The Spring issue of Nectar of Nondual Truth is duly and devoutly dedicated to sacrifice and spiritual disciplines. How do these two timeless principles relate to each other? In many ways, but the three most obvious are on cosmic, collective and individual levels of existence. It is the last of these that is the focus of Nectar’s philosophical and religious spotlight herein, for in the personalized body/mind mechanism lies all the secrets for divine life and realization of our inherent perfection.

Many do not believe in the innate divinity of mankind. Some are verily antagonistic to the very idea. Others, who have even allowed such a sententious thought room in their minds, only default to a position of eternal separation wherein they admit human beings capable of doing good but judge them all intrinsically fallible by nature. Thus they conceive human beings as ever disparate or dissimilar with God, who is perceived as being somewhere outside of them or, at best, only occasionally entering into the human condition under miraculous conditions. Thankfully, there are also the nondualists, who have experienced indivisible Awareness within themselves and have rendered even this universe blissful by gazing through the “Single Eye of Truth.” Jesus of Nazareth was one such, stating, “I and my Father are One.” Out of the antiquitous Treta Yuga, Sri Ram was another: “The embodied being is actually all-pervading and endless. It is one without a second, unaffected by anything, eternal, pure, and of the nature of Consciousness.” Lord Buddha of India took the nondual view: “Freed from reckoning by the material shape, feeling, perception, or consciousness, is the Tathagata; he is deep, immeasurable, unfathomable, as is the great ocean.” From among the greatest of Christian mystics, Meister Eckhart explains: “Those who would see God must see as God sees.” More currently, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Bengal states: “When the mind merges in Brahman the individual soul and the Supreme Soul become one. The aspirant goes into samadhi. His consciousness of the body and knowledge of the world disappears. He does not behold the many anymore. His reasoning stops.”

Included in the pages of Nectar’s Spring issue are articles to inspire us on towards practice and attainment of all things noble that we cherish and seek after. From unassailable truths to heartfelt devotions, from fervid aspirations to unwavering probity, from refined emotions to words of well-considered reformation, from sedulous and sincere striving to the selfless sacrifice it entails — it is all here in Nectar. May all beings imbibe the nectar of nonduality, and feel the salubrious effects of its revivifying presence.
With open arms and open minds we welcome the contemporary reader and lover of Truth to another feast for the soul, some Amrita, Nectar for the aspiring mind of the devout and avid practitioner. This open invitation is extended not only to those who have already grounded themselves in the search for Freedom via authentic spiritual traditions, but also to those who show a keen interest and feel drawn to those subtle visions and revelations of spiritual life which otherwise get obscured by the everyday goings-on of the secularized world and its conventionalized religion. Even a basic curiosity about mystical paths and ways and the esoteric wisdom they contain is apt excuse to embark upon this compelling journey which will turn the confused and restless soul, now enjoying and suffering in turns at the hands of fragmented mind and insentient matter, towards all the answers it requires and has been searching for over many lifetimes. So come, say the sages and seers, and find the highest refection of the soul possible at this sublime wisdom retreat in the isolated mountain ranges of varied spiritual experiences. Any of the tried and true pathways called authentic religions, rightly comprehended, will lead one there.

The life-giving waters of Vedanta, Jainism, Vajrayana Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, and Bhakti and Karma Yogas all flow predominantly through the pages of this enlightening issue of Advaita-satya-amritam. Book reviews inclusive of world religions such as Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism also form little liquid pools of its conscious content, while eddies of Sufism, Yoga, Tantra, and Western Philosophy also play with in it — all carried on the powerful but unseen Truth-tide of Nonduality. Read on, dear soul, read on. Get immersed in the Waters of Eternal Life which, like a well-spring appearing near the thirst-filled road of embodiment, brings both peace and Self-realization to the transmigrating soul.

