fruitful harvest. You wanted a pretty wife. Because you wanted all these things. Or maybe you wanted paradise. You wanted to go to heaven. So you said all these prayers and offered


all these things. You're going to get hit with this. Heaven is not enough for the real spiritual man in Indian culture. And he discovers, you know, heaven is partial, too. It's something more than heaven. You want something more than heaven. But wanting without wanting. But anyway, this purification of desire. And Krishna says, it's all right, go ahead and kill. The secret, the thing that you've got to do is simply renounce the fruits of your action. Now, first of all, he states this. There's a magnificent pedagogy here. He goes through it very gradually. And he says, first of all, just do it in a very philosophical way. Detach yourself from the fruits. That means they won't hit you in the end. Everything is a boon, right? This won't come back. If you renounce it when you're doing it, let the arrow fly. And it's no longer you that's using the bow. The bow shoots the arrow. The


point of the arrow kills the guy. But you don't have anything to do with it. You're detached. You've got an act of will, an act of renunciation. Then he says, not only this, but you have to meditate. You have to meditate to get to this point where you can do it, you know? Where you can shoot the arrow without making karma for yourself. And this is the kind of second phase. And then you've got to think of me. You've got to think of me. This is Christian talk. God, that is. Black God. Slave God. You know, he's a slave in the form of a slave. Beautiful. And charity and all this. So he says, you know, think of me. In other words, you have this idea of me. You have this example. Exemplary causality. God as an exemplary cause. Just think about it. He's out there. He doesn't do anything with you, but he just, you know, just looks at you. Beautiful. Perfect. Unsullied by this world. Unsullied by the actions he does, you know? He says, if I didn't act, this world wouldn't exist. I mean, I'm carrying it all around. Around with me, you know? He says,


I'm doing all these things that are happening here. I'm in every little atom. I'm keeping them going. I mean, if I pulled out the plugs, you know, everything would fall into the abyss. So I'm the one who's keeping it going. So since I'm the one who's doing it, what are you going to do? You meditate enough on me, and you realize this, and it doesn't matter. You shoot an arrow. Shoot it. I mean, it hits the guy. Shoot it. It's all okay. Because Krishna did it, you know? He's in the arrow. He's in the bow. He's in you. He's in your body. In the other guy's body. I mean, the body over there doesn't matter anything, because he's going to get another body over there. Because, you know, he's a spirit. He's a spirit. His essence is in the spirit. So it doesn't matter. He loses his body, gets another one. The same with you. You're going to lose this body and get another one. Same with me, Krishna. I lose this body, I get another one. But I don't do it because someone shoots an arrow at me. Well, he does get an arrow shot at the end of the story that is in the whole epic. Krishna gets this arrow shot into him. But the gothic gets killed. That's a nice thing. But Krishna isn't really too nice in that epic, so I don't recommend to choose


that as an example. But anyway, so it doesn't matter, because I, Krishna, you know, every time things start going wrong on earth, I come down. I get incarnated. I get involved. And then I set things right. I go around. I teach the right people. You know, I make contacts, you know, with the leaders. And then they, you know, they start doing things right. And they organize things a little better. And then I go on my merry way back down to my purpose. Well, that's the second stage. Don't meditate on me. Think about me, you know, because I'm the one who's here doing that. And then there's another stage. Just love me. Don't think about arrows and war and your body and anything else. Forget about all that. Just love me, because I'm worth loving. And really, you know, he says, you know, when you come right down here, everyone loves me. Anyone who does anything with good intention really loves me. Anyone who goes around, he offers a fruit, a flower, a leaf, anything, he offers to whatever divinity that comes to meet. That's also a beautiful thing.


So, the essence of life, I mean, what we're here for, what you're here for, you and everyone else, you know, the slave, the woman, who's worse than a slave, the dog, you know, or the untouchable, who's worse than a dog. All these people, I mean, they come to me. They know the meaning of their life. I mean, whatever they are, I mean, they're an untouchable. So, what does it matter? They love me. They're satisfied. That's all there is, really, that there is to think about. All right, we're making progress here. Then he comes to the last chapter, and here he finally, you know, he finally tells the whole story. I mean, all of the... And let me read these. So, have I expounded to thee a knowledge more secret than that which is hidden, that is, the secretest of the secrets? Having reflected on it fully, do as thou wouldst. You know, you learn this, then do whatever you want. Further, hear the most secret, the supreme


