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Yoga. This is a repeat of NC 00450. Corinthinians. Body of the Lord.

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This morning about yoga and asceticism, and the question of Christian asceticism, and especially the relation of the mind and the body, which is so central in yoga. And I think a real problem which arises in our Christian tradition that we have emphasized the mind and the will so much, and then neglect the body and the senses. And I think this is one of the aspects in which the Oriental tradition has much to give us. That is why there is such an attraction all over the world today for yoga, also for certain meditative practices in Buddhism which emphasize this bodily aspect of man. Now in the New Testament we have really a wonderful basis for a genuine acceptance of the body. In St. Paul you have, of course, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.


You can't say anything more than that really. And then even more wonderfully in the letter to the Corinthians there is that saying, the body is not for fornication but for the Lord. I think that's very remarkable. The body is not for fornication, but that very same body with its sexual powers and all its energies is for the Lord. The body is for the Lord. And so our Christian asceticism of properties, and St. Paul has another beautiful phrase when he says, I beseech you, offer your bodies as a sacrifice acceptable to God, making it holy. The body is something which has to be made holy, consecrated to the Lord. So there's a wonderful base there. And St. Paul's anthropology, if you like to call it that, I find very important, of body, soul, and spirit, that man is a threefold body, soul, and spirit. The body is the physical organism which is related to the whole organism of nature.


The soul is the psychic organism, senses, feeling, imagination, reason, will, all this is a psychic organism. But beyond the body, beyond the soul, in St. Paul there is the pneuma, there is the spirit. And the spirit is the point of our communion with God. He says in one place, the spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. It's at that point of the spirit that we know ourselves as children of God, we're in this living relationship to God. And he makes a very clear distinction between the spirit of man and the spirit of God. No one knows what is in man but the spirit of man that is in him. No one knows what is in God but the spirit of God, and we have received the spirit of God, you see. So at that point of the spirit, that is our center, our personal center where we become fully personal human beings, and at the same time it's the point of our communion, our


openness, our reception of the Holy Spirit. So I find in that marvelous Christian anthropology and a whole basis for Christian asceticism. But unfortunately when the church came out into the Greco-Roman world, it was exposed to all the currents of thought there, particularly Stoicism and Platonism, and there the emphasis was very strongly on the mind as opposed to the body. Plato has the idea of the body being the tool, and Platonism of course very strongly asserts that the soul is the real person and it's not the body. And Stoicism emphasized very much that man is a rational being, and to live as a rational being was the whole aim of the Stoic, and to keep the body under, mustn't disturb the rational mind. And that had a big influence on the whole Christian tradition, and so that we, the bodily


aspect and the aspect of the senses, the imagination, was very much neglected, sometimes actually despised. And on the other hand, the intellect and the will, the spiritual paths were given almost the monopoly that was, with Christian asceticism, was in concentrating on the mind and the will. And in the Fathers of the Desert, of course, this is taken very far, this whole idea that you overcome the body. Mind you, there is in St. Paul that passage where he says, I buffet my body and keep it under, there is a certain balance there. But nevertheless, the balance is very great, I feel, in St. Paul. But in the Fathers of the Desert, obviously, there was among many a real antagonism to the body, the body was the enemy which had to be subdued. And of course, with the body goes the senses, you mustn't indulge your senses in any way. And so also with the imagination, which depends on the senses, so the concentration on the


mind and the will. And so all our tendency is in that direction, so that our Christian prayer is so much a prayer of the mind and the will, and scarcely involves the body in a very conscious sense at all. On the other hand, of course, there have been moderating influences. In the Fathers of the Desert, you have the great conference of St. Anthony on discretion. It's very interesting, and all these experiments were being made, and people went to all extremes. Remember, they met together to ask what was the end of monastic life. And some people said the Kingdom of God and so on, wonderful. Sorry, no, what is the end is the Kingdom of God and so on, but what is the essential means, and St. Anthony said it's discretion. Without that, you cannot succeed. So that had a very, very sobering influence on the Christian tradition. And Cassian, of course, was the book of Christian asceticism for centuries.


And then St. Benedict himself, of course, took Cassian as one of his guides. And had a very great moderating influence. Discretion is one of the great characteristics of the rule. So that the Benedictine tradition had a real moderation in it. But there was not still a real acceptance of the body. For instance, it always strikes me, St. Benedict, when he speaks of manual work, says, idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the mind should be occupied with work. But the idea that work is creative, that by the body exercising these powers is creative, that it's a means of union with God, that doesn't really come into the tradition. I think in practice, probably it did. But in theory, in the rule, it's not a part of it at all. So we have suffered, I think, from that neglect. And then when we come to the sort of the central Christian traditions and Augustine to St. Thomas, the whole concentration, really, is on intellect and the will.


See, for Augustine, with his strong platonic influence, St. Thomas with the Aristotelian. For both of them, the perfection of man is a perfection of the intellect and the will. Of course, in the Christian tradition, the intellect is illumined by faith. And then the will in charity influence the intellect so that you grow into wisdom. And of course, the will is filled with the charity, with the love of God himself. So there is a fundamental transformation of the person. But it concentrates on the intellect and the will. And the body, the senses, the imagination, are an appendage, really. There, St. Thomas never separated them as Descartes did. And Aristotle kept that the soul is the form of the body. So there is, again, a certain balance in St. Thomas. But all the emphasis is always on the intellect and the will, and the total subordination of the body, the senses, and the imagination. And that has been, I think, a basic tradition.


I was brought up in that from the beginning as a Benedictine monk. It was all the prayer life, contemplation, meditation was the exercise of the intellect and the will, and that transformation by grace. And of course, it's a marvelous doctrine that there'd be many saints, and John on the cross is typical, really, of that tradition. And I think it still goes on to the present day. But it neglects, you see, one half of human nature. And the results of it can be disastrous. And I think the reason is this, you know, that if you have a strong body, and if you have an integrated, a healthy psyche, then this kind of asceticism can be very effective. And that is why many saints have been made by this method of concentrating on the intellect and the will in prayer. But on the contrary, if you have a weak body or a weak psyche,


and most people today have very weak psyches, they're all mixed up, it can be absolutely disastrous, you see. It simply leads to neurosis and psychosis. If you concentrate on your intellect and your will, and you neglect your body and your feelings and your senses and your imagination, then you'll get a real split takes place, you see. And that, I think, is what we're suffering from today. That's why Christian asceticism is under the cloud to a large extent, and why yoga and Zen and Vipassana and so on, the Buddhist and the Hindu methods, are appealing to so many people, because they are the opposite. They start with the body, you see. And this, I feel, is really something we have to learn. It doesn't oppose the other, obviously. The intellect and the will and the transformation by grace is always valid, but the intellect is not separate, and the will from the body, from the senses, from the imagination. We are a total whole, and we have to recover our wholeness as human beings.


