Author Topic: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:  (Read 1547 times)

Subramanian.R

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In 1975, at the age of 27,  I experienced a spiritual rebirth during a long hitchhike through the U.S. and
Canada.  The first phase was seeing a brighter side of life and people as basically good and benevolent
rather than, as i had thought prior to the journey, evil and selfish.  This attitude had been partly the result
of reading the newspapers too much and listening to daily news -broadcasts about disasters and the
deceitful behavior of people. I had become a cynical pessimist.

My renewed interest in spirituality came through Eastern influences that proved a refreshing relief from
the hell-fire and damnation that was the message received from the religion of my childhood.  I began
reading many books from various sources including the Sankhya philosophy of Hinduism and popular
Western works on Eastern philosophy and religion.  Alan Watts' beautiful works on the playfulness of God
especially inspired me. I learned of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda but was never
able to find it in the time in the Western bookstores I searched, though it must have been there.  At a later
date the book did come into my life and exerted a powerful influence.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2016, 11:20:28 AM »
Having been raised as a Catholic I wondered about the strange ways of a God who could give us prophets
and saints hundreds of years ago, who were now no longer to be found.  We seemed forsaken.
I read Be Here Now by Ram Dass, the American disciple of Neemkaroli Bala, and quickly became aware that
such saints abound in India even today.  From that point onward i could not sit still, and set out making plans
to go find them for myself. I had by that time learned the all important principle that it is the Guru who draws
devotee to him, despite the devotee's feeling that it is he who is exercising his free will in deciding to find the
Guru.

My trip to India in 1977 entailed flying from Toronto to London, hitchhiking to the English coast, taking a ferry
to Holland, and then hitchhiking from there into Germany, Denmark, back down through Germany, Austria,
Italy and Yugoslavia till I reached the Greek Islands.  I traveled in an inspired mood and planned especially
to visit the island of Crete in Greece, which I had heard was a spiritually charged place.  I spent six weeks
in the Mediterranean on the three islands of Corfu, Crete and Rhodes.  I had set out to hitchhike as far as
it proved worthwhile mode of transportation, but that half died in Italy and became hopeless in Yugoslavia.
So from Greece I traveled by bus through Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistan and into India.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2016, 11:57:38 AM »
It was during my southern trip to Germany that the life altering event happened.  One day after being
dropped on the autobahn near Stuttgart, I stood by the roadside beckoning for my next ride.  I was there
for four hours, but in the long delay the most amazing thing happened.  The longer I waited the stronger
the feeling came to me that something great was coming.  I had no idea what it could be and the thought
occurred that perhaps I might get a lift all the way to India.  I waited and waited and nobody stopped for
me but, incredibly, I grew more optimistic.  Hunger and tiredness were ignored in favor of anticipation
of this coming blessing which I palpably felt approaching.  Finally a Volkswagen van pulled over with
some young hippy types inside.  The ride they gave me was for only 15 minutes.  I got in and a young
a bearded man named Dietmar asked where I was going.  I answered 'India'.  He said, 'I have a house in
India and I am not using it.  Would you like the key?'  I said, 'Sure' and he wrote down  on a scarp of
paper, 'Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai,Tamizh Nadu', and then added 'OM'. He gave me a small
key, which I attached to a string, and carried around my neck for the next two months that it took me to
reach my final destination, Arunachala.

This key was the culmination of my wait in tat state of great anticipation for that miracle which I expected,
without knowing exactly what would happen. I knew without a doubt that this gift was the key to my soul.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       
                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2016, 11:33:57 AM »
Along the rest of the way to India I did meet someone who knew a bit about Tiruvannamalai.  He told
me that there was a mountain with some cottage on the hillside.  Dietmar's house, which I thought might
become my 'cottage',  I eventually discovered on arrival at Arunachala, to be a dilapidated shack beside
a tea shop in front of the Asramam.  It was Raja, the old ex post master and Asramam inmate, who figured
out which hut Dietmar used to occupy, and indeed the key around my neck did open the door to the hovel
which, as it was the rainy season, had a roof that leaked on to a mud floor.  It was not suitable for occupation.
I was to discover the that the Guru does indeed move in mysterious ways.

This was in September 1977.  Though I had never heard of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi or seen His
face, my days of travel for travel's sake came to an end upon reaching Tiruvannamalai.

On my trip to India while in New Delhi I had stopped to look at a hawker's books laid out on a thirty
foot stretch of the public walkway at Connaught Circus.  I felt a book about fifteen feet away beckoning
to me; the face on the cover was shining a light to me. I went to see what it could be. It was the face
of Paramahansa Yogananda on the cover of Autobiography of a Yogi, the long elusive book I had searched
for many months.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 10:09:22 AM »
I bought the book and, reading it, I traveled through the parts of India he described.  He was with me
guiding me.  I became interested in yoga.  I previously thought yoga meant only hatha yoga, but learned
of kriya yoga and raja yoga. Bhagavan further blessed me with a living guru, Sri Parameswar, who taught me raja yoga as well as kirya yoga.

