While a literal reading of this week’s verse from the Tao Te Ching offers a potent packet of wisdom, I find it more interesting to read with the awareness that the “country” is our own individual self and “wise governance” comes when we live from and of the Self…
Tao Te Ching Verse 80
If a country is governed wisely, its inhabitants will be content. They enjoy the labor of their hands and don’t waste time inventing labor-saving machines. Since they dearly love their homes, they aren’t interested in travel. There may be a few wagons and boats, but these don’t go anywhere. There may be an arsenal of weapons, but nobody ever uses them. People enjoy their food, take pleasure in being with their families, spend weekends working in their gardens, delight in the doings of the neighborhood. And even though the next country is so close that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking, they are content to die of old age without ever having gone to see it.
I found this verse such a beautiful evocation of the yogic practice of contentment, aka santosha, I also brought in Edwin Bryant, Chip Hartranft and Mukunda Stiles’ versions of Patanjali-Yoga-Sutra, II:42. I didn’t have time to read EB in class but will include that here.
Contentment brings unsurpassed joy. (CH)
From contentment one gains supreme happiness. (MS)
From contentment, the highest happiness is attained. (EB)
[santoshad anuttamaha sukha-laabhaha]
Here’s this week’s dharma talk which unpacks all of the above. Ordinarily I would write more but am feeling under the weather so will let my dharma talk do the talking for this post…
I’ll leave the final word to Mary Oliver…
Today I’m flying low and I’m not saying a word I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I’m traveling a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.
Early in the morning we crossed the ghat, where fires were still smoldering, and gazed with our Western minds, into the Ganges. A woman was standing in the river up to her waist; she was lifting handfuls of water and spilling it over her body, slowly and many times, as if until there came some moment of inner satisfaction between her own life and the river’s. Then she dipped a vessel she had brought with her and carried it filled with water back across the ghat, no doubt to refresh some shrine near where she lives, for this is the holy city of Shiva, maker of the world, and this is his river. I can’t say much more, except that it all happened in silence and peaceful simplicity, and something that felt like the bliss of a certainty and a life lived in accordance with that certainty. I must remember this, I thought, as we fly back to America. Pray God I remember this.
Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
And close with class chanting of Om Namah Shivaya and final dharana...
Class resumed last week after our summer break. And for this next teachings cycle, we’re going back to Stephen Mitchell’s version of the Tao Te Ching. Those of you who’ve been around for awhile will remember I started writing this blog in 2010 when we were reading this very same text. I thought, this time round, let us begin at the end and move towards the beginning. Time and duality being so illusory, why give into their status quo…
So we begin with Verse 81:
Tao Te Ching Verse 81
True words aren’t eloquent;
eloquent words aren’t true.
Wise men don’t need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.
The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.
The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads.
Needless to say, this verse encapsulates everything one ever needs to know. And makes therefore a perfect partner to one of the core mantras of Monday Night Class, Om Namah Shivaya…
Here’s the opening dharana and my dharma talk, which runs around 20 minutes. I usually, edit out everything extraneous from these talks. Road noise, coughing, banter, etc. But the banter on this recording so captures the joyous spirit of Monday Night Class, I’m leaving it all there.
For visitors to this blog who’ve never attended the live class, enjoy. For everyone who does, you may find yourself LOL. And fyi, this talk is unpacking more of the above re the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching and how that wisdom and the wisdom/consciousness embedded in ONS are one and the same…
DanielJ and his miraculous tabla were at this class so we mostly chanted. Which was a glorious way to begin the new fall season. For that however, you had to be there 😉 No recording…..
“WHEN WE LIVE IN THE QUESTION EVERYTHING WE SAY IS MUSIC.”
Attaining this state, he knows
that there is no higher attainment,
he is rooted there unshaken
even by the deepest sorrow.
This is the true yoga; the unbinding
of the bonds of sorrow. Practice
this yoga with determination
and with a courageous heart. [6.22-23]
This is the week of the Summer Solstice. For those who don’t pay attention to these cosmic moments, it occurred in our Northern Hemisphere at 12:24 AM EDT on Wednesday, June 21. And even the next day’s Senate healthcare debacle could not undermine the wonder of sunlight stretching into the evening. The Summer Solstice is a day I’ve always loved, revered even. But this year, I was strangely out of sorts, a mental state that knocked me from the ground I tend to move from, and, as bad luck would have it, sent me tumbling down a flight of stairs. Well, it wasn’t really bad luck. It was me not paying attention. I tripped on my cat Lily who was sleeping on the top step. I’d seen her there on the way up, but forgot she was there on the way down. And down I went. All the way down. 10 steps down to be exact. It’s a miracle I didn’t sprain, break, or concuss myself. Which is not to say I’m not feeling sore, bruised, and tender. I am. Quite.
