Archives for category: spirituality

god_of_colour_by_kudalyn-d70l4i5-1The one who, himself without colour,

By the manifold application

Of his power

Distributes many colours

In his hidden purpose,

And into whom

Its end and its beginning,

The whole world dissolves

He is God!

May He endow us

With clear intellect. 




People are often unreasonable and self centred,

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives,

Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you,

Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous,

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow,

Do good anyway.

Give thw world the best you have and it may never be enough,

Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God,

It was never between you and them anyway.


                                                    –    MOTHER    TERESA

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.



”A saint is a sinner who never gave up trying”

”Every day happier than yesterday: that is the standard of spiritual life”

”Teach me to dig with the pick-axe of my peace deeper and deeper into the soil of silence, until the water of Thy presence gushes forth and I am bathed in Thy bliss. Teach me to look for Thee in myself until I realize that it is Thou who hast become I”


I have this icon

Looking down at me

Wings outstretched till the ears

Eyebrows joined over the nose

Gaze steady

Into my soul.

Crop of curling hair

Tumbling down from a tiara

Wand held firmly

Behind the head

Palm outstretched

In a blessing.

Thick brown stole

Over green tunic

Smites my heart







The incarnated soul is covered by the gross, subtle and causal sheaths.  The gross sheath is our physical body of senses. After death the subtle body of  consciousness and feelings  made up of light adheres to the soul on the astral plane. Further evolution of the subtle body raises it from the astral plane to the causal plane which is a blissful realm of ideas. When the astral body is shed there remains the causal body which is a mould of thought. The causal body feasts only on knowledge and is in a state of bliss. When the causal sheath is finally shed in the evolutionary process the soul which so far was individualized consciousness merges with cosmic consciousness.

Auric phenomena are evidence of  our physical body being enveloped by a subtle body. The Aura consists of electro-magnetic energies radiating from our physical, etheric, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. The auric energy suspended around the body is in the shape of an oval 2 to 3 feet on all sides extending above the head and below the feet. Above the inner auric egg floats another auric egg to about 50 feet above it. This is the higher auric body.

While most of us fail to see the aura, some have the ability to see it. One such remarkable person Joseph Ostrom  had the ability to see auras in vivid detail around humans, animals, trees, rocks and objects from earliest childhood. He was unaware that his gift was special and did not know that people generally were unable to see the aura. Later in life he went on to research the phenomenon and write a book on the aura ( ‘You and your Aura – The Aquarian press Northhamptonshire 1987 ). The aura which Ostrom saw in nature, surrounding humans and gathering over performances at music concerts were not simple glowing lights but composed of varied shimmering colours of the rainbow. He also developed the ability to interpret the colours in the aura to indicate whether there was an inherent disease in the subject and to define the personality and circumstances of an individual’s life. He also undertook to draw auric portraits of subjects and to analyse them for their benefit.


Joseph Ostrom’s Auric Portrait showing upper and lower auric bodies, rays and Guide spheres in the colours he saw

He reveals that the lower auric body has five distinct bands. the first three together constitute the health aura. The next two are concerned with the emotional and mental states of a person. While the three inner bands are dense the two outer ones are subtle and therefore more difficult to see with the naked eye even by adept metaphysicians.


The five inner auric bodies and the Higher Auric body seen as a crescent – lower part of the upper ovoid

The first auric band appears as a white bluish field clinging all around the contours of the physical body. The emanations from this aura reflect a person’s physical health, motivations and personality.. This is the physical aura. The next is the etheric aura and the third is the vital auric body. According to Ostrom if medical personnel were trained to view and interpret these fields, very serious diseases could be diagnosed and treated before they fully manifest.  For beginners the first auric field is most easily seen around the fingers. It appears as a a colourless gap surrounding the body. When in good health this band is clear and uniform but bulges at the point of ill health near the affected part of the body. The bulge of the physical auric body will push aside the next auric band the etheric creating a hole and entering the third, the vital auric body.