There are innumerable ways of cultivating life’s many abundant harvests, but none more fruitful, fulfilling and freeing than a regimen of sedulous striving in the realm of spiritual practice. Why is this so? Assuredly, nothing other than purification of mind can facilitate the most subtle and sought after freedom that the human being longs for, either consciously, secretly or unconsciously. And this purification is achieved via sadhana, spiritual disciplines prescribed by an adept and esteemed religious preceptor according to revealed scripture, which cuts every man and woman in the image of abiding perfection inherent in each individual. Every man, Shiva incarnate, desires to break free of all the binding fetters of life and mind, but life itself is predicated upon a duality-fraught existence created by the manifold mind. Each woman, Shakti in manifest form, dreams of a life shorn of its weights and limitations, but the restrictive modes of nature and the constricting conventions of church, family and society unwittingly fashion the very chains that bind existence into painfully predictable scenarios and boring rounds of sleepy and sterile routine.

Given this conundrum, it is no wonder that the key of innate spirituality and its superlative aim is held out again and again, from age to age and lifetime to lifetime, by truly compassionate beings who have tasted freedom and spare no efforts in order to share it with suffering humanity. And they often initiate the process of its discovery in seeking and suffering beings by pointing out the need for an intense yearning to be free. “Cry, oh mind, with a real cry,” sings Ramprasad Sen, “and the Mother of the Universe will not be able to withhold Her sweet Presence from you any longer.” “Beings cry jugs of tears for mates, money and materials,” states Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, “but shed not one tear for God.” Furthermore, our intense yearning to be free must lead us straightaway to the path, the teacher and the specific formula for the attainment of divine life which best suits each individual’s karmas, abilities, and capacities. The thorough breakdown of all that impedes — doubt, fear, misconception, inordinate desire — is brought to bear in life by the cultivation of spirituality via hands-on practice. Without it, there adheres in the mental body a whole host of various forms of attachment, call them what you will, many of them masquerading meekly as freedom. As Sri Shankaracharya poignantly puts it: “When I was a baby I was attached to my mother’s breast; when I was a young man I was attached to a young woman; when I was old I was attached to anxiety; but to the Supreme Brahman, alas, I was never attached."
In the summer of 2002, the SRV staff, supporters, writers and contributors all come together once again for another exquisite expression of Advaitic Truth — that unique and quintessential quality which is at once a salubrious tonic for the body, a lustral lenitive for the mind, and a soothing balm for the soul. Applying a generous dole of this nepenthe of Nondual Nectar to life and mind will transport the spiritual aspirant into heretofore unforeseen and unimaginable heights of insight and perception, giving rise as well to an upsurge of abundant divine attributes lying fallow in the subtle soil of the human subconscious. It is no wonder that countless luminaries have taken unremitting recourse to this superlative divine domicile, this nonpareil sanctuary of refuges, finding an abiding solace and succor in Its boundless expanse.

The theme of this issue is peace — individual, terrestrial, mental, and spiritual. Health for the body, preservation of the earth, healing for the emotions, purification of the mind, inspiration for the intellect, inner guidance for spiritual life — all levels of the human life-experience must be consciously catered to with sensitivity and devotion based upon knowledge. For, it is obvious that the many proffered “healing” systems current today which profess integration of body, mind and spirit fall ridiculously short of doing anything beyond mere physical therapy, ignoring almost completely the mind and soul of mankind. Though claims of holistic healing run rampant over the pages of contemporary magazines, the real orientation, directed grossly at gathering, storing, and protecting wealth, is most ponderously placed upon physical health and exercise combined with cosmetic solutions and techniques. These are duly predicated on man’s external existence alone, and designed mainly to satisfy the voracious and vulpine vanity of the body-oriented person inhabiting a materialistic society. Regarding the mind, if it is ill, bored, or imbalanced, a pill is supposed to suffice to put it right, or an extended period of study among the dry, dusty and philosophically anemic volumes of “higher learning” comprising our much vaunted and over-rated fields of Western secular knowledge. For the spirit, the “soul,” there is the growing popularity of overpriced, undernourished seminars, retreats or intensives, designed to bring a being face to face with oneself. Unfortunately, that “self” is, again, the body, for if one can relax it, stretch it, fill it with good food, massage it, steep it for hours in healing waters, run it around the grounds, engage it in sports, and indulge it in some dancing in the evening, the spiritual criterion of “holistic healing” is deemed satisfied and the “spirit” is considered rejuvenated.
The focus of this issue, being always conceived of with its usual and overall emphasis on Nonduality and Universality, falls upon the sacred traditions of Jainism, Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra, and Vedanta, with tidbits of all the other religions of the world present and included in revolving fashion. As a mention and an invitation, the Nectar staff asks for writers associated with Taoism, Zoroastrianism, American Indian, and Western Philosophy to submit articles on their respective faiths and ideologies. It seems that in our eight-year history of producing and distributing a religious and philosophical publication, it has been hardest for us to find authors and practitioners from these four paths to contribute to the journal. If you profess these paths, or know anyone who does who is capable of writing an article to share, please get in touch with us at your earliest convenience.