Paying attention. One cannot take the practice deep enough. Had you seen me on Wednesday as I headed towards those stairs, you’d have seen a woman who appeared totally focused on what she was doing, who appeared to be paying attention. The problem was, what looked like focus was actually compulsion. Compulsion to complete a task. Compulsion that flung my awareness into a future event that never even happened.
What did happen is I got all banged up and will need at least a week to fully recuperate. But who cares about me. The poor cat was so freaked out, she hid under my bed for hours. My daughter had to sacrifice an evening to take care of me. And I had to cancel a long-planned visit with my niece. That’s a lot of inconvenience to others for my momentary lapse of attention.
Or as our charlatan in the White House would say, “not good.”
We spend so much time in our limited and limiting head space—and I’m not even talking about on our devices—that we miss what’s actually happening. We’re often not really here. Which is such a shame. Because here is so very precious.
Walking seems to help my bruised and battered body so I ambled over to the Farmer’s Market yesterday. Early summer abundance. Heads of lettuce, bags of spinach, boxes of sweet peas, bunches of arugula, turnips, beets, green onions, garlic scapes, herbs, buckets of blueberries, fresh eggs, local cheese. And the flowers. OMG. The flowers were amazing. Walking home I felt so simply happy. It didn’t matter that everything hurt, that I was tired, thirsty, hungry, and needing to lie down. None of that mattered. My joy in the preciousness of life was so much bigger than that temporary discomfort. So much bigger.
Which is what the Bhagavad Gita is all about. Which is why we’ve been reading the Gita as we live through this Trumpian age. Because the awareness and call to right action articulated in this elegant text is the most potent medicine we have to counter the rampant destruction that will characterize this dark and chilling moment in our history.
Here’s the opening dharana and dharma talk from June 12. I usually edit out class banter but thought I’d leave it in for a change…
Here are the Mary Oliver poems we read:
THE MAN WHO HAS MANY ANSWERS
The man who has many answers is often found in the theaters of information where he offers, graciously, his deep findings.
While the man who has only questions, to comfort himself, makes music.
POEM OF THE ONE WORLD
This morning the beautiful white heron was floating along above the water
and then into the sky of this the one world we all belong to
where everything sooner or later is a part of everything else
which thought made me feel for a little while quite beautiful myself.
Here are the Gita verses, [18-23]:
With a mind grown clear and peaceful, freed from selfish desires, absorbed in the Self alone he is called a true man of yoga.
“A lamp sheltered from the wind which does not flicker’ — to this is compared the true man of yoga whose mind has vanished in the Self.
When his mind has become serene by the practice of meditation, he sees the Self through the self and rests in the Self, rejoicing.
He knows the infinite joy that is reached by the understanding beyond the senses; steadfast, he does not fall back from the truth.
Attaining this state, he knows that there is no higher attainment, he is rooted there unshaken even by the deepest sorrow.
This is the true yoga; the unbinding of the bonds of sorrow. Practice this yoga with determination and with a courageous heart.
CHAPTER FIVE: THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION IT’S NOT REALLY ABOUT THE RESULTS, WE JUST THINK IT IS….
The resolute in yoga surrender
results, and gain perfect peace;
the irresolute, attached to results,
are bound by everything they do. [5.12]
The practice of renunciation comes up in every religion and sacred tradition. It’s also an important element in recovery and self-improvement programs. In all these systems, renunciation is a penance, a giving up of something that gives us pleasure, a choosing, in other words, to suffer. And this renouncing is done in order to achieve a certain goal.
The Yoga of Renunciation flips this notion on its head. In Yoga, we renounce not only that which causes suffering, (i.e. attachment and identification with our psycho/emotional narratives.) We also renounce the fruit of our actions, letting go of goal-oriented focus and motivation.