word, that I shall speak to thee. Now, this is, you know, he's going to let on the real, you know, what is most secret, it's most secretest secret, I shall speak to thee. Now, this translation, I mean, it's no good because it's so old-fashioned English, but let me read it the way it is here, and then you'll understand. I mean, you can understand it, but it should hit you between the eyes. This is Krishna's arrow. Beloved art thou intimately of me, therefore will I speak for thy good. Beloved art thou intimately of me, therefore will I speak for thy good. Nothing surprising about that. I mean, any Christian would say, well, that's very obvious, God loves man. Sure. It wasn't obvious for those people in that time. This was a real new thing, a new word, good news. Finally, someone came along and told them


that God loves humankind, men and women, and untouchables. God loves them. And then he goes on to say, in a kind of funny translation, okay, we'll just take it as it is, become my-minded. That's literal. In other words, with your mind wholly centered on me. My lover and adorer, a sacrificer to me, bow thyself to me. To me thou shalt come. This is my pledge and promise to thee, for dear art thou to me. You are my friend. Beloved. Abandon all dharmas. And dharma, you know, is a key word of Buddhism, but it's a key word of Hinduism


too. Law. You might say the religion of works, the righteousness of works. Or you can also translate it, all essences, anything conceptual. But I think, I mean, it's very concrete. Forget about all these religious things. Forget about religion and think about God. Come to take refuge in me alone. Now here's the answer to the Buddhist challenge. He takes these vows. Buddham saranam gacchami. Have you ever heard them sing, you know? Dhammam saranam gacchami. Sangham saranam gacchami. Saranam means refuge. Buddham, it's the accusative, you know, where you're going, you know, gacchami, it's gunma, which we have in English, come, you know. So I go for refuge to Buddha. I go for refuge to dhamma, to the law, dharma.


It's, you know, dhamma is Pali, and dharma in Sanskrit is the same word, you know. I go for refuge to the sangham, because the sangham is the fellowship of the monks. I take refuge in them. Whether you join them or give food to them or something like that, you take refuge in them. And here he says, no, none of this. Take refuge in God, in the personal God. And the fact that God is personal is made very clear, you know, along here, especially in chapter 11, which is this magnificent theophany. And it goes into a different kind of poetry, and it's very, very beautiful stuff. But anyway, here he says, abandon all dharmas and take refuge in me alone. I will deliver thee from all sin and evil. Do not grieve, do not fear. And this is language, I mean, this just comes straight out of the Old Testament, straight out of the Prophets, you know. The prophetic vocation where he says, you know, fear not, I will deliver you. Fear not, is the word of God. Hear my word, do not fear,


I will save you, because I love you. Never is this to be spoken by thee to one without ascices, without asceticism, in other words, who isn't going to be converted. Not to one that is not devoted, not to him who does no service, nor yet to him who despises and belittles me lost in this human body. He who without, no, he who with the highest devotion for me shall declare this supreme secret among my devotees, without doubt he shall come to me. In other words, this is something more. You're not interested in salvation only for yourself. I mean, once you receive this secret, you've got to communicate it. You've got to go and tell the good news to everyone else. But not to those people, in other words, don't throw your pearls before swine. Don't talk about this when you know, you know, they're not going to listen to you. And there is none among men that does more than he what is most


dear to me. That is, does more than he who, you know, proclaims this word. None that is more dear to me. And there will be none else dearer to me in the world. And he who shall study the sacred discourse of ours, by him I shall be worshipped with the sacrifice of knowledge. The man who also, full of faith and uncarping, listens to this, even he, being liberated, attains to the happy worlds of the righteousness. Hath this been heard by thee, O son of Pritholet Arjuna, with a concentrated mind? Has thy delusion caused by ignorance been destroyed? Arjuna said, Destroyed is my delusion. I have regained memory through thy grace, O infallible one. I am firm, dispelled are my doubts. I have acted according to thy word. Go out and fight those guys. And then the scribe here adds the final, final verse, you know, Wherever is Krishna, the