We welcome to the present issue of Nectar a follow-up article on Jainism, a radio interview from the 1970s by Lex Hixon on “Divine Mother Transmission,” an article in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition on destroying delusion by the honorable Anam Thubten Rinpoche, and another article by D.S. Lokanath out of Portland, Oregon. Additionally, we are very gratified to see another of our guru’s articles in print, transcribed from a host of programs I myself recorded at the Vedanta Society of Oregon when he was still alive. In tandem with his discourse, I have offered a fresh article called “The Illusion of Change,” designed to complement the nondual message so expertly put forth by him. May the guru be pleased!

Divine Reality is all-encompassing, ever-present, and all-pervasive — that is the testament of the enlightened beings throughout countless ages and seems to be the consensus of the writers featured in this issue of Nectar of Nondual Truth. And not only are the seemingly varied perspectives of philosophy brought together in such a profound and unilateral insight, the assumed divisions between man and man, man and woman, nation and nation, religion and religion, and even heaven and earth are also harmoniously conjoined therein. Further, the very concepts of transcendence and immanence, something beyond and something present, also get a thorough revamping in our minds, particularly if we imagine that they represent a contrasting dichotomy, when in truth they do not. As the Indian poet/sage, Ramaprasad, is wont to sing repeatedly: “Mother’s Reality escapes every mind that imagines sets of dualities to be real.”

In the pages of this bold and well-intentioned journal, as well as in the hoary leaves comprising the revered scriptures of the world, the idea of Nonduality, Advaita, persists. Regardless, there are always and predominantly two things on the minds of living beings, whether they are awakened or unawakened: those are Reality and relativity. The unawakened either do not know about Reality, do not think of It, attempt to escape it in themselves, or remain antagonistic to It. If they accept it at all, in what the seers call the beginnings of spiritual awakening, there is still the considerable problem of overcoming procrastination, prevarication and compromise and swiftly approaching It. As for relativity, the world of name and form perceived via the five senses as being ultimately real, those unawakened to the Divine Verity mistake it to be the Reality, “bartering the infinite wealth at the center of their being for a world of mere colored glass,” as the poet sings. Thus, through lack of natural realization, and unconscious of the underlying presence of Brahman, they default to what the senses report and dictate, and remain satisfied — even through persistent suffering and obvious limitation — with relative existence and what it has to offer.

“V” is for Victory! In Vedanta, and in spiritual life per se, this equates to achieving success in maintaining the intimate and singularly meaninglful contact with Brahman, the Source of all Existence — even and especially in the midst of our daily life and routine. This is effectively brought about, as the timeless rishi, Vasishtha, relates, through mastery of the life-force (pranajaya), control of the mind (manojaya), attenuation of desires (vasanakshaya), and neutralization of karmas (karma-nirodha) — all penultimate to acquiring that special ability to focus upon Divine Reality to the exclusion of all else (samadhana) until the consummate inner connection (samadhi) is well-established. For this, it is necessary for the two forces of human aspiration and Divine Dispensation to work harmoniously together. To facilitate this in the timeless and time-tested Vedic tradition, advised and available to all, the aspirant utilizes Vedanta (the eternal path) to activate Vichara (self-inquiry) to increase Viveka (discrimination) to deconstruct Vivarta (false superimposition) to remove Vikalpas (mental projections) and destroy Vasanas (root desires) in order to establish Vairagyam (detachment) to become a Vidvan (wisdom-knower) and attain Vijnana (supreme realization). Thus, “V” is for Victory!