There’s a great deal of paradox here. When I talked about how this work of yogic renunciation may be the hardest thing we ever do, one of my long-time Monday Nighters made a great point. She said from her perspective, not doing it is even harder. Yes and yes. The final irony being that what we’re renouncing doesn’t actually exist. But that’s a topic for another time…
Another bizarre week on the political scene where the Yoga of Not-Renunciation abounds. Here we see everything the Gita warns against. It’s been fascinating to watch this karma playing out. Too soon to know how this scandalous scandal-ridden chapter in American history will end. And they will do a lot of damage before that happens. Still, nonstop leaks, gaffes, and investigations are outing the craven corruption and naked lies that drive Trump and the Republican agenda. And the truth begins to roar.
Here’s May 15’s dharma talk. If you don’t have time to listen, a few short quotes:
“The ego thinks it’s all coming from it. That small sense of “I.” It thinks it’s the doer. It’s not. And that sense of “I’m the doer” creates the sense of isolation and alienation that creates so many of the maladies that plague our culture. We’re not isolated. We’re not alienated. We’re very much part of this ginormous matrix of Creation and that’s what’s carrying us.”
“Who cares about reincarnation. It’s irrelevant. It’s enough that we keep the spaces we move through clear. So we don’t leave a mess we then need to clean up.”
Here are the Gita verses we read:
You have praised both renunciation and the yoga of action, Krishna. Tell me now: of these two, which is the better path?
THE BLESSED LORD SAID:
Renunciation and yoga both lead to the ultimate good; but of the two paths, Arjuna, yoga is the more direct.
The true renunciate neither desires things nor avoids them; indifferent to pleasure and pain he is easily freed from all bondage.
Fools say that knowledge and yoga are separate, but the wise do not. When you practice one of them deeply, you gain the rewards of both.
The state reached by true knowledge is reached by yoga as well. Both paths lead to the Self; both lead to selfless action.
It is hard to renounce all action without engaging in action; the sage, wholehearted in the yoga of action, soon attains freedom.
Wholehearted, purified, mastering body and mind, his self becomes the self all beings; he is unstained by anything he does.
The man who has seen the truth thinks, “I am not the doer” at all times—when he sees, hears, touches, when he smells, eats, walks, sleeps, breathes,
when he defecates, talks, or takes hold, when he opens his eyes or shuts them; at all times he thinks, “This is merely sense-objects acting on the senses.”
Offering his actions to God, he is free of all action; sin rolls off him as drops of water roll off a lotus leaf.
Surrendering attachment, the sage performs all actions—with his body, his mind, and his understanding— only to make himself pure.
The resolute in yoga surrender results, and gain perfect peace; the irresolute, attached to results, are bound by everything they do.
Calmly renouncing all actions, the embodied Self dwells at ease as lord of the nine-gated city, not acting, not causing action.
It does not create the means of action, or the action itself, or the union of result and action; all these arise from Nature.
Nor does it partake of anyone’s virtuous or evil actions. When knowledge of the Self is obscured by ignorance, men act badly.
Here are the poems from Rabi’a, the beloved 8th century Sufi mystic, followed by two more from Hadwijch II, the lesser known but quite extraordinary 13th century Christian beguine. Note how both give the same teaching as the Gita with just a few strokes of the pen. Fyi, the images at the top of this post are Hadwijch facing Rabi’a.
I am fully qualified to work as a doorkeeper, and for this reason:
What is inside me, I don’t let out;
What is outside me, I don’t let in.
If someone comes in, he goes right out again—
He has nothing to do with me at all.
I am a Doorkeeper of the Heart, not a lump of wet clay. -Rabi’a (tr. by Charles Upton)
O my Lord,
if I worship you
from fear of hell, burn me in hell.
If I worship you
from hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates.