The subtle body also called the etheric double is an exact replica of its physical counterpart our body. It is a matrix created out of energies from the non-physical realm and upon it is based the shape and form of the physical body. Without this matrix the physical body would disintegrate. At the moment of death it is this etheric double with its auric emanations that carry the soul to other levels in the non-physical world. Emanations from this matrix constitute the Etheric Auric Body, the second auric band around our body. This Etheric Auric Body extends some 4 inches in all directions from our physical body. It appears as a light blue or greyish smoky emanation around the body. In diagnosing disease this auric band plays an important role.

The third auric band is the Vital Auric Body extending some 6 inches from the second band and appears as  radiant fingers of light extending outwards in all directions. It radiates energy outwards but also draws energy from the sun and the environment inwards to nourish the physical body. When illness affects a region the Vital Auric Body’s radiance shrinks.

The next auric band, the fourth is the Astral Auric Body and is the largest. It can be two feet wide extending from the Vital Auric Body. It is in the shape of an ovoid around the body. Emanations from the subtle body create the Astral Auric body which we use in the course of our current life for our further spiritual evolution. The subtle body is the repository of our past Karmas and is the entity that survives death carrying the soul forward to its next incarnation. The Astral Auric body in individuals who are frank, open and uninhibited can appear to be brighter than the visible inner auric bodies, though this is rarely so. This is also called the emotional aura.

Negative experiences create negative thought forms that lodge in Chakras and auric bands creating disharmony, unease and disease. Those who can view the aura are able to see the negative thought forms as irregular sharp edged shapes disrupting the normal aura. Negative thought forms can lodge in the Astral Auric Body for a brief moment, years or even life times. When negative thought forms disrupt the fourth Chakra a person tends to overeat to protect the Chakra , temporarily resulting in accumulation of fat on the belly. When in good health the Astral Auric Body appears to have a bright sky blue sheen. This represents the ideal emotional state.

In a public gathering auras in a balanced mode infiltrate the auras of those in whose company they are and have a calming influence on disturbed individuals. In large groups the phenomenon of infiltration is more pronounced. An agitated and angry rally will infiltrate your Astral Auric body and produce the same sentiments as thought forms get lodged in your aura. Likewise positive energy emanating from a crowd can infiltrate your aura and produce positive effects.

Ostrom perceives anger manifesting as small angular chips of red near the heart Chakra interfering with the flow of energy, producing coldness and hardness of attitude. Depression appears as black clouds spreading over a large part of the Astral Auric Body. Just prior to a suicide the Astral Auric body would turn black with little residue of energy.

The last of the five bands of the lower auric body is what Ostrom calls the Lower Mental Auric Body which reflects a person’s abilities on the conscious and intellectual level.  In the ideal state this band is bright and about 8 inches wide near the region of the head. It appears as a bright yellow band pushing outwards.

The higher auric bodies constitute a second ovoid above the head. The more spiritually evolved a person is , the closer the higher auric ovoid is to the persons head. It can range therefore from a few inches to 50 feet above the head. In case of saints, prophets, Gurus and enlightened people the higher auric body actually enters the lower auric body. The higher auric body is a powerful centre of stored energy. The outer contours of the higher aura are violet and its inner portion is dark blue.

The higher auric body consists of the higher Mental Auric Body and the Spiritual Auric body. The Higher Mental Auric body has energies which facilitate our higher mental activity. It is our link with the source of universal knowledge. At the core of the ovoid is the Spiritual Auric body radiant with white light. It is the place where our soul resides. The highest form of energy is manifested here and may be called our link with God. All the energy we use has its source here. From the crown Chakra this energy percolates down to the various Chakras in the body energizing them and their related organs.

Ostrom when studying the auras of his clients also found that there are other elements within the auric field such as incoming rays, spheres of Guide energies and thought forms.  These energized rays come from friends, teachers, spouses, people who care for us and entities who exist at other etheric levels such as Guides and Masters. they can also originate from beings who have known us in this and other life times.. The rays enter the aura and rejuvinate our Chakras with enhanced health, healing, intellectual attainments and evolution of the soul.  Vivid greens are healing rays and violet rays represent spiritual enhancement.. From a study of the colours of the rays Ostrom could deduce the nature of the help the clients were receiving. When the rays were distinct and straight  it meant that the client  was accepting the help; when meandering it meant that the support had not been absorbed and accepted. 


incoming rays, straight and meandering and Guide and Master spheres in the auric bodies

Guide and Master energies manifest as spheres of brilliant violet, gold and white light in the concerned band of the aura when sought consciously or unconsciously through prayer for support and healing. The location of a sphere near a Chakra is an  indication of the type of help being sought. Most of us have several such energies at work for our evolution.