When I first read Sri Bhagavan's teaching in the book, Talks, I found them uninspiring.  I came from the
Bhakti Marga so when first contemplating self inquiry, though I knew a little about what it meant, I could
not find the emotion for spiritual fervor in it.  I was accustomed to religion being emotional - Jesus on the   
Cross, the Christian Martyrs, the lives of Saints, suffering and sacrifices, miracles, visions  and visitations,
Lourdes, Fatima and most recently the amazing experiences of Yogananda, many of which were quite
spectacular. 

Later I came to realize that the combination of solemnity and intensity of feeling one harbors towards
God is the same delicacy or solemnity one should adopt in the path of self inquiry.  Realization must be
of utmost subtlety - transcendental and indescribable.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2016, 10:59:14 AM »
The devotion that South Indians naturally have towards God or Isvara makes a difference for them  --
they naturally recognize the Divine in life.  Westerners, especially those of us from northern and materially
developed countries, with the exception of he passionately devoted to  South European countries such as
Spain and Italy, lack the yearning to realize a happier truth than this material life.  Most in fact, wish to get
even better with the consequent incremental satisfactions the pleasures of the world offer;  and they tend
to aspire to an after life heaven very much like an earthy Utopia.

In my early days at Arunachala, I had a vivid dream.  Bhagavan was seated in a room with many people
and I was there with my Guru who suggested to Bhagavan that I give a discourse to those present on some
spiritual subject.  Bhagavan gave permission and I carried on at some length discussing aspects of spiritual
life I had memorized from book learning.  Finally Bhagavan approached me and, blessing me by putting
His hand on the right side of my chest, He said, 'This is spiritualism, not truck driving'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2016, 02:54:14 PM »
I awoke from the dream thrilled at having received His personal direct blessing and I absorbed His
instruction:  That way of showing off limited knowledge by preaching to others was not the way.
A little knowledge and a little understanding does not make a man a Guru, nor does preaching bring
us closer to our goal, rather the opposite, it fans the flames of the ego.  I had thought that by copying
what I had seen others do meant I was doing well, but He was telling me not to go down that path,
but rather be quiet and absorb the truth inwardly.

How my view on spiritual life changed as a result of absorbing Sri Bhagavan's teachings and coming under
His influence is the most important lesson I can pass onto others. From this perspective one can see that
Bhagavan's teachings are not an intellectual exercise. So many devotees, I later discovered, get together
in what way they call Satsangh, to discuss the philosophy of Bhagavan as an intellectual exercise.  Many
people especially Westerners, seem to need some intellectual satisfaction.  In the beginning I suspected
that self inquiry was for those who lacked devotion to God but over time and perhaps with some maturity,
I realized that a balanced intellectual understanding illuminates the true import of the teachings.   However,
too much intellectualism can create a supeflous barrier of concepts. Why confound the mind with mental
gymnastics when elimination of the mind by letting thoughts subside is what Bhagavan prescribed?
At first I too failed to recognize the sublimity of the goal, and indeed the supremacy of Bhagavan Himself.         

So many books of Bhagavan's words are produced that it is easy to miss the fact that He was mostly silent.
One might get the impression that He sat all day, every day, expounding teachings.  This was not His way.
At the end of the Gospel of St. John it is written that if the Evangelist could have written everything out
Lord Jesus said, it would cover the world with books.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             

Subramanian.R

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Re: Journey of Faith - Niall Anglin - Mountain Path - Jayanti 2005:
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2016, 03:06:05 PM »
I think the books we have of Sri Bhagavan's spoke words pretty well cover everything He said IN WORDS.
Of course over the many years, He resided at His earthly abode He spoke in ample measure, but from this
accumulation of words His central message and who He is can be missed. He is the silent teacher, indeed
the Self, Arunachala.  He Himself told of Sri Dakshinamurty, the silent guru, who actually started teaching
in words but finally resorted to silence to convey the highest truth.  It is as though he might be saying,
"Let them have some words to draw their minds here, and then they can received This essential teaching
in silence."

As a Christian and a devotee of Lord Jesus I felt him guiding me to India as a companion and friend.
I believe he called me for a higher learning, a final path.  It was revealed to me that no greater soul
than Sri Bhagavan has ever occupied a physical body.

Bhagavan showed us a direct path to the clear, unmistakable goal. In the stillness of our being we can that
happiness we long for, the peace that surpasses all understanding.  He showed by His life and His teachings
and by His Divine Presence how it is possible to do so and He assures us it is right at hand, it is always and
already there.

Love consists in sharing
What one has
And what one is
With those one loves.

Love
ought to show itself
In deeds
more than in words.

-  Ignatius of Loyola.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.