With such salubrious teachings well-considered, we offer our current helping of Wisdom-Nectar, mainly of or based on the Vedanta. In past issues we have highlighted many of the world’s religions, thereby rendering heartfelt service to the excellent principle of Universality and the harmony of all religions; a timely theme, considering the state of the world and its affairs. But we, as Westerners — videlicet, temporarily embodied souls appearing in a Western setting but espousing no personal or permanent location other than the all-pervasive Atman — feel an inborn affinity with the timeless and eternal Vedanta and feel it has an especial message suited for these times. We thereby and herein emphasize it in a series of intriguing and galvanizing articles designed to preserve yet percolate our precious consciousness, keeping it pure and pellucid.
The universality of world religions is certainly a subject of interest in these engaging and pivotal times, and one that is treated multi-dimensionally in this issue of Nectar. Nectar of Nondual Truth has, for three years, attempted to present this principle by offering articles from writers and practitioners who are deeply ensconced in and in love with their chosen path and ideal, and can therefore express the one indivisible Truth via their own deeply cherished stream of Wisdom. This is crucial — the practice of one tradition until realization through that single pathway has been achieved — in order to avoid confusion, contradiction, misperception and the surface understanding that usually accompanies a mere eclectic point of view devoid of penetrating and longevitous spiritual practice. The well-guided expansion of the limited human mind is likened to raising a family, wherein different children must each be given special attention based upon comprehension of their differing needs, capacities, and temperaments. But before all this is attempted, the first-born must be attended to, and then all the resultant growth in terms of challenges, mistakes, successes and valuable insights into child-rearing can thus be applied to the raising of those who come after. Wherever the first-born is neglected, or followed too soon by other siblings, thus falling into the background of the overburdened parent’s full attention, malnutrition on several levels occurs, and the valuable developmental stages of early growth are stripped of their power and purpose, resulting in a stunted condition — a life shorn of its fullest possibilities and potentials.

This unfortunate outcome in the individual family unit is mirrored by the undernourished spiritual life of contemporary living beings in general, due not only to their own debilitating complacency around purificatory practices, but also due to their lack of appreciation, their ambivalence, and even their hostility towards the sacred traditions of the world — religions adhered to by the same-selfed brothers and sisters of the multifarious but inseparable family of mankind. On the other hand, after sincere and one-pointed commitment to Truth is attained, followed up by a firm dedication to one’s path, a sedulous practice, and an unswerving devotion to God and Guru — all constantly cultivated — the onset of spiritual maturation will occur as a matter of course.
Judaism, Jainism, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Vedanta, and Advaita Vedanta, are all represented in full in this issue of Nectar of Nondual Truth, and if we had the available pages and writers we would certainly include all the rest of the world’s religious traditions herein as well. For, The Religion of the coming age, and of all ages — recognized as such or not — is Universality, and its underlying essence is Nonduality (advaita). Different liquids may be pleasing to the palate, but only water really slakes our thirst. Similarly, religion brings solace to embodied souls, but only nonduality slakes the inner thirst of the soul yearning to be free. Odors of cooked food wafting on the air bring children running for their meal, but only eating it truly satisfies their hunger. Like this, the inward fragrance of religion attracts the soul to perform worship and meditate, but only merging with Divine Reality fulfills all their aims and ends. The holy water and sacred food of the soul, then, is Universality based in Nonduality.

Universality is beyond interreligious harmony and outstrips eclecticism. It breathes free, grows, and expands in the rare and exalted atmosphere of the open mind of the sincere and dedicated aspirant. Like the headiness of breathless heights one feels on pilgrimage in the Himalayan mountains, or the inspiration felt by taking pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or the power present when going on Hajj to Mecca, just so Universality verily transports the human mind to lofty experiences of Consciousness felt nowhere else — not even in the life heavens or the causal realms!

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