And we often say that we lack this human dimension, and in our monastic life, it's often happened, the human dimension has been lacking. I must say, in my experience, you know, and I think it's very common in Benedictine communities, it was extremely well balanced. We had the manual work, which meant you met with other brothers and you were sharing together and digging in the garden and gathering in the harvest potatoes or doing all this kind of work. And that created a marvelous balance in our lives. And then we had three hours always, every afternoon, and I couldn't have lived without that, I don't think. And we did every kind of work. Later time, we were always building, building cowshed at one time. Then we started building a new monastery, and I was mixing concrete for years. First of all, by hand, and then we had a machine. So I learned that aspect of life. And the other thing is that we had a very warm community. I know when I first went there, I was overwhelmed with the love I experienced.


And all through the 20 years and more that I lived there, I always found this tremendous support in a warm human community. That's not always so, you see, and if you neglect that, it can be very harmful. So I do feel that very often in the Benedictine tradition, that we have preserved a certain harmony, but we've not given the proper, theoretically, you see, we were never taught that the body is important in manual work. It was simply something you had to do, the living of the monastery, but part of the rule. But you were never taught the real value of the body and bodily activity and artistic activity. You see, we made vestments, we made stained glass, and some of them did some beautiful sculpture, but it was not part of the theory of the monastic life. And even this question of friendships, it was always the questions, you know, particular friendships. And we were all very delighted when we came across St. Elwitt's book on Christian friendship,


which is very remarkable, you know, he had this extraordinary love for his brethren, it was really astounding. And that was a very real element, I think, in the Middle Ages. But of course, in practice, but in theory, you were always being directed above the senses, beyond the emotions, beyond all that aspect of life. So that, I feel, is the problem, you see. And this is where I feel the Oriental tradition is of real value to us. And in my perspective, I have to say continually, you know, I do believe the Church is at this point in history where she needs the Oriental tradition. She came into the Roman Empire and she absorbed this Greco-Roman tradition, you see, into the Semitic. And that built up the Church on this Greco-Roman tradition with its asceticism, with its intellectualism, and with its Christian context, with the charity of the will. But it neglected this other side,


the body, the sex, the senses, and the imagination. Now, when we turn to yoga in India, we find the opposite, really, you see, that you begin with the body. When you learn to meditate, the first thing to do is to learn how to sit. And we were never taught that, were we? I mean, kneeling was considered the normal attitude in prayer. Well, that's the worst attitude for meditation. It's an attitude of tension. It's good for petition, for penance, and so on. But for meditation and contemplation, for experiencing the presence of God, it's the most difficult way you can do, and most, for many people, impossible. And on the other hand, to sit is a great art, you see. To be able to sit in total harmony, that is the aim of yoga, to bring the whole body into a total harmony. There are, of course, innumerable exercises which you can do, all these asanas, which are very effective, and many people find them extremely helpful.


Some find them essential. Many get that balance in their life through practicing simply the yoga exercises. But they're all help towards getting a correct asana, a correct position. And here, I would say, it's not necessary to sit on the floor and to be cross-legged. That's supposed to be the ideal position, Padmasana. The body is supposed to be in the most perfect harmony, everything is integrated, and you should be able to sit in three hours in Padmasana without moving, and then you're really stabilized in yoga, you see. But not everybody can do that. But in practice, if you sit on a chair upright, it's a perfectly good yogic position, you see, to sit with the hands on the knees and to be totally relaxed and firm, you see, is the point. But the body must be relaxed, and you should become aware of the body, aware of your hands on your thighs, aware of... I'm always tending to arch the shoulders like that. You have to learn how to put the shoulders down and so on. You learn so much from your body,


and the body influences the mind, you see. Again, we're learning today about medicine that all disease is psychosomatic, and half the disease, or no, nearly all the diseases people have are due to a disharmony between body and soul, you see. And what goes on in the mind produces its effects in the body, even cancer, you see, there is often simply an effect of some psychological problem, and people have been totally cured of cancer through psychological release. So the body is affecting the mind all the time, and the mind is affecting the body. And if we learn to sit in this basic position, relaxed and firm, and they do say the head, the neck, and the spine should be upright, you know, gives one a proper balance of the body, and they say it also harmonizes you with the cosmos. They say the spine, you see, in man is like the pillar of the universe. We're all related to the whole cosmos,


and when we're upright like that, we're centered, centered in the whole cosmos on all these energies in the cosmos, are being received in a harmonious way, and not coming and disrupting us, you see. So that is the first thing, this asana, this sitting. And I would never dream for years and years and years now that's been my practice to sit in that way. And then the next thing is the breathing. We never, never have any teaching about breathing, though in the Orthodox Church, you see, you did have the connecting the breathing with the Jesus prayer, but it wasn't very much developed. But again, in yoga, this is absolutely fundamental that you must connect your breathing with the whole rhythm of the body, and that again is going to affect your mind. As the breathing becomes calm and regular, so the mind becomes calm. And again, pranayama, the control of the breathing is a tremendous art,


and there are innumerable ways of using it, some of which are very dangerous. Always emphasize that. You see, when you begin to breathe in particular ways, and for a long time, you open up the whole of your unconscious, you know. You see Stan Grof at Esalen now, he is using this method simply of breathing for two and a half hours, and it's extraordinary the effects on it. The whole of the unconscious opens up. All people's past comes up, and all their problems, but also tremendous creative forces come up from them. So this breathing is for the Orientalism a key thing there, you see. And for us, a very simple way, you see, simply to sit, and then to breathe from the abdomen, they always say, from the base of your lungs, you see. They say most people only breathe from the chest, and you only use half your lungs. And if you breathe from the base, and you can put your hand on your abdomen


and feel it coming out as you begin to breathe, you see, from there, and then from the chest, and then from the upper chest, you see, the breath from the upper lung. The whole lung should be filled, you see. Physically, that means you're filled with oxygen, and you get rid, when you breathe out, you get rid of all the carbon dioxide. Otherwise, you leave the poisonous gas inside, you see. So from the physical level, this is important. From the psychological level, it's incalculable, really, the effects of breathing. And this is really something we're just beginning to learn. Stan Grof gave me some of his papers and his books, and he's doing a tremendous work on this down there, you know. People are learning how this breathing can transform your personality. It's so neat. So, but even on the most simple level, when you learn to breathe quietly and regularly, then this harmony of the body and the harmony of the mind, and yoga is harmony, you see. It's the root is yuj, to unite, to yoke.