Negative thought forms also lodge in our auras and have muddy hues and sharp edges. they arrive usually in childhood when there is trauma from frequent condemnation or criticism. they are the cause of disease and ailments and can be eradicated with constant influence of positive attitudes.. Positive thought forms also manifest temporarily when we have a sense of elation and lighten up the aura like fireworks, appearing and disappearing.

In his auric viewing Ostrom was also able to view the seven Chakras. Disturbance of the auric field near any Chakra were indication of special problems and issues related to those Chakras and the organs in their spheres of influence.

The analysis of different colours in the aura were an important element in Ostrom’s diagnosis of ailments and problems in the clients he studied. He also speaks of the importance of colour therapy to address ailments. The presence of green in the aura was indicative of healthy growth and healing activity; yellow indicated intellectual activity; orange, balance and harmony and recovery from illness; violet and indigo were evidence of intuition, spirituality and unlimited knowledge; red reflected negative elements active in the aura such as passion, lust anger and materialism; pink was evidence of love; gold and silver in rays and spheres showed presence of Guide energies at work to cleanse, heal and protect; brown was indicative of industry and organizational skills but was mainly negative reflecting selfish, hedonistic and materialistic traits; grey was again negative indicating a conventional mind set, closed personality, lacking in imagination and spirituality and evidence of depression; black also showed depression and white the cleansing radiance of Masters and Guides. At impending death the aura disappeared.

According to Ostrom there are minor Chakras in the hands also which can be used for ‘healing and sealing’ wounds after surgery. Surgery, physical traumas or disease will show as disruptions in the aura. Such holes in the aura will permit entry of infections in areas of injury. Placing hands over auric layers adjacent to a wound  enhances the healing process. Likewise crystals can also be used to focus energies on areas of the aura where wounds or disease are present. This has to be done with love being directed to the spot. Ostrom undertook numerous healing exercises in which doctors and medical personnel evinced great interest to learn more about the aura. Ostrom feels that one day the use of the aura in diagnosis and healing will be an inseparable part of the medical profession.


healing with hand Chakras

Ostrom concluded his book with a word on the ‘protective aura’ that one can create around oneself to ensure peace and avoid all intrusions of negativity in public and work places where one is most vulnerable. Place all your negative thoughts in an imaginary paper bag and toss it into a corner of the room. Inhale and say to the bag Time Out. Inhale again and after counting five let go all the remaining tension and relax. With your next inhalation  imagine your body is covered by a metallic gold foil which fills up like a balloon surrounding the outer edges of your aura. Its protective metallic sheen prevents any negativity from entering your aura. Fill the interior of the cocoon with effervescent rainbow light of positivity. Inhale this and relax. You are now protected from external negativity. This exercise can be done anywhere, at office, on a walk or in the car. If a negative thought should suddenly arrive from within to disrupt the cocoon, start again and rebuild it. Eventually you will retain it and be relieved of all negativity in your safe aural cocoon.


The protective aura




Some say we should live

In the present.

But what about memory

That make up our thoughts

From remote corners

Of the mind?

And from that deep ocean

Arise whales

Sharks and leaping dolphins,

Octopus changing colours.

Like the producers of theatre

We conjure

 Costumes, protagonists, themes

 In vivid detail 

In fabulous dreams.

Thoughts sprout from nowhere

From the distant past suddenly

Transfix one neuron

Into focus on

A personage long gone

As if he were here,

Juxtapose a face to a name forgotten.

Songs follow one another

Before one closes

We can hear the echoes

Of the next one.

We thrive on the past

The structure and foundation

On which the present stands.