master of yoga, wherever is Partha, the archer, assured are their glory, victory and prosperity. And there also is the immovable law of right and wrong. So this is something that took place, maybe, who knows when, but wherever, you know, this story is told and wherever this good news is proclaimed, Krishna and Arjuna are there, the story is, you know, the whole thing comes alive again and all of the good that flows from this comes through. Now, naturally, what I'm doing, you know, I'm giving this a little bit of a slant, which of course slants in the direction of Christianity, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. It's not bad exegesis. It's not, it's not kind of, it's not a distortion of the text. Because I understand a lot more about what it means, you know, I as a Christian, we as Christians, understand a lot better, a lot more about what it means, God loves us. But if you, if you really, you know, think about it, this is a, this is an amazing


bombshell. And it's things that have never been said before, that have never been thought of before, finally get said. And they get said in India. And this is why the Gita is now, you know, really the gospel of Hinduism. And I think there is good news here. And I don't know how, because, you know, it poses a theological problem, where God, you know, really intervenes in some of these, you know, these non-Christian religions, and drops a little seed of his word, and gives a little revelation there. Because I don't think what is said here, and there are of course other verses that support this idea, I don't think that what is said here can be known by purely philosophical reasoning. It's not myths, it's not legends, it's not philosophy, this is divine revelation. To know that there is a personal God who loves man personally, and who will save man, you know, when man takes


refuge in him. Well anyway, that's about the Gita. Are there any questions? Do we want to talk about anything else in relation to the inter-religious dialogue? Anything like meditation or yoga? Now, in the Gita also they talk a lot about yoga, and they talk a little bit in the Dhammapada about yoga, and then they have also, you know, all these different texts about yoga. But the kind of yoga here, you know, sometimes people ask me, well, do you practice yoga? You know, you've studied all this, and you've read all these books, I mean, what do you put into practice? And this is becoming more and more embarrassing, because, I mean, I don't know exactly how to answer. Because I don't do too much of the techniques. I've done some of the techniques, you know, I've


practiced them, and hatha yoga, that means all the postures, you know, standing on your head, and then kriya yoga, you know, which Paramahansa Yogananda propagated in California in the West, you know. And then other kinds of, I mean, that's just part of the whole range of Tantric yoga, and it fits into Tantric yoga, the kriya yoga of Paramahansa Yogananda. So, you know, I practice these things and use them in meditation. I suppose they did use them. But I don't see much use for techniques anymore in meditation. And yet, on the other hand, I find myself using some kinds of techniques and things, you know, that kind of come spontaneously. But I'm pretty convinced that when you go into what the Gita says about yoga, and what a lot of other texts say about yoga, you can discover that a lot of Hindus and Buddhists came to the conclusion that you can be a yogi without any technique at all. And maybe the best yoga is yoga without technique. And in fact, at a certain point, technique becomes


an impediment to yoga. And it doesn't mean just sitting around doing nothing. It means meditating, but something else takes over. And then, of course, you have in Hinduism, explicitly, and you have in Buddhism sometimes implicitly, a doctrine very similar to what we call grace. In other words, the idea of God's energy that comes into me and does something in me that is over and beyond what I could do by myself. And that this is really, you know, this is really when you're starting to make progress. And this happens. When you stop doing the thing, and God or Shakti or divine energy comes in and starts doing it. And maybe that's the kind of yoga that I think has meaning something to me personally. But really, you know, Christian yoga. I mean, Christians, you know, I mean, it's nothing


against the law to sit cross-legged on the floor, you know? Nothing against the law to stand on your head. Nothing against the law to breathe in and out in a certain way and make certain vowel sounds as you breathe and so forth. You know what this is. It doesn't, you know, there's nothing against the law. You can do it, sure, and maybe it's healthy and maybe even help you concentrate your mind. Yeah, well, Brother Phillip, you probably would think, you know, you've got something wrong with your throat here with all this wheezing and this E's and O's coming out, you know? So, I mean, you know, if you just take it for what it is, you know, it's neutral. It can be negative, you know, where you get so hung up on it and you say, this is all I want. And that's really when it becomes bad. Or when you get into something that is demonic. That's a probability. I don't think anyone should get too scared of the devil. I don't think any real Christian should not be afraid of the devil. Because God comes into our lives and says, fear not, I will save you. I have saved you. Fear not, little