And it means harmonizing the body and harmonizing the soul, a psychosomatic organism. So all that split is removed, you see. You're not an intellect and a will attached to a body or a body attached to a soul like that, but you are an integrated whole. Your body is your self, in a sense, you see. The body is your self. And this is the Christian doctrine. It's so strange that we neglected it, you see. For us, the human person is the body's soul. It's not the self. Apart from the body or the body, it's the body's soul. And so as you sit and as you breathe, you begin to experience this inner harmony. And then the next thing which we always use is the mantra. And that is some words. We use the Jesus prayer, you see. And for me, that is the focus. You sit, you breathe, and with the breathing, you repeat the Jesus prayer. In any form, the word, name of Jesus,


or what Brother Emerald does, in our ashram does, is Yesu Abba. And many find that very good. Yesu is we breathe in, Abba, Father, is we breathe out. And that creates, and you try to realize that you're breathing in the Holy Spirit. See, the Holy Spirit is present everywhere, in the air and everything. You breathe in the Holy Spirit and you offer everything through Jesus to the Father. So it creates that kind of rhythm back there. So this is, you see, a prayer which engages the whole person. And I should be total in that way. So those are the three basic things. Now, this teaching all comes through what's called the tantra. And after the Vedas, who had a very creative period, the Vedas and the Upanishads are still somewhat, their focus is always on realizing yourself. And here is a point there, actually. You see, even in the Upanishads, it's not the intellect and the will. It is that which is the Atman, the spirit,


in which the intellect and the will are centered. It's the center beyond. They're the faculties, but this is the center. And in the tradition of the Vedas, you're trying to find, you can use your, find your center, but you use not only your intellect and your will, but your body, your senses, your whole person, you see, to integrate the person at that point of the spirit. And that is what medieval theologian called the substance of the soul. Beyond these faculties is the substance. And in meditation, in contemplation, we have to discover the substance, the ground, where we are open, which is the spirit, the nirvana, the Atman, where we're open to the Holy Spirit, to the paramahana. So that is the, now that was the method, you see, in the early times. In yoga was the practical discipline, how to integrate the body, integrate the mind, and be open to the Atman,


to discover your inner center yourself. But after, in the period from about 500 AD to 1500 AD, the tantra came in, and it was really a balance. The Hindu was rather ascetic. It was rather rejecting and neglecting the body, as the Christian tradition did. And it made use of yogic methods, no doubt, but it didn't give it full importance to the body. And with the tantra, they made the body basic to their whole discipline, you see. The saying was, that by which we fall is that by which we also rise. As the body leads you to passion and desires and so on, so through the body you can be restored. That is the base of tantra. And so you start with the body, and with the energy which is in the body. Now this is again something which is gaining ground all over the world today. Swami Muktananda, you know,


is a great exponent of this, the Shaktipat. The energy is called the Shakti. And the idea is that there is this Shakti, this energy is in the whole universe around us. We're all exposed to vibrations of energies. We know electrical and magnetic and all the rest. And secondly, that there are psychic energy. They're all exposed to psychic forces around us. When people are very hostile, we feel the vibrations of that hostility. When they're very loving, we feel the vibrations of love. So we're all exposed to psychic forces all the time. And these are forces of energy, you see. And the tantra sees the transformation of man through the transformation of this energy. And Kundalini Yoga, the idea is that this energy is centered at the base of the spine. It's partly physical, but it's more psychological, the base of our nature, the Mooladhara it's called, where we're grounded, you see. And that energy has to rise up through the chakras,


as they're called, these centers of energy. The life chakra, the sex energy, the Manipura, the emotional center, the heart center, the throat center, the intellect here, and then finally the Sahasrara, the thousand petal lotus, the crown of the head. And the idea is as that energy rises through the chakras, the whole person is integrated, and Shakti energy and Shiva consciousness unite in the marriage, you see, and that whole person is restored. And that is a marvelous idea and very practical. Because you see, now we'll be talking about the body, but involved in the body is the sex energy. And now in our Christian tradition, as far as I know, certainly in my education and training, you never mention this question of sex. You seem to have left it behind when you entered a monastery, and you were supposed to have gone beyond it, concentrating on the intellect and the will. And no doubt there are many ways


in which the sex energy is sublimated. Manual work is excellent, creative work of any kind for human communities. All these are ways, and it no doubt worked itself out in many ways. But there was no theory about it, you know. I don't know whether it's with you, but there was no theory about it. But the theory of the tantra is, you see, that this energy is in the base of your spine, and it's centered also in the sex organs. And that energy has to be transformed. That energy has to rise up through the chakras. If you let it out at any particular level, then the energy is wasted. And you've got to learn to turn it back. It's the turning back of the energy, not letting it go out. The Mooladhara, if you go out and dig in the garden a lot, you're releasing your physical energy, you see. And if you indulge in sex, you're releasing your sex energy. If you get a very emotional attachment to somebody, you're releasing your emotional energy. And if you get a great affection for somebody, you're having your heart energy. And if you give long talks and write poetry


and things like that, then you're releasing the float energy. And if you concentrate on this point, the ajna chakra, then you release your energy through intellect, through writing books and studying and all the rest of it, you see. So all these are ways in which we normally release our energy. But in yoga, the aim is to gather the energy together, to bring it and to transform the person, you see. As the energy rises, instead of going out through your physical energy, through your sex energy, through your emotions, through your imagination, through your reason, you'll concentrate them all, you'll gather them all till they come to a head, the sahasrara, you see. And then are open to the divine, you see, the transcendent. You're trying to turn back the energy to open it totally to God, you see. That is the goal of this tantric yoga. And of course, it's extremely difficult, you know. And yet I feel it's most important and most practical


because that, you see, answers this whole problem of why do we become celibates, you see. Because we don't want to exercise the sex energy in marriage in the normal way, but we have to turn it back. It has to be transformed. Unless it's transformed, it's going to disturb us in some way all the time. And if it's suppressed, of course, it's going to be a serious problem. So the energy has to be transformed. As I said, there are many ways of transforming the energy through art and music and poetry. And actually the liturgy, you know, is one way when we sing and when we use all the gestures of the liturgy. That is a way in which we can offer ourselves to God. But it should be scientific, you see. Yoga is a scientific method of transforming the energy in your body, your face, and your sex, and your emotions, your imagination, your affections, your imagination, your mind, and your will. This total transformation has to take place. So this is a tremendously creative science and art, you see. And as I say today, you know, this is modern.


Swami Muktananda had a huge following, you know. People would come over in a jet plane 500 at a time to his ashram because he was teaching them how to transform their energy. And one of the methods they use, you know, which is one of his chief methods, I believe, is simply chanting. They would sit for hours going on chanting, you see. And that creates a tremendous vibration of energy, but a transformed energy. You're bringing all these energies into this chant, which is a sacred chant, of yourself to the divine. And it creates tremendous vibration of energy. Somebody told me they had some, they were suffering serious psychological problems and great difficulties, and they came to the ashram. And simply by sitting and taking part in the chant, the whole thing was harmonized and changed, you see. And these are things which modern Americans are experiencing, you see. Another method is Vipassana, the Buddhist Vipassana. And that is also very effective.


And many Catholic priests and sisters and others have taken courses in Vipassana. And there, the Buddhist doesn't try to transform in that way. His method is to observe yourself. And in Vipassana, you observe your breathing. You don't try to control it in any way. You simply observe it. And for two days, you do nothing but observe your breath as it comes out of the nostrils around here. It sounds absurd in a way, but what it means is that you're calming all your thoughts. Your thoughts are going all over the place and you keep bringing them back to this and then they go off again and bring them back to this. And so gradually, you'll get harmonized again. You see, the thoughts are the problem today. In the ancient world, it was much more the physical part which bothered them. But for us, we're all educated in the head all the time and our minds are active the whole time. How to calm the mind? And you know, the first stroker of the Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is,


Yoga is the Chitta Vritti Nirodha, the cessation of the movements of the mind, how to stop the mind, you see. And when the mind stops, then the deeper center of the spirit is open, you see. But as long as your mind is agitated like this, you can't experience that presence of the Holy Spirit. We would call it that awareness of God. So the Vipassana, they concentrate first on the breathing and then on your sensations. You start with your head, my eyes, my ears, my nose, my mouth. And you go down, becoming aware simply of your body. And many Catholics have told me it was a wonderful... Because we never do that, you know. We're not aware of our bodies usually. But you become aware of all the sensations in your body. You can do it for hours and hours. It's 10 hours a day, you see, you do this. And gradually, you become aware of the body and aware of an inner harmony in the body, you see.