We remember

We recall

The deeply imprinted marks

Of our footprints in fossil

Fingerprints in amber

DNA in genes

Without them the present

Would be as meaningless 

As a seizure

Of Alzheimer’s.

The past is indeed 

The present

The present is the past

We cannot live in a present

Never without the past.

Let no one say

The present is all

For we are what is memory

We are what are thoughts

We are what is the past

The present is thus recast.


White cheeked Bulbul

Aware of your presence

Cocks his proud plume,

Hops close, checks

Expectant, cheeky

Cute and personal,



Tiny yellow flower

Turns to meet the sun-god

As his glow sweeps across the horizon,

Like a sensor,

Without moving any muscle,



Horses blonde and black

Stand pensive

With secret dubious thoughts

Adorn undulating downs,

Cows nibble new shoots

Graze in green meadows.


The hills lush with pine

In ranges rise

To snow-capped mountain peaks,

Imperturbable roar

Of the river below

Speak of melting streams everywhere.


Clouds nestle here and there

Caught in the bosom

Of mountain valleys,

Meet the blue smoke

Rising from village hamlets below.


The great Raven caws

Plunging his beak in cattle-dung,

The blackbird’s song

As pilgrims throng

To the temple,

Beginning the journey

To the Phallic Ling

Of Amarnath,

The eternal Lord.


Herdsmen flushed

Chase sheep and mule,

All is still, magnificent

Not a leaf stirs

In this canvas

As twilight descends

And the air is rare

With forest fragrance

Embracing you

In single mindfulness

Without thought, calm

In this eternal valley

Of Pehelgam.


Then from the gathering

Cloud cover

It begins to rain

And all is

Obliterated again.







Buddhist teachings and sermons were presented by Gautam Sakyamuni more as a therapy to heal the human condition than as a creed to explain and disseminate eternal metaphysical truths. Buddha the enlightened one, held that suffering was the ailment afflicting the human condition and the prime purpose of his teachings was to find a method and a way to alleviate and heal that condition. Anything that did not directly address this goal was not relevant to his concerns. The Buddha was not therefore interested in Metaphysical issues and refrained from commenting on them. Concepts such as God, Universal Spirit, Supersoul, an eternal universe, divinity and the nature of the Soul were therefore not commented upon. The Buddha implied to his disciples that discussion of such metaphysical questions ( aplenty at the time) did not in any way help in meeting his primary concern that of relieving mankind of its suffering and was therefore beyond the scope of his teachings. His only practical intent was to help people overcome their suffering rather than to propagate a grand creed or proselytize fundamental metaphysical truths. His teachings were also not intended for the disinterested masses but meant to help the few who genuinely desired to benefit from his methods to alleviate suffering. His sermons were therefore like a therapy only for the interested and he acted more like a physician than an apostle, concerned only with removing pain.

Thus emerge the Four Noble Truths: (1) All life is sorrowful and full of suffering. (2) The cause of suffering are ignorance (avidya) and desire (trishna) that follow from the fact that human existence is transitory and ephemeral. (3) the assertion that suffering can be removed. (4) The method of removing suffering and cessation of pain was the path to liberation – the Eight Fold Path : right view, intention, speech, action, livelihood, endeavour, mindfulness, and contemplation or meditation. The method was pragmatic and psychological with no philosophical explanation being provided about man and the universe. This method was also called the middle path, avoiding extremes of sensual indulgence and asceticism, also the path which avoided both skepticism and dogmatic metaphysical assertions. The Eight Fold Path led to liberation from suffering and pain, helping in attaining Nirvana. Nirvana is understood as a transcendental state where suffering, desire and the ego have been overcome and there is release from the effects of Karma and the cycles of death and rebirth. In essence this path entails adoption of the right attitude where egoistic feelings are eradicated, the resultant renunciation arouse in man love for all creatures. This altruism and compassion make for a righteous life. Non violence in action speech and thought are also enjoined with emotional equilibrium, friendliness, compassion, cheerfulness and impartiality.

