Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude, Vol 3, P.87. Quoted after Jonathan Montaldo - "The Witness of Thomas Merton's Inner Work" - address to the Parliament of the World Religions, Cape Town, South Africa, December 1999.
God also decreed and ordained that when an individual utters His Name, divine Illumination and Influence are bestowed upon him. This is what God meant when He said, "In every place where I allow My Name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you" (Exodus 20:21).
God's name is more powerful than a thousand atomic and hydrogen bombs. Help yourself by repeating the Lord's name. All you know that God's name is the highest thing. Why do you attach your minds to the transitory things in this world? Why do you not spend your time in meditation and repeating the Lord's name? Attach yourself to God.
Austerity of the body consists of offering worship to the Supreme Lord, to brahmans, to the spiritual master and to the superiors like the father and mother. Cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence are also austerities of the body. Austerity in relation to the tongue consists of saying what is dear and truthful, not agitating others, and engaging in the study of the Vedas. Austerity in relation to the mind consists of satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, purity and control.
Pray for me so I could become a good renunciate, able to hear the words of God and to respond to them like a human. This is what it is all about: to stand on your own feet before the Father and to respond to Him in Spirit. And to "respond to Him in Spirit" may sound like a boastful talk, but this is not what I have in mind. "In Spirit," in all circumstances known to me, means with your face to the ground. And how you can at the same time stand on your own feet and lie with your face to the ground - this is the secret, to which I will have to find a practical solution.
The first Ishraq (Splendour)
When the Daystar of Wisdom rose above the horizon of God's Holy Dispensation it voiced this all-glorious utterance: They that are possessed of wealth and invested with authority and power must show the profoundest regard for religion. In truth, religion is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which is good, and shun all evil. Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquility and peace cease to shine. Unto this will bear witness every man of true understanding.
1. I announce (and) carry out (this Yasna) for the creator Ahura Mazda, the radiant and glorious, the greatest and the best, the most beautiful (...), the most firm, the wisest, and the one of all whose body is the most perfect, who attains His ends the most infallibly, because of his Asha, to him who disposes our minds aright, who sends His joy-creating grace afar; who made us, and has fashioned us, and who has nourished and protected us, who is the most bounteous Spirit!
Zarathustra: Avesta: Yasna (sacred liturgy). Translated by L. H. Mills (from Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898). Quoted after: http://www.avesta.org
"Here is that exquisite bow, oh, Brahman, which is held as a time-honoured bow by the lineage of Janaka kings, and with which even the highly forceful kings are rendered inefficient to take aim with it, previously." (...) Upon the word of the great sage Vishvamitra, Rama on unclosing the lid of that strongbox, wherein that bow is ensconced (...). While many thousands of men are witnessing that right-minded Rama (...) stringed the bow effortlessly. Further, that dextrous one has stringed that bow with bowstring and started to stretch it up to his ear to examine its tautness, but that glorious one who is foremost among men, Rama, broke that bow medially. Then there bechanced an explosive explosion when the bow is broken, like the explosiveness of down plunging thunder, and the earth is tremulously tremulous, as it happens when a mountain is exploding.
The story of breaking Shiva's bow as narrated in Ramayana. Quoted after: http://www.valmikiramayan.net/bala/sarga67/bala_67_prose.htm
John Paul II (1920-2005), Crossing the Threshold of Hope, P.72.
Religion should never become a source of conflict, a further factor of division within the human community. For my own part, I have even, on the basis of my deep respect for the contribution that other faiths can make toward human happiness, participated in the ceremonies of other religions. And, following the example of a great many Tibetan lamas both ancient and modern, I continue to take teachings from as many different traditions as possible. For whilst it is true that some schools of thought felt it desirable for a practitioner to stay within his or her own tradition, people have always been free to do as they think fit. (...)
As for my own religious practice, I try to live my life pursuing what I call the Bodhisattva ideal. According to Buddhist thought, a Bodhisattva is someone on the path to Buddhahood who dedicates themselves entirely to helping all sentient beings towards release from suffering. The word Bodhisattva can best be understood by translating the Bodhi and Sattva separately: Bodhi means the understanding or wisdom of the ultimate nature of reality, and Sattva is someone who is motivated by universal compassion. The Bodhisattva ideal is thus the aspiration to practice infinite compassion with infinite wisdom. As a means of helping myself in this quest, I choose to be a Buddhist monk. (...)
And lo! the whole scene, doors, windows, the temple itself vanished (...). It seemed as if nothing existed any more. Instead I saw an ocean of the Spirit, boundless, dazzling. In whatever direction I turned, great luminous waves were rising. They bore down upon me with a loud roar, as if to swallow me up. In an instant they were upon me. They broke over me, they engulfed me. I was suffocated. I lost all natural consciousness and I fell.(...)