When you're not aware, the body and the energies are going in all directions. So you get upset, you see, tension arises. But when you learn to observe it, all these tensions are calmed and controlled. And then you get an inner harmony. And then the last two days, it's rather nice, they have what they call Metta, where you allow feelings of love to go out to the whole creation or humanity. And especially, I've never seen it in the past, but in the Tibetan tradition, to your enemies. You put all your friends on one side, you let love go out to them. Then you put your enemies on the other side, you let love go out to them. And so that is the conclusion of it. But again, you know, it's an energy of love going out. It's not just a thought. It's a vibration, a power of love to go out. So that's another method you see. And you see thousands and thousands of people are being attracted to these methods. And most, half of them are Catholics, you see, who have not found this in the church, and have found it in Hindu ashrams


or Buddhist monasteries. That is the thing today. And as I say, they're really very practical for us to become aware of the body, aware of its energies, and how to transform those energies, and how to... The other method, I say, one is to transform the energies by this practice. The other, particularly by breathing. And the other is to observe oneself. And many find as a method of meditation, there's nothing better than simply to observe oneself, observe one's thoughts, observe one's feelings, feelings of anger or resentment and so on. And as you observe, you get detached. You see, if you give way to your feelings, then you're carried off, of course. But if you learn to observe them, to detach from them, observe them, gradually you become a silent witness of God, and you get an inner calm coming, you see. And that is a wonderful method. That is simply always to detach from whatever you're feeling, whatever you're thinking.


Thoughts can come and thoughts can go. You shouldn't try to stop the thoughts, but don't attach to them. Don't follow them after, and then make a business of it, you see. But let them come, let them go. And then gradually, you get beyond your body, you get beyond your psyche, and you become aware of this deep center of your person, you see, which has so many names. But that is what they're seeking. And this, you see, is universal. You don't have to name God so far at all. You're finding your inner self. But for a Christian, and for most Hindus, and for, in a sense, for some Buddhists, when you reach that point, you have reached the point where, for all really, you're open to the infinite, you see. You go beyond your limited body, your limited psyche, and you're open to the transcendent one, the power and the grace. For a Christian, you're open to the Holy Spirit, you see. And that is why we use the Jesus prayer, because that focuses you on Jesus and takes you through him to God, you see.


So you're open in that way to the Holy Spirit. So all this is a very practical method, which I feel, as Christians, we can adopt without any difficulty, you see. And it's a great tragedy, really, that so many Catholics go and become Buddhists or become Hindus, because they can't find this in the church. If they find it in the church, then they have no reason. You can practice all in our ashram. We've seen many, many people come using all these methods, and they can integrate it into their Christian life. They come to the mass, they can read the Bible, and they rediscover Christianity. But it has to be in the context of this kind of meditation, of yoga, and experience, you see. And I've known wonderful conversions take place. You know, people have left the church for years and years. They come and say, this is the first time I've been in communion for 18 years, or something like that. And they've simply left it, and they've looked for this how to meditate, how to harmonize your nature, you see.


Everybody's out of harmony. All America's worse than anywhere, but all over the world, people are out of harmony. Tremendous tensions, personal conflicts, and so on. And they're seeking a way of harmonizing these. And these are methods, you see, of harmonizing all of these tensions. And on the other hand, when you reach that point, of course, then you're open to the Spirit. And if you're living in a Christian context, in the mass meditation, and the Bible, and so on, then you can integrate the whole of this experience. You know, Father Panica once said, I was a Christian, I became a Hindu, and then a Buddhist, by remaining a Christian all the time. And I think that's perfectly valid. You can take, you see, actually the council said, Catholics should recognize, preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral values of these other religions. When you try to integrate the spiritual values, you see, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, and their moral values, into your life as a Christian,


and you can integrate your whole person. And this is a way of bringing the body, and the senses, and the feelings, and the imagination, integrated into the intellect, and the way to the total person, you see. That is really the aim. So, now, there's another aspect to this very, and you see, we've got this tradition in the New Testament, as I say, of St. Paul, of the 10 bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit. And for Kundalini, you see, Brother Arnold has now developed this Kundalini yoga a great deal, and he sees this Shakti as the Holy Spirit, really, or rather, the Shakti, if you like, is the natural energy, but the Holy Spirit works through the Shakti. So, it's the Holy Spirit which transforms all these chakras, opens up all your energy, and brings it up to God, you see. So, the Holy Spirit, and you see, again and again, we think the Holy Spirit works through the intellect, through the will, in faith, in charity, but not that it works through the body,


through the senses, through the feelings, you see, but the Holy Spirit would work. And especially, you know, in this question of sex, I don't know whether you realize that the Christian tradition from St. Augustine onward, certainly, was that all sexual pleasure is sinful. It disturbs your mind, you see, that was the idea, which was a very stoic idea. And even in marriage, St. Augustine and St. Gregory and St. Thomas Aquinas all said that even in marriage, there would be a disturbance of the mind, and therefore, a certain element of sin in intercourse, even in marriage. That has been Catholic tradition, and we've got beyond that now, but not got much beyond it. And I don't think you've ever yet admitted that intercourse in marriage is a sacrament. It is a means by which the man and the woman are united in Christ, see, and realize their unity in Christ. It's a sacramental union. And of course, people today would have got this sexual revolution, of course, we've got sexual promiscuity and so on,


but there's a serious search to discover the place of sex in human life, you see. And the church has to recognize that it is given by God, it's a sacred thing, you see. And that is what was realized in the Tantra. Again, it's always problematic, you see, when you deal with sex. In the Tantra, the idea was the sex energy can be transformed, can be a means of transformation. And in its essential doctrine, it's perfectly sound, but of course, it's very dangerous, and it got a very bad name because it did lead to a lot of promiscuity and so on. But the essential doctrine is there, and it's thoroughly Christian, you see, that the body is holy, and the sex is a gift of God, and marriage is a sacrament, and it's in the union of the man and the woman in marriage that they are united with Christ. They grow in the Spirit, you see. The Spirit is at work in sex, you see. It's not simply a low thing to tolerate, and which is part of your nature, but it's one of the instruments of the Holy Spirit


in the consecration of marriage, really. And now all this, you see, it's so interesting, it's all in the Christian tradition, this whole idea of the resurrection of the body, you see. And again, St. Thomas Aquinas and all the other fathers, really, they all think that it's primarily the soul which is going to be sanctified and so on, and then there will be an added pleasure, you would say. The body will give something added to it. But it's not really integral to it. But really, the Holy Spirit works through the body, through sex, through the senses, through every part of the being, and transforms the whole person. And the resurrection of the body is the total transformation of the human person, see, body and soul. And the resurrection of Jesus is the transformation of the body, of the matter, you see. It's not, he didn't say, we go up to the skies. The body was transformed and the soul was transformed. His psyche, with its limitations, the psyche of a Jew was transformed and became... And the body and the soul were totally integrated


by the Spirit in the Godhead, you see. And that human nature is taken up into the Godhead. And all of us are called to this transformation of the body, you see. And it's not a remote thing, sort of, we shouldn't simply leave it for the next life. I mean, even now, the body is being transformed. It's very interesting that St. Irenaeus, you know, in the second century, who had the most marvelous theology, really, who was one of the most comprehensive, he said that the spiritual body has been formed through communion. You see, we have a gross body. And in the Hindu tradition, and the Buddhist, and I think it's perfectly Christian, there's also a subtle body. The gross body is the physical organism we all may experience. And the subtle body is the body of the senses, the feelings, the imagination. All of this is part of the subtle body. And that subtle body can develop extraordinary powers.