flock, I have overcome the world and the devil and everything else negative. He is the victor. He has chained the devil. But still, you know, there are these malign forces that are operating on invisible levels, invisible wavelengths. And part of where people get really messed up in meditation, some kinds of meditation, when they don't have any guide, and they don't let themselves be guided by the spirit of God, and get some other kind of spirit that leads them around, who shows them a lot of pretty pictures, you know? And in the Bible they say, you know, about Satan appearing as an angel of light. And he does this. And you can see all sorts of pretty pictures. And it's not God. It may be something that goes on in your brain. Of course, the brain produces light, it produces sound, it produces all sorts of, you know, all sorts of psychedelic things. Now they know that there are actually


morphine-like substances that are produced in the brain. And I suppose a certain kind of meditation, a certain kind of yoga, can just get these juices flowing, and you really have a natural high. That's not what we're looking for. And that's really, you know, where you're getting off the track, when you get into that. So, it had nothing to do with technique, and just, you know, just be quiet and be a little child, and just take things from God, and pour them into your life. Question from the audience Question from the audience


Question from the audience Question from the audience Question from the audience Yeah. And you know, you just read the Gita, and the Gita doesn't talk about techniques.


Because where it's aiming at, sure, it suggests that you sit quietly in a cool, dry place, you know, and concentrate your mind. But it is devotion to the living God that is meditation. It is the warmth of the heart. It is love. And then everything you do becomes a meditation. I mean, you go into the battle of it, you know, into the blood and sweat and tears of the battle, and of course the battle then ends up being symbolic of life itself. I mean, that's what it is, you know, it's like the Song of Songs, it uses the marriage symbolism, the nuptial symbolism, and that's a metaphor, an extended metaphor, and so the battle there is an extended metaphor. That's what the Gita says, you know, if you want to believe, go to the sources. So all of this, the rest of this derivative Hinduism, an Americanized Hinduism,


and I think maybe Yogananda was a lot freer than he let his disciples be as far as techniques are concerned. He was very dogmatic about Kriya Yoga, and then his followers, you know, set up all of this organization and got this SRF thing going, where, you know, you can't change one little thing, you know. But it doesn't matter whether you use E or A, you can use U and I if you want, you know. It doesn't make any difference because you find the same techniques in Tantric texts, and they'll use these vowels and use other vowels. And then they have all of the mantras, om namo bhagavate yasudhya devaya. Now this is from the, whatchamacallit, from the Bhagavata Purana, and it's used in all these different schools, you know, and they use this mantra. I mean, Yogananda didn't invent it, and his gurus didn't discover it, and that's, you know.


But then he comes over here and says, you know, you've got to do this, you know, everything's got to be pronounced this way and done that way, and that's also dogmatic. Whereas, you know, you go back to Hinduism, the real thing, and it says, well, no, of course not, we're very free about it, you know. Use it, it's a discipline, you know, it's hard work, but you get into the discipline and then you get out of it. That's the point. I mean, you're supposed to get out of the techniques. You're supposed to let them drop, and that's what the guru's there for, you know, not to let you start with the techniques. I mean, look at that, read the story of Milarepa. That's Buddhist, but it's also very much the yoga and the initiation, you know, guru-disciple relationship. It's very clear, they like Milarepa. So Milarepa goes to his master, Marpa, and Marpa doesn't start by teaching him any techniques. He doesn't even let him meditate. He says, go off and build a tower. Build a square tower. Then he comes back and says, Master, I built a square tower. No, knock it down, I don't want a square tower. It's like Yogananda with his swimming pool. Knock it down, I don't want a square tower, I want a triangular tower.


He goes off and builds a triangular tower. He comes back, Master, I built a triangular tower. No, knock it down, I don't want a triangular tower. Build a round one. Okay, knock it down, build a round one. Come back, Master, I built a round tower. No, no, I don't want this, build one that's octagonal. Of course, what these are, they're the shapes that correspond to the elements, and then they correspond to the chakras, you know. And so he was learning yoga and he didn't know it, you know. But the master knew it. He wasn't ready to sit down and meditate on the squares and the circles and the stars and everything, you know, that are up and down the spine. He wasn't ready for that. He had to sweat it out of himself by building those towers and knocking down the stones. And finally, when he got beyond the stones, he'd get beyond his own body, too. But if he got into his body and just, you know, got all tied up with these octagons and everything else that's inside, then he'd really be lost. He'd never get anywhere.