How I passed that day and the next I know not. Round me rolled an ocean of ineffable joy. And in the depths of my being I was conscious of the presence of the Divine Mother."
Ramakrishna. Quoted in: Rolland, Romain. (1994). The Life of Ramakrishna. P.33.
Contemplative prayer will go through various stages and vicissitudes. You may have experiences that will leave you in confusion. The Lord will bring help to you through a book, a person, or your own patience. Sometimes it is God's will to leave you alone without any help. You may have to learn to live with impossible situations. People who can live peacefully in impossible situations will make great headway in the spiritual journey. You will come up against loneliness and existential dread. You may feel as if nobody in the world understands you or could help you and that God is a billion light-years away. All these things are part of the preparation process.
The real spiritual person - everywhere - is broad minded. His love forces him to be so. They to whom religion is a trade are forced to become narrow minded and mischievous by their very introduction into religion of the competitive, fighting, selfish methods of the world.
Haidakhan Babaji (1970-1984). Teachings of Babaji, P.99.
Only spiritual consciousness - realization of God's presence in oneself and in every other living being - can save the world. I see no chance for peace without it. Begin with yourself.
Zarathushtra gives a
joyful orientation to
bodily life. He preaches a
robust faith in living.
The world may not come up
to the individual's
expectations, yet he has
to live in such a wise as
to get maximum good out of
life. Man finds that
sometimes life glides
peacefully like the moon
that sails across the
heavens; on other
occasions it runs a rough
and ruffled course.
Zarathushtra teaches man
to adjust himself to the
diverse ways of life. Man
has to accept life on its
own terms, take it as he
finds it, make as much of
it as he can, rejoice in
it, and glory in it. He
has to be a radiating
centre of cheer and
happiness to all with whom
he comes in contact. (...)
The rich and poor, high and low alike can feast their eyes on the wealth of natural beauty and the marvels of natural phenomena. (...) New life is blossoming all around and nature throbs with joy. The dawn has her charms reserved for those who rise early. The poor are astir at dawn and begin their day by enjoying the marvellous beauties of nature. They witness the rays of the rising sun driving away the morning mists. They have no diamonds to decorate their bodies, but there are no diamonds to compare with the sparkling beads of dew that they see on the leaves of the trees around them, when the virgin rays of the rising sun throw their lustre upon these. The poorest can inhale in deep draughts the fresh breeze coming from fields which are being mown, (...) Often do we long for calm and it gives us soothing calm to sit in the fields with nothing but the rustle of dry leaves to break the stillness. (...) . Nature delights us in her multifarious phases. It gives us untold joy and pleasure to be with her for our company. Our hearts beat in unison with the mighty heart of nature.
The limit of happiness is the presence of God, which completely fills the whole soul with His whole incorporeal and eternal light. And the limit of misery is His passing on the way (...) for the soul to be separated from the contemplation of the Existent One is the most complete of evils.
Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 - 1675)
O dear friend, know this in your mind.
The world is entangled in its own pleasures;
No one is for anyone else!
In good times, many come and sit together,
Surrounding you on all four sides.
But when hard times come, they all leave,
And no one comes near you.
This is the way they act -
Those whom we love so much!
At the very last moment, O Nanak,
Nobody to help at all, except the Dear Lord.
Guru Granth Sahib, p. 634. Submitted by Dr. Teja Singh.
The true master understands that enlightenment is not the end but the means. Realizing that virtue is her goal, she accepts the long and often ardous cultivation that is necessary to attain it. She doesn't scheme to become a leader, but quietly shoulders whatever responsibilities fall to her. Unattached to her accomplishments, taking credit for nothing at all, she guides the whole world by guiding the individuals who come to her. She shares her divine energy with her students, encouraging them, creating trials to strengthen them, directing the streams of their lives toward the infinite ocean of the Tao.
Hua Hu Ching 80, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.174.
Freedom is about raising above your conditions, about becoming a sovereign, about gaining autonomy. Conscience in a way is talking freedom.
Tischner, Jozef. (1999). Przekonac Pana Boga. [To Convince God. Interviews with Jozef Tischner by Dorota Zanko and Jaroslaw Gowin]. Znak, Krakow. (Text in Polish). P.100.
O Son of Spirit! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I created thee, how dost thou busy thyself, with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.
Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, 13.
When it is granted to man to hear the song of the herbs - how every herb speaks its song to God without any alien will or thought - how beautiful and sweet it is to hear their singing. And therefore it is very good to serve God in the midst of solitary walks over the field among the plants of the earth and pour out one's speech before God in truthfulness. All the speech of the field then goes into your speech and heightens its power. With every breath you drink the air of paradise (...).
Hasidic text, quoted in: Buber, Martin. (1909, 1985). Ecstatic Confessions. Harper & Row, San Francisco. P.149.