The Buddha denied the authority of the Vedas and rejected the ubiquitous caste system. His teachings found favour with the highest in the land and a succession of great emperors, Ashoka and Kanishka converted to Buddhism and sought to propagate his teachings at home and in distant lands. Ashoka arranged great Buddhist councils for discussion of Buddhist tenets. In succeeding centuries great emissaries would come from China and carry back the message and teachings of the master, spawning indigenous sects in China, Central Asia, Mongolia, Tibet, Japan, Indo- China and the Far East. Nalanda near Patna became a great centre of Buddhist learning under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th century A.D. and continued to attract scholars and pilgrims right to the 12th century.

Buddhism was influenced by the Upanishadic concepts of Karma and rebirth and assimilated into its theology. Yet the concept of the Soul was at variance with the Atman of Brahmanism. The entity which suffered rebirth time and again was no divine essence as in the case of the Atman concept, nor was it a pure crystalline life-monad called Jiva polluted by the effects of Karma as with the Jains, nor again did it approximate to the concept of pure consciousness, Purush as in Sankhya philosophy. The Buddha himself had asserted that ” all things are without a self (an-atta)”, denying any permanent reality as of a Soul force to the entity that gets reborn. What then in Buddhist thought is that which gets reborn from life time to life time experiencing suffering? It is explained as a kind of continuum of transient events that arise and dissolve following one another in a continuous chain of cause and effect of recurring ephemeral moments. No permanent entity exists. What appears as a unit is an aggregate of brief realities. There is no substance as individual or Soul, only a continuum of  ephemeral entities following one another, that give the impression of a unit. The process is phenomenal rather than substantial. Nirvana results in the recognition of this truth about oneself, the termination of the delusion that one is an ego entity.Unlike Brahmanism therefore there was no preoccupation with the concept of a Soul as a spark of divinity arising from the Universal Essence embedded in matter and being, for neither was there any discussion of such a divine essence nor of its corollary, the soul as a spiritual presence in the heart of man. This implied atheism arose from a pragmatic approach of being concerned only with man’s plight, here and now, and the method of finding a way to heal his condition of suffering.

buddha-nirvana-mediatationNirvana, enlightenment, is the realization that all phenomenality which appear as real are in fact a chain of fleeting momentary episodes. With such realization end desire, hopes and anxieties which are based on the erroneous thought of their substantial reality. Those gaining enlightenment are freed of the delusion of name and form. According to the Hinyana school’s version these brief episodes are real and substantial though ephemeral and instantly perishing, extending over several births but terminating with the dawning of the realization and ending with Nirvana. Nirvana itself was not substantial or a state of being. It consisted merely in the negation of the illusion. Enlightenment was not a state of being.

Without the presence of a surviving ego, the question arises how could the suffering be experienced. This is explained as arising not from an external source but a series of thoughts about suffering arising on their own  out of ignorance of the fleeting nature of reality. There was no thinker, only thought, no feeler only feelings, no actor only actions, no individual only minute consecutive units which created the illusion of an ongoing reality. There was no suffering ego, only the thought of suffering. Another school of Hinyana Buddhism attributed the suffering to actually arising from the external world despite the absence of an enduring individual. While the Hinyana schools held that the experience was ephemeral but real, the Mahayana school of Buddhism held that the phenomenality was not real but like a mirage or the waves of the sea. Like the sea there was a reality beyond the waves. The universe was both phenomenal and enduring. What was enduring alone contained the essence of existence, while the phenomenal was merely relative. Mahayana theology thus began veering towards the non-duality of Vedantic thought.

buddha-mindHere we become acquainted with the Buddhist concept of Void (Sunyata). The only truth, the essence of existence was the Void, a state of ‘suchness’ (tathata). Sunyata was the innermost essence of all things as contrasted with the ephemeral ever-changing illusion of being. The concept of the Void as innermost essence , though couched in negative terms was not nihilistic and appears to have a remarkable resemblance to what the Upanishads had termed as Brahman. We therefore see that despite the Buddha’s reluctance to engage in metaphysical discourse, later Buddhists eventually got involved in intense debate on metaphysics. The greatest proponent of the concept of Sunyata was the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. philosopher and metaphysician Nagarjuna to whom is attributed the laying of the foundations of Mahayana Buddhism. The concept of the void was the ineffable truth.   Nagarjuna describes this highest goal of enlightenment in negative terms thus:

nagar jun

Chinese painting of Nagarjuna

”It cannot be called void or not void, or both or neither, but in order to indicate it, it is termed void” 

Sunyata has no cause, is beyond thought and conception, unborn and immeasurable. This absolute is neither existent nor non-existent, nor both existent and non-existent, nor different from both non-existence and existence. It is neither being nor non-being. Sunyata is identified with pure consciousness, pure thought and true wisdom.