I mean, all of these things, they've got to be broken down. So this is what the real guru does. He's not there to teach you techniques. He's there to give you faith, give you something to hope, give you something to hang on to. He says, I made it, you can make it, too. That's all the guru is supposed to really tell you. That's what the guru is for within the Hindu, the Indian context. Anyone can teach you techniques. You can get them from books. Because, I mean, why did they write them down? Because that's not what the guru was for. Of course, in the books they say, well, don't do any of this thing unless you have a guru. Because the Hindu doctrine, the Buddhist doctrine, and the yoga doctrine, the real yoga, real Kriya yoga, is don't get hung up on techniques for heaven's sake. This is the worst thing. This is anti-yoga. This will ruin you. Be free, be spontaneous. And then, you know, the Shakti will come. But, of course, we Christians, we know that it's all in his prayer,


the devotion of the heart, his invocation of the Lord Jesus, praise of the Holy Trinity, right praise. And who does this? The Holy Spirit. The divine energies are the personal presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we can especially ascribe to the Holy Spirit this function in prayer. Because the whole Trinity is there in our soul. But, you know, we apply to the Holy Spirit, attribute to the Holy Spirit. It's the divine energy that works in us. And we come out with a prayer too deep for words. Groanings, you know, beyond all expression. As it says in Romans chapter 8. Sighs too deep for words. Groanings beyond all expression. And we do not know how to praise God, so the Holy Spirit takes over. That's what it is. So, I mean, you don't need any techniques then. So, yoga. What is yoga for the Christian? Well, I like to think of it, it's just what Jesus did on the cross.


His holy passion for death and resurrection. This is yoga, you know. I mean, he, you know, the giving of the Spirit. This giving forth of the Spirit. He gave up the ghost, you know. The old translation, he gave up the ghost. Which means he gave up the Holy Ghost. In other words, he gave over the Spirit. There's a pun, it's really a pun in St. John's Gospel. It talks about the last breath of Jesus. And that's our pranayama. That is our breath of Jesus. We may do other things, you know. Breathing, discipline of breathing and quiet it down. Get it rhythmic and line it up with a prayer. Or line it up with E's and O's and O's, whatever you want to. But this, you know, you're just getting started here. And you don't stick with the primer when you're in the twelfth grade. When you're in college. So, do this and then stop that. And then get into the real breath exercise.


This will take your breath away. This is breathtaking. This will really... Because when you enter into the meaning of the passion, you know. And here he is, you know, Mandala. What kind of Mandala do you need? Even at the cross, you know. This man was there, you know, with his arms extended, you know. He stretched forth his arms on the cross. Which means he embraced the universe. All of the cosmic dimensions. And it's all there centered on the heart of Jesus. And then, you know, we are to ascend with him, you know. It's not the chakras and the body. The chakras and the body might have something to do with it. There might even be a scientific basis for all this talk about prana. You know, this vital energy, you know. That's somewhere between the physical and the psychic, you know. I don't reject this. This is a possible hypothesis. And I think scientifically there might be some basis for it, you know. There might be this current that goes up and down this body. Well, I've felt things. You know, I've done these techniques. And still, you know, when I pay attention to it, I can still feel the things going up and down.


But, you know, this is, again, this is something that will happen. It's not necessary to get tied up with it. And you can get fooled with it. Because anything can cause this. So there might be some connection. But the point of it, where you really, you know, this ascending, is in the Johannine concept of the paschal mystery. This continual ascending movement of Jesus, as we have in St. John's Gospel, you know. As the serpent was lifted up in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. This lifting up, you know, is being nailed to the cross. But that's already ascending to the Father. He's already detached from the earth. Up he goes, into the Father. And then the Spirit comes back down, into our hearts. It always ends at the heart. This is something, you know, where I don't think Yogananda quite got to the conclusion of it.