Extraordinary psychic powers are developed through the subtle body. So you have your gross and subtle body, but then you have what's called the spiritual body. And that is your true body, your eternal body. But it's a body, you see. It's not just a spirit. It's the spirit taking possession of a human body, of a human being, and totally transforming that person. So the body is transformed, and the soul is transformed, and the spirit takes total possession. And then we're united. That's a perfect yoga. You are totally integrated, you see, in our person, and integrated with others. And we must never forget that as we integrate ourselves, we open ourselves to others. And that is another danger. Many people think that solitary life or ascetic life is very selfish. You're only seeking your own good and so on. But more and more, it is realized that the more you enter the deep center of your being, the more open you are to others, so that you cannot experience God


in the depths of your being without affecting other people to a very great, and that is our belief, of course, that prayer is this great power to influence the depths of the world and people as a whole. And at that center, we're integrated with others. And in the body, we're all separated. In the psyche, we're more open to one another, and we can open more and more, but we're still limited. But only in the humor, in the spirit, are we totally open to one another, totally transparent, you see. And that is heaven, when each person is totally transparent to every other and all reflect the one divine light, see that you're all one and yet many. That is the final goal. But it's the total human being, the body and soul, which is transformed in this way. So now, as I say, I feel this is something very important for monastic life, and we all experience the need, and very important for the church as a whole, you see.


I think until we really have a theology of the body, of sex, and of the senses, and of the whole of this aspect, our whole teaching is very inadequate. And it's not only a theory, it's a practice, you see. You take a seminary education, you see, it's all in the mind, isn't it? All these classes, these lectures, all in your mind, and so on. And then there is spiritual direction, in prayer, and so on, in the will. But the transformation of the person doesn't really begin there, you know. So this is something which I feel the church today is learning. This is growing, and we're open to this whole movement. And I think a wonderful transformation will take place, really, once we really accept this. And we needn't be afraid of all these Zen centers and Tibetan. I didn't mention the Tibetan Buddhists, of course. They are more and more influential today, you know. Because they have the most integrated view, because they incorporate the whole of the tantra


into Tibetan. In fact, it's not certain where the tantra began. The origins are obscure from the second or third century. And maybe in Buddhism, I think it's more probable that it was a general movement which infiltrated both Hinduism and Buddhism. But whatever, the Tibetan Buddhism has integrated the whole of this art, you see, of tantra, of bodily change, of psychic change. And they've developed it to an incredible extent, you see. They can gain amazing control over their bodies. You know this thing, what's it called? Dumang, is it? It's the heat, Dumang. When you practice breathing, very strong breathing, you generate heat. Even on a modest scale, you discover it. But that heat can be generated to such a force that you can boil things. And one of their practices is to sit in the snow with a wet towel at night


and see how many towels you can dry by the heat of your body. And they can live up in the mountains there naked without feeling the cold because of this Dumang, this heat. So this power to change the body, you see, through changing these energies and simply develop these practices. So Tibetan Buddhism today is spreading very fast in America and all over the world because it's got such an integrated view, you see, of the human person, the body and the senses, the breathing, the senses, the feelings, the whole person to be transformed and integrated. So as I say, I feel this is the corner of the church today to be just as she opened herself to Greek philosophy and Roman law and the whole European culture, you see. It was assimilated by the church, created the Middle Ages, and has gone on to the present day. So now we're being called to open ourselves to the Oriental tradition, which we've not touched, you see. We've never touched this tradition so far, except a few people here and there.


So the church herself has to be open to all that the Oriental tradition gives to assimilate all of this, and then we would have a really universal, if I would be Catholic in the deepest sense, you see, a really universal experience. You were saying, you know, how even though you didn't get any of this real theoretical instruction, the body, the senses, and so forth, it came in through the back door by way of the Benedictine rhythm of life and expression, manual labor, artistic, and craft work, that sort of thing. And that's pretty good. You know, you mentioned about breathing. There's one thing I think, you know, that aside from, you know, the problem of Latin language, you know, and then maybe the salient interpretation of Gregorian chant. Gregorian chant and the training that you got from Gregorian chant that we got, you know, because, you know, you were taught how to breathe, sing long phrase, to feel this rhythm of the twos and the threes,


that all makes you freely, and that's the two rhythm of the heart and the three rhythm of the breath. You know, it brought in a kind of pranayama, you know. You were taught how to sit because, you know, or how to stand. You can't really sing when you're sitting, even as physically possible. You don't sing well when you sit. We taught how to stand, you know, how to make the head really vertical, you know. That's the only way that the breath will flow and without tensing up these muscles in the throat, you know, and constricting the voice. So a lot of that training, you know, that was given in view of the liturgy and the Gregorian chant, that pranayama chant. There was no theory about it, but I wonder, maybe it wasn't that you had an instinctive yoga practice. It's too late. I never got the theory like that, but I must say that Chant Chant was one of the greatest forces. And Chant, I was going to say, right from the beginning,


and day after day, seven times a day for 20 years, and at never time, not one time, did I ever feel anything but joy. It was so beautiful. But as you say, there really was a kind of yoga in it. And then the liturgy itself, you know, all those ceremonies with the genuflections and whatnot, it was a certain training of the body. Most of you had to do your, in Benedictine monasteries, you had to do your genuflection properly. You couldn't just skip it as many people do. It was a rhythmical pattern of liturgy. I think you're right. There was that element. But it sounded good. It sounded good. It wasn't theoretically the way we were. Father, may I ask about two things? How do we go about transforming those energies? You spoke of the spirit's role in accomplishing that. And secondly, how do we release, accelerate the sensual energies?


In the case of the transformation, I sort of mentally visualized of almost like I was holding my breath and pushing it, like squeezing a toothpaste to get it up to the next level through the chakras. It wasn't clear to me what practically my head does to accomplish or facilitate that transformation. And then in the area of release of sexual energy, obviously you gave us examples of all the other areas where you do release. You are speaking. You do write. You do have close friendships. You do laugh. You are warm. How do we exercise? Yes, that's important. The squeezing would be out of place. You know, there should never be any violence. And in yoga, it's most interesting. You never use violence, you know.