Whatever appears to exist arises from imagination. All thoughts arise from an eternal source which is a kind of repository of all images and ideas. This is called the Abode of Consciousness (Alaya-Vijnana), the ‘suchness’ (tathata), the Void. This Alay Vijnana repository is beyond conception and imagination holding the potentiality of all thought. We can liken it to the nuclear physicist Bohm’s Implicate Order, the bio-chemist Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic field and Quantum Physics’ Zero Point field. All apparent phenomena arise like waves from this ocean and disperse again immediately into its infinite vortex. Upon contact with it through enlightenment the individual ceases to exist, the mental state of the self-aware ego dissolves in it. The concept of Alay Vijnana, Sunyata and Nirvana are interchangable. It is evidently the Buddhist equivalent of  Brahman.

nagarjuna-qpAn important metaphysical question arises when pondering the concept of Alay Vijnana. If it is the pure repository consciousness, pure thought abiding in itself, peaceful and tranquil and quiescent how or why does its essence get stirred to produce a phenomenal world full of the imperfections of Karma, producing every kind of pain and suffering. Do the attributes of ignorance and desire pre-exist in that repository like seeds and therefore produce the phenomenal world as it is? In such a case rather than non-dual, the Void would have the quality of duality, with an active principle (avidya) and a passive principle (Alay). this troubling enigma was sought to be explained in the 5th century by the masters Asanga and Vasubandhu when they asserted that the repository contained both good and bad. This was strikingly similar to the Hindu view that the Universal Essence through the Godhead Vishnu and Shiva produced both demons and gods, malevolent and benign beings having their origins in the Essence. The pairs of opposites proceeded from the same source while indeed surpassing them. Thus the Alay, the repository, germinates both good and evil while transcending them. The seeker after enlightenment  clears away the gross and views the perfection of the jewel. The gross was in any case a result of ignorance and when that was dispelled the jewel shone. This however appears as an irreconcilable paradox. Karma then becomes the seed in the Alay and the source of creation of the phenomenal world. But this is relative to the level of ignorance of the unreal individual. Both the individual and his Karma having their source in Alay, including the hells he experiences, are unreal; Karma is an imaginary seed embedded in Alay producing an imaginary world – the one attaining enlightenment realizes this and the paradox is resolved.


Bodhisattva Padampani Ajanta caves

The Bodhisattva is an important concept in Buddhism. A compassionate being like Jesus and Krishna. The Bodhisattva is one who on the verge of gaining enlightenment renounces Nirvana until such time that all beings are able to gain it before him. This is an expression of supreme compassion for all beings and the ultimate sacrifice for the salvation of the world. The quality of compassion (Karuna) is epitomized in the Boddhisattva and reflects his understanding of the Void. Compassion is indeed a fundamental reflex of Sunyata. In fact it is on account of a Bodhisattva’s compassion that a Buddha comes into this world. Compassion is indeed present in all creatures as an indication of their potential to be Bodhisattvas. It is through compassion that things become manifest. The universe is compassion and this is also known as Sunyata, the Void. the primary attributes of the Bodhisattva are compassion, generosity, total absence of ego, absolute wisdom and omnipotence. the bodhisattva is a reflection of the Void.                                                                   

 yab yum 2The compassion of the void is best represented in Mahayana Buddhism in the Tibetan icon of Yab-Yum. The male and female form in intimate embrace highlight metaphysical non-duality and the sexual act brings the individual to experience that non-duality of the Void. Contemplation of  the Icon helps the seeker to a realization of the essence of the Void. This is the Mahayana doctrine of Mahasukh or Great Delight.