You know, because he said, well, raise it up and let it down again. Raise it up and let it down again. But no, you're not supposed to do that. You find this, you know, the tantric texts say this. You do this for a while, you get it going. And you bring it down to the heart. This is where you belong. This is where you belong. So any, you know, yoga, I mean, once you get there, you don't need any more yoga. This is all that it's for, to get you there. To get your energies up into the mind, up into the brain, up into the psyche, up into the noose, and then bring the noose down into the heart. Bring it down to the heart. And stay there. Don't go anywhere. And then you're really doing yoga. But it's not a technique. This is not a technique, you know. And this is, of course, Christian doctrine from the very first. This is in the Old Testament, you know, in the Book of Proverbs. I've forgotten where it is in the Book of Proverbs, but I suppose I could look it up and take the time to confirm it. The breath of man is the lamp of Yahweh, searching his innermost viscera, viscera, bowels, you know,


the innermost heart, as they talk about the bowels, you know. There's this kind of, in the Japanese and sometimes, like the Semitic, you know, they move the heart down a little lower into the solar plexus. But the heart, you know, the heart is really this kind of, you might say, the hub of the human wheel, what they're talking about. So it's not only identified with the physical heart, but it's kind of this radiant center of the body, which is also a psychic reality. So anyway, you know, it says that the breath of man is the lamp of Yahweh, searching his innermost heart. And then Jesus said, you know, the light of the body is the eye. The eye is sound, a plus, that's non-dual, you know. The opposite is the plus, the plus, double, you know, divided.


And the idea being, you know, when your eyes are sick, you know, you see double and that sort of thing. So that if your eye is, they use the term single in the old King James Version. If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light. And Yogananda and these other Hindus are not so wrong in referring that to the symbolism of the third eye. They're not so wrong, because that is present in Christian theology, although they don't paint pictures of it, except the icon we have up there. If you look at it attentively, Jesus does have a third eye there. And so you can say, well, it's about the same thing, but the eye is really the eye of the heart. You're not supposed to see it. Bring it down here. But again, this is not technique. And in the very, very early spiritual writers, the earliest fathers, you have this doctrine of atlotis versus diplotis, you know.


Atlus, which is the eye, the single, single eye. And diplus, which is the double eye. And so you're looking for singleness, not doubleness. And the whole spiritual search is for singleness, singleness of heart, you see. In Psalm 85 in Greek, 86 in Hebrew, it says, in the standard version, which translates it literally, Unite my heart to fear your name. And then some of the translators translate it, direct my heart to fear your name. Well, why not just leave it? Unite my heart to fear your name. Unite. You bring all these energies, your natural, your creative energies, your bodily energies, your psychic energies, bring them all together, and God's energy will take over. And lead you beyond, beyond prayer itself. So it doesn't matter where you are, you're always there. You're always with God. He's in your heart. He's with you. He's everywhere. His center and circumference is one. But at the very best, Hindu mysticism and Buddhist, also to a certain extent, comes to this same conclusion.


So don't let anyone tell you, Yogananda or anyone else, or his disciples or anyone else, tell you that you've got to stick with the technique. It's just exactly what you shouldn't do. Try it. And then throw it away. Throw it away. Just, you know, it's like, like, like, like a paper knife. Exactly. Exactly. Right. Right. And that's an excellent sign. I like that. What yoga really should do is break down the automatisms, you know, that you have in your whole psychic life, in your whole mental and emotional life. These things that you just do automatically, that are over and beyond, you no longer have any control over them, whether it's breathing. You use the breath, you discipline the breath, you hold on to the breath, which doesn't mean holding it in, you know. You can hold on to the breath and still it goes in and out,


but it goes in and out slowly and makes long breaths or short breaths. Whatever you do with it, it doesn't matter what you do with it. Just so that you take, you make every breath, every moment, every phase of breathing a direct act of will. You can just do this a couple, two, three times, you don't have to spend all your meditation doing it. Just so you get the idea, you break out of the idea that you're doing anything automatically. You're dealing with personal relation here, you know. I mean, it's my hypostasis with those three divine hypostases. And here, no formalities are allowed. Otherwise, you know, you're setting up a barrier between you and God. And you're closing him out with your formalities. So, yoga works if it breaks down the automatisms. Your automatic emotional responses, your habitual quirks of mind and attitude and activity,


really breaks you down. And then you start doing something spiritual. Then you start really doing something spiritual. And what is the danger of the monastic life? To add one last word to that, What is the danger of the monastic life? That it builds up automatisms instead of breaking you down. It's exactly the opposite. Conformity. The kind of regularity which is taking refuge in monotony and mediocrity. And that's the real danger of monastic, institutionalized monasticism. So, let us pray to the Lord, Our Blessed Lady, who is about the freest creature who ever existed. Who really cooperated with the Holy Spirit. To make us detechnique ourselves and break down all of these automatic things we do.


And really be united to the Lord. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,