If you're trying, for instance, a very simple thing to touch your toes. Some people can't get to know their knees. But if you exercise a gentle pressure day after day, in a few days, you suddenly find you're touching your toes, but you don't strain. You don't force it ever. And this is true, isn't it, in all the methods of practice of yoga. It's a gentle pressure. The minimum of effort for the maximum effect, they say. It's extraordinarily interesting. You never do violence. So here, it's not squeezing it out, but it is, it's rhythm, it's the breathing is the main thing, really, you know, to harmonize the breathing. And what Amal does, teaching what I rather practice, is to visualize the breath going from the base of the spine up to the crown of the head and then returning again. So you get a rhythm established like that, you see, as you're sitting up, right, and breathing. And then you can visualize it going through the different chakras. Passing up through. There are some dangers in that.


If you concentrate on the lower chakras, it can, the energies are very powerful. It can be too powerful. So in a sense, I mentioned in Kansas City when we were talking, that I feel in many ways, it's better to think of the descent of the Holy Spirit, you see, descending through all the chakras. So you establish yourself at this level and then you can control all the others. But basically, this is the rhythm, you see, you have to establish. And it is in the breathing, that's the main thing, really. And it does need a good deal of, to do a lot for oneself, but you also really need a guided breathing, you see. There's a story of an Englishman who became a Buddhist and he went out to India during the war as a signal or something. He had a lot of free time and he started doing a lot of yogic practice. And he did this breathing and it's a very simple one. You breathe in and then hold your breath


and then breathe out. And the rhythm is four, 16, eight. You breathe in for four, you hold for 16 and breathe out for eight. And then you can increase it, eight, 32, 16 or then 16, 64, 32. But it's very dangerous because it generates terrific energy. And he found after a time, he would wake up in the night with a terrific force coming down upon him. He thought he was going mad. And so he stopped it and he went to see his guru afterwards and he said, well, it serves you right. You should never do anything like that without the guidance of a guru. So you should never do any radical exercises. But the basic simple in breathing is open to everybody and I gained tremendous love through that. What was the other point you made? Of the release of the... Of the sexual energy, yes. For a celibate. Yes. How does he create it? Yes. Well, that is a very difficult problem, you know. And it is true that as I say,


you can try and let the breathing come like that. And for some, that transformation will take place. But personally, I do feel that it's better to visualize you like the Holy Spirit. The scent of the Holy Spirit through the chakras stabilizing you at these levels, you see. So that then you're able to control at that level. Because you see, for many people, that energy is too powerful. And if you encourage it in any way, and even many Hindu gurus, you know, in a very advanced state, they get that problem. The energy comes out of that level. It's a real problem. But you have outlets in the other areas. Yeah. But you have no outlet of sexual... The sexual, you have no outlet, no. That is it. That has to be transformed, you see. But as we said, I mean, it's transformed in so many ways, isn't it, in the external world. But here, and between the prayer of Jesus, you see, bringing that prayer into one's being, into the body,


and letting the Holy Spirit, visualize the Holy Spirit working through all the chakras, you see, through Christ. All these are very important, you see, all these things. So one has to learn for oneself a good deal. And I do that for practice. You might mention, Father, that through the practice of yoga, that the body does calm down to a certain extent, so that it doesn't become such a problem, I would imagine, for a lot of people. What I wanted to say was that when you speak about chakras, you seem very esoteric. And there are very few people that you can even mention those words to, you know, especially when they're mature. But many people have practiced Kriya Yoga for many, many years, in groups of people here and there. And they've actually experienced these centers, you know, on the soul. And they're experiential,


and they're something you can't deny. And then that person, perhaps, is brought into a dialogue with the Catholic. Well, where do you place this kind of experience in the Catholic experience? I think this transformation of the body by the Holy Spirit, you see, that the Holy Spirit has to take possession of the whole person and work through all those energies, you see. That's the Christian idea. And with the prayer of Jesus, we invoke the Holy Spirit. And Brother Amal does always, considers the air, the prana. And in Hindu, it's not really air. It's the vital force, you see. That the Holy Spirit is present in the air. Here's a very interesting, you see, all through the Bible, the Spirit is connected with the breath. God breathed into his nostrils, and man became a living soul, you see, in the Garden of Eden. And there are many instances,


at the resurrection, Jesus breathed on the disciple and said, receive the Holy Spirit, you see. So a connection between the breath and the Spirit. And again, in St. John's Gospel, which we read, the wind blows where it wills, you know, where it comes, where it goes. So is everyone who is born with the Spirit. And so Amal does always says, try to realize as you breathe in, you're not really breathing in the air or in some psychic force, but breathing in the Holy Spirit, you see, a transforming power into your body, you see. You see, we've not thought of that, really. It's the body, the Holy Spirit is in the body. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, you see. It's tremendous. And so it can be easily integrated in the Catholic Christian. And you see, many Catholics leave the church because they have these experiences and nobody can tell them how to relate it. See, that is the problem. They feel this is something very valuable, which is transforming them,


but it doesn't seem to fit into any Catholic scheme, doesn't it? Father John, that's all. And just coming back to this about the expression, you said the breathing is very important, but I think the Tibetans used tremendously also what he was doing, visualization, and he perhaps used it as a crude system of the two. They're not squeezing the tube, but if you squeeze it gently, it doesn't have to be hard to breathe. The image which, I was thinking of the orgasm, no? The image which they say, how do you give expression to that sexual energy? Instead of the sexual energy being released at the physical level in the form of an orgasm, what they understand is that that energy is transformed, is drawn up the spine as a subtle kind of a liquid, which they call orgasm, and that it comes and collects at the base of the skull here, and that the mandala or ganglia floats in this liquid which causes them wisdom.


Or another image which is used is that the energy in the form of light, instead of being released at the physical level, is drawn up the spine, and there's a kind of an orgasm in the form of a fountain of light at the top of the head. And if you do that with breathing, each time you breathe out, you breathe out this fountain of light, that really does draw that energy and throw it to another level. And then when you breathe in again, then you breathe in that Holy Spirit, which descends and purifies all the way down. And then you take that sexual energy and you breathe it out at the top of the head. It's not a technique, but... The visualization is very important. You're quite right. It's physio, as I say, the Holy Spirit is up. It's very, very important. And there's another, in Chinese tradition, you have the circulation of the light, which is very nice. And you see, we're realizing more and more that our bodies are fields of energy, you see.


We think of them, fingers, arms, all this substance like this, but really it's a field of energies. And in Chinese medicine, you know, you're trying to... They've mapped out all these channels of energy through the body, and you try to harmonize, where some block, you then try to release that block. So it's the whole bodily energy, you see, is physical. And I think that visualization, that your body is this field of energies, and the Holy Spirit is working through that spectrum, you see. I'm sorry. No, no problem. You know, the problem of the visualization, the kind of image we use, perhaps one of the difficulties, and one of the wounds in our contemporary psyche, our contemporary body consciousness, is precisely that we have perceived the body in a way as a closed system, body in isolation from the cosmos.


We think of the body as a tube with the cap on it. So we feel this terrible pressure, not only of the sexual body, but the sex is visualized as something that, you need to keep that cap on tight, you know, where's the seam? Whereas there are a lot of other images in Indian culture, and in the Western, as well as the Eastern, which relate the reproductive, generated energies to the cosmos through many different images. Just the fact, you know, that the chakras are also called panmas, they're flowers, you know, the concept of the blossom of the flower. Yes. There you don't get the idea of a pressure system, a hydraulic kind of, and Freud, for instance, one of his problems was he was really stuck with a hydraulic concept. Freud. Hydraulic concept of the psyche, of the body, of the sex, of energy, that everything was in this, you know, seam.