Buddhism is not a faith in the sense that following the Buddha’s precepts one becomes a ‘Buddhist’. For the Buddha there was no such category. In his Majjhima Nikaya the Medium Length dialogues he asserts that the doctrine becomes meaningless and is to be cast away much like a ferry-boat that has helped you reach the ‘other shore’ is allowed to drift downstream without a backward glance. It is only relevant for the passengers who are still journeying to the other shore. Having reached the ‘other shore’ there is neither a ferry-boat nor a river, nor the far shore of worldly existence that has been left behind. Indeed there is not even a ferryman, the Buddha either. The dualistic perception of two shores must end with enlightenment. The streams of rebirth along the way, the worldly life of Samsara and even the attainment of enlightenment, Nirvana are no longer there. The dream vanishes with the awakening, the rainbow of effort, striving, journey and realization all disappears. All submerge in the void. The long journey of causation, Karma has no longer any reality. Nirvana itself on attainment becomes meaningless. the concept is only relevant so long as the journey is not complete as an aid to understanding. Thereafter there is only the silence of the Void. The Buddha refused to discuss nirvana except as the goal to be attained. Nirvana means extinction and was an aid to ending delusion and could not be said to be a state of being. The boat of Buddhism did not exist after reaching the ‘other shore’, neither did a boatman, the Buddha. The question of worshiping such a boatman simply did not arise. The doctrine was not to become a foundation on which a great and elaborate creed could be erected. The paradox of Buddhism is that on reaching the other shore there was nothing, neither shores nor river nor passengers not ferryboat nor boatman. There was no longer anyone seeking enlightenment or attaining enlightenment – indeed there was no longer Nirvana – there was only the Void.

Early Buddhist sculpture do not depict the Buddha and only show an empty space under the Bo-tree emphasizing his state of ’emptiness’. In Mahayana metaphysics it is sometimes asserted that no Buddha ever came to enlighten a world which in any case only existed in the imagination.

buddha amravati

The Mahayana text Prajnaparamita carries a dialogue between the Buddha and his disciple which revealingly epitomizes the paradox;

The disciple Subhuti said: ”Profound O venerable One is the perfect Transcendental Wisdom.”

Said the Venerable One; ”Abysmally profound, like the space of the universe, O Subhuti, is the Transcendental Wisdom.”

The disciple Subhuti said again:” Difficult to be obtained through awakening is the perfect Transcendental Wisdom, O Venerable One”.

Said the Venerable One; ” that is the reason ,O Subhuti, why no one ever attains it through awakening”.






F  A  M  I  L  Y


Her glow is frail fair limb,

In the hollows for cradling,

Lace of blue veins,

Thought plug

Conceals live wiring,


Long into the embryonic past receding,

A powerful emotion

Telescopes it ever,




For what is just right,

An unerring instinct

She warmly displays;


All my erratics,

Her thread

Hold our beads

Firmly together;




Bright daffodil daughter

In twin pigtails

Like wings,

Flutter in her self made songs

As she amuses

Herself with her playthings

Or hops steps

And jumps along

Beyond the simple

Pure and trusting

Ten, unmindful,

Costume jewellery

And all.



Intense, precisely measured

Keenly watching

Eyes whose

Enormous trust

You cannot just fail

To match,


Three foot omnipresence

That smiles uncomprehendingly

Therefore forgivingly

When you fail him,

Impels the best

Out of your

Grave limitations.



You cannot trust him entirely

To let you down,

Somewhere he will be


Prove that years of experience

Still leave him uncynical,

Yet now

With the lifting

Of your rose-tinted childhood,

He does betray

What his tight set curls

And weak memory

Had striven hard to conceal

But cannot escape

Your own grey-haired 




The monstrous possibility

Of a trust molested

Unfeelingly like

The knowledge

That it was never the sun

that swung around you,

Begins to erase

The foundations

Of your first presumptions.

A trusted custodian’s pilferage

Of your wealth

Prepares you

To doubt

There can be absolutes,

That you may well if in a corner

Revert just to yourself




You may

But must not fail, 

Transcending equations

Of give and take,

For it is in giving that we receive

And in receiving that we take

And yet

It remains





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