Freud upset everything, really, it really is. He had insights, but then he closed it into this kind of concept, whereas we are in this network of energy, of the cosmos, our bodies are not the skin enclosed, skin encapsulated ego, is that the? It's that expression, we're not that. And, of course, the great change today is the influence of Jung, you see. Freud is almost useless for this sort of thing, but Jung had developed all these ideas, not fully, but it's, you know, exactly, for the integration of all these aspects of the personality, so it's very useful. But one of the things which you say which really fascinates me the most is this idea of the church as being the focal, as being able to become the focal point for all these different oriental traditions which are so current in America at the moment. I wonder if you could just elaborate on that


a little bit more, how you see what role the church could play, exactly what, you know, what relationship would stand for those who are not officially belonging to the church and yet co-ordinate them in some way or other? I think it's largely a matter of being open, like with Esalib, for instance, you see, to go down there to see what they're doing, to see the bands of it and so on, then relate it to our own life. I think it's being open to these communities, sharing with them where we can, and then they also come to share with us. It's always a give and take, isn't it? A flow, really, that has to take place. But if we're afraid of them all or we're dismissing them all, then of course we stand isolated, you see, but once we recognize, and again, again, there's a rather saying of the Council that the spiritual and moral values, whatever we are able to find, then we should be ready to accept, you see, that is the thing. And it's so interesting, you see, at Esalib, for instance, it's typical, it's all from the body level they're working,


and from the feelings, you see, and the senses, they're building up from that, but they're wanting to come to the point of the spirit, you see, they're totally open to it, but many haven't any way of getting there. That's why Buddhism appeals so much. You know, Buddhism has no God, really, and nothing, or even a soul, and so it's a very practical, psychological method, and they find that very, but there's no reason why that shouldn't be carried further, you see. There's one person doing Vipassana, where you just breathe like this, and so on, and he was interested in the Jesus, when I suggested integrating the Jesus prayer with the Vipassana, he found it went extremely well, actually, so those sort of things can be done, you see. But it's the openness, I think, that recognizing values, you see, that is the real need, and many Catholics are very defensive, they feel that this is a danger to the church, which it is, of course, if you, like any positive thing like that, if you oppose it, then it can become dangerous,


but if you try to realize the values, then it becomes something positive, you know. Father, I was, I'd like to ask, not a question, but my own experience in dealing with countercultures, and people like that. For me, as a Catholic, my model is the way Jesus was always hanging out with the bad guys, you know, with the scourge of society, or the real out there people, and these are the people he seemed to prefer. And for me, that model is very important, because it represents real security in the knowledge that there's nothing that can really take away our relationship with Christ, and it can be tested, you know, very, very thoroughly, if we're not afraid, if we're very comfortable


with our relationship with Jesus Christ, and that, for me, has been the model, you know, in Christ's actions at that time, and in peace times, we have the same kind of parallels that he did, and we have the same kind of fringes of society around us that we can reach out to and go into without any fear in our hearts. And the only question that comes up is that, what is our, what is our way, what is our procedure? Is it going to be one of, when we interact in this way, is it going to be one of silence? Is it going to be one of preaching? Is it going to be, what is our, what are we going to represent? How are we going to represent the church


in these kind of encounters? Yes, I always feel one should try to help a person to follow his own path, you see, that his spirit is present in people, it's very evident, these people come to India, you know, and they have no idea what they're looking for, some are looking for drugs or something, or enjoy themselves and whatnot, and then they begin to feel some meaning coming into their lives, they meet somebody here and somebody there, and they begin to get a direction in their lives, and many come to Arash now, where they're beginning to feel that, they won't call it God perhaps, but this is a direction, a meaning is coming into their lives, and that something creative is taking place, and one must just help people to follow their guidance, you see, where they are, it's no good trying to push a person beyond where he is, but to open him so that he's ready to, he's open to whatever may come, and only when a person is ready should one speak of Christ or the church or anything, otherwise you simply put people off, okay?


There's a terrible among Hindus, you know, but among Western people too, there's a tremendous, what do you call it, antagonism, hatred of the church, of proselytism in any way, and the moment they think you're trying to proselytize, they will absolutely close up, you see, but if you, they see that you're totally open, and you're not pressing anything, but they know you are a Christian, they're Catholic, and that is signify something to them, you see, and allow it to grow, I don't want to never speak until the time, the moment of grace comes, you see, that's what I do with Hindus always, and it's, I mean, they will become interested, you see, in time, but God has his own way with each person, and one can't sort of try to force them in any way, I think any kind of evangelization, which just sort of preaches Jesus Christ indiscriminately, is counterproductive always, for one person again you lose 99, you know, it's extraordinary in India,


how they hate the church from that point of view, and they open the Christ, you see, but any, this time, get people into your system, you know that, they hate it. It's interesting in the way that Islam spread into North Africa, apparently it would always be the Dervishes, who were kind of very non-Orthodox Muslims, who would go into the tribes, and make friends with the people, and live with them as they were, and then the people would say to them, but what is the source of this tremendous inspiration, and learning that you have? They would say, oh well, you should really ask a Mullah, you should ask a priest about that, and then 50 years later, or 20 years later, after the Dervishes had been there, and made their impact, then the teaching Muslims would come, now when the interest was already there, when the actual living experience of these transformed beings, had touched the other people, then they would be inquisitive to know more about Islam,


and then they would be sent to the mosques, and they would be sent to learn. That is very interesting. It relates to what Father Robert Hill said about this Nigerian priest, who said that he wants to be Christ, rather than teach Christ, and it's that, you know, it has to glow. That's what I feel in India, you know, we have to be a Christian presence, you see, if you're in an ashram, or some community, you live your life, and you live in a very Indian style, and people are all welcome, that is preaching the gospel, you see, and only when the moment comes, when they want to learn more, then you can respond, but just be totally open to them, and give them what you have, you see, you have your prayer, you have your, you get the whole routine of life, you see, and many feel that this would be, you see, India is un-evangelized at present, you see, practically, the whole of the mass center of India is solidly Hindu, you know, one Catholic in a million, maybe, and somewhere they've not even heard of Christ,


you know, in parts, it's extraordinary, and we don't make any advance, we simply form little groups of Catholics, and people come from Kerala and elsewhere, and form a little Catholic group there, but the rest of the people are not affected at all, and we all, many feel now, you see, that you try, you simply go and live among them, as one of them, share with them, and so on, and live your life, and let them see it, and then let things happen, you see, like that. That's one. One thing I'd have to admit too, it might get me in trouble, but I can't, at the same time, feel as if I have something superior, or some superior knowledge. It's hard to reconcile that, but I'm just holding back this vast, wonderful thing that I've been doing, until the right time, and I'm not going to impart this great thing to you, that you don't have at this time. I don't really feel that, I just feel that I'm equal,


or I'm the same boat that they're in, but there's something indescribable, in my relationship with Christ, that is so transparent, that I can't even hold it as a separate thing, you see. Yeah, that's very important. You see, if you've got the idea, you've got to impart it, it's so something you possess, and which you pass on, but it's nothing of a sort, you are open to that place, and you're trying to help other people, to be open to the same grace, which you're receiving, you see. This whole idea that we're giving something, it's very tempting, because it's true in a sense, of course, which is a fact, but the ego gets into it, you know, that you are imposing this on the other, and that they resent, you see, but when there's something, I always recall a meeting we had in Trivandrum, the Hindus and Christians, we tried to organize a meeting, and it was quite a problem, they were very suspicious, they thought we were just trying to get them, you know, the Ramakrishna Ashram there, but eventually they agreed, and a group of us, mostly Catholics, one or two Orthodox, I think, and Protestant, and we met there,


and as soon as we put it, that we come for dialogue, to share with one another, they're totally open, I've always noticed that, we come to, Monsignor Rossano, when he came to, we had a Hindu Christian meeting in our ashram, some years ago, Monsignor Rossano came from Rome, and that was one of the things he said, I never forgot, but we come to share one another's spiritual riches, then the Hindu is totally open, you see, but if you say, we've come to give you the gospel, and they're not interested, you see, that's the thing, you do get some, I mean, people like Saint Francis Xavier, you get people who have magnetic power, and so on, who can convert people, but it's normally the uneducated, you see, all Saint Francis Xavier's were fisher people, uneducated, and the educated Hindu, you have to approach him by this path. Even, even I wonder, you know, if Jesus is the example, he said, I came not to be served, but to serve,


if we come and actually put ourselves beneath that, aren't we being more like Christ, really? And the way Abhishek Ananda and others put it, we come to meet Christ in the Isle of Christ, it's already there, you see, there is a grace of Christ present already, we're trying to meet that grace, you see, and sometimes, you know, they're far better than we are, it's amazing how good a Hindu can be, you know, and how devoted to Christ he can be, whilst still remaining a Hindu. Father, I must share the example of miracle missionaries in this country who have come, who have experienced a massive conversion in the last 20 years, much to the consternation, really, of the American bishops, and we can't understand, they no longer go out to baptise the pagan babies, anything that moves, that is not Christian or Catholic, but to learn from these illiterate,


simple folk, to what we used to call superstition, they are finding our high forms of spirituality, and faith, but almost, I think of the American Indian, the native, yes, and experience of a different language, different ritual, and the Mary Morris can't talk about it very much, but they go to learn, they go to sit at the feet of what we used to call superstition, to learn the majesty, the power, the magic. Sister Rosemary was telling us a very interesting thing about our community in Africa, and apparently, when they started, the African girls were rather westernised, many of them, you see, they've had a western education, and they didn't really know their own traditions, and they got the old grandmothers to come along, and tell them all the old traditions, and the songs, and the stories, and so on, and they absorbed all that, you see, I think that's beautiful.


It's a little the same with us, you know, I think, take Brother Amundas, you see, he was a Kerala Catholic, and they're very traditional Catholics, Ray Rosary, and Benedict, and all these things, completely typical traditional Catholics, and he came to the monastery, and he began to learn yoga, and began to get into the Indian tradition. It's totally absorbed, the whole Indian tradition now, you see, it's marvellous, once they're open to it, but they can keep from terrorism, you see. I don't know. Forgive me if I end up very similar, though very close to home. An Indian joined this community at its foundation in 1958, from a paperwork then, who then returned to India in 1970, and died there accidentally. When he came here, he had been a Jesuit, and I was Master of Provincial, he was a Mangalore Catholic, the high family of Mangalore,


one of the few Brahmin families that was converted by Francis Xavier. So, his Christianity went back to the 16th century. His family, took the high family of Mangalore, and he came here, and was here that he read for the first time the Upanishads in Hindu scriptures, and for the first time, practiced old yoga. I remember when he told me that, I said to him, it's beautiful, you know, but I didn't believe it. He was 60 or 55, oh, he was 50, at least from the yoga dimension. And he had never, because he had been told, paganism, dangerous, and then seeing one of his fellow novices, who had gotten permission, you know, very, you know, it just so happened that he left. So, this just closed the door, and he had no more of this, and so, you know. Yeah, the Mangalore Catholics are like that. They're very strong,


but they're totally wasted. I think they're nothing. You see, the Portuguese, they didn't want really to make them Catholics, they wanted to make them Portuguese Catholics, and they gave them all Portuguese names, you know, half the priests in India have got Portuguese names still. Innumerable people, Fernandes, and Fernandes, and all these, and they had, they all came up for baptism, and they were all given Portuguese names. And they had to wear Portuguese laces there at the gym. Really? They had to wear these lace shirts, and proper shoes, and so on. Ah, yes. And you had, the costume was Portuguese, and the language was Portuguese, and the names, and the form of Catholicism was Portuguese. There's a famous story, I don't know if I told you, about Mahatma Gandhi, who wrote, I think it was his book, autobiography,


that in one town where he was, a Hindu was to be received into the Catholic Church, and everybody knew that this would mean that this Hindu gentleman would now begin to wear Western clothes, and eat meat, and drink alcohol. There's three parts of his job. So. My question, I was listening to the tape in which you talked about the tantra, and the Jantas. Ah, yes. There were two different traditions in India, one from the North, which is very connected with the Jantas, and another from the South, connected with the tantra, and these represent two poles within Hinduism. Would you like to say anything? Yes. How they relate? Yeah, I think that's very, very important. You know, the modern Hinduism is a union of opposites. You see, it's so awful that you've got to unite the opposites. And the Aryan tradition of Sanskrit was much more akin to our Western tradition in many ways,


you know, and the language, of course, is very close. And they came in from the North, into the Punjab, and then began to spread through North India, and then right down into the South. And as they spread, they came in contact with the indigenous people, basically, the Dravidians. See, Brother Raymond is Tamil, and this is a holy Dravidian culture there, not Aryan at all. The language is completely different. And so, these two began to meet, and the tantra, you see, undoubtedly came up from the indigenous people. The devotion to the mother, and this cult of the Bodhi, and so on, all that came. Whereas the Upanishads came more from the North. From the North, yes, yes. What's interesting to me here is that you see they have a different focus. In the Upanishads, they have this focus on the Atma, the spiritual center. And the tantric focus is quite different. It's quite different. And it really came to balance it. I think the Vedic tradition


began more and more confined to the Brahmins, you know, and became a sort of elite, really. It's very much like the Greeks think, like the noose, you know. Yes. And you have a lot of that stuff. And you never, you never go on. Yes. But the Atman is very close to the Greek noose. Yes. But we never got the tantric element to counterbalance it in the Christian tradition. It's just it, yes. It's just it. Though we must admit, you see, in the Middle Ages, a tremendous lot of folk religion, folk devotion, came into the church, into the cathedrals, and all that sort of thing. There was something very vital there. And theoretically, we didn't have this. Also, maybe the Syrians didn't have it, do you think? They weren't? And the Syriac tradition, do you think, had more of that? Yes, yes. Yes, it had. And the Oriental church were a little born of it. Yes.