But if I worship you
for yourself alone, grant me then the beauty of your Face. -Rabi’a (tr. by Jane Hirshfield)
the world’s things
Then the Naked
can grow wide,
embracing all -Hadewijch II (tr. by Jane Hirshfield)
You who want
seek the Oneness
the clear mirror
already waiting -Hadewijch II (tr. by Jane Hirshfield)
Finally, here’s audio of opening chanting that includes om tara tuttare ture swaha and om namah shivaya with a short dharana at the end weaving these two beautiful mantras together…
Here’s a short dharana leading into the classic version of om namah shivaya with a short dharana at the endleading into silent meditation:
APRIL 24, 2017, BHAGAVAD GITA TALK #9. WHEN A MAN HAS LET GO OF ATTACHMENTS, WHEN HIS MIND IS ROOTED IN WISDOM, EVERYTHING HE DOES IS WORSHIP AND HIS ACTIONS ALL MELT AWAY. GOD IS THE OFFERING, GOD IS THE OFFERED, POURED OUT BY GOD; GOD IS ATTAINED BY ALL THOSE WHO SEE GOD IN EVERY ACTION. [4.23-24]
I grew up without religious training or tradition. In our house, God was a strange word, rarely spoken, mostly disdained. So when I stumbled onto the yogic path and met Baba Muktananda, his core teaching, God dwells within you as you, struck me as the most radical thing I’d ever heard. It also struck me as absolutely true. So while the word itself is loaded and after all these many years still gives me a jolt, I do love the Gita verse I’ve quoted above: God is the offering, God is the offered, poured out by God; God is attained by all those who see God in every action. Yes!
Today we’re 99 days into the age of Trump. I keep thinking of the Upanishadic concept, neti neti, “not this, not this.” Anyone needing an example of everything that is not-God, need look no further than the Trump White House and Republican agenda, where neti neti, not-God, not-God, is on display day in day out…
Tomorrow is the People’s Climate March, happening on Trump’s hundredth day in office. If you’re on the fence about being part of this massive action, here’s a link to help you find a sister march.
I’ve lately been re-reading William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell. On the profoundly connected subjects of the climate march and God,I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes:
When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head!
For every thing that lives is Holy.
We’re back to Monday Night Class after a two-week break, digging into the Bhagavad Gita: Chapter Four, The Yoga of Wisdom. This is a very rich topic that lends itself to parallel readings. Here’s audio of my rather free-wheeling dharma talk. It begins with a lovely commentary connecting the Tara mantra to our readings of the Gita. I also brought in a lovely hasidic story and beautiful passage from a Mary Oliver essay on Walt Whitman. Enjoy.
Here are this week’s verses from the Gita:
Actions cannot defile me, since I am indifferent to results; all those who understand this will not be bound by their actions.
This is how actions were done by the ancient seekers of freedom; follow their example: act, surrendering the fruits of action.
What are action and inaction? This matter confuses even wise men; so I will teach you and free you from any harm.
You must realize what action is, what wrong action and inaction are as well. The true nature of action is profound, and difficult to fathom.
He who can see inaction in the midst of action, and action in the midst of inaction, is wise and can act in the spirit of yoga.
With no desire for success, no anxiety about failure, indifferent to results, he burns up his actions in the fire of wisdom.
Surrendering all thoughts of outcome, unperturbed, self-reliant, he does nothing at all, even when fully engaged in actions.
There is nothing that he expects, nothing that he fears. Serene, free from possessions, untainted, acting with the body alone,
content with whatever happens, unattached to pleasure or pain, success or failure, he acts and is never bound by his action.
When a man has let go of attachments, when his mind is rooted in wisdom, everything he does is worship and his actions all melt away.
God is the offering, God is the offered, poured out by God; God is attained by all those who see God in every action. [4.14-24]
Here are the parallel readings:
As the power of deliverance Tara is related to the goddess Durga, who similarly takes us across all difficulties. Hence she is also called Durga-Tara. Whereas Durga represents the power that overcomes or destroys obstacles and difficulties, Tara is the power which takes us beyond them. While Durga is more appropriate to call on in extreme danger wherein we need help against negative forces assailing us, Tara has the additional power to lift us up in life generally. Tara is the power to transcend all things. She not only lifts us beyond dangers but allows us to rise beyond our achievements and accomplishments to higher levels of realization. As the ultimate obstacle we have to cross over is our own mind, Tara provides the power to take us beyond the turbulent waves of our thought currents….
[David Frawley, Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses]
I celebrate myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loaf and invite my soul, I lean and loaf at my ease…observing a spear of summer grass.
In these lines the great work has begun, and the secret of success has been given. And what is that great labor? Out-circling interest, sympathy, empathy, transference of focus from the self to all else; the merging of the lonely single self with the wondrous, never-lonely entirety. This is all.
[Mary Oliver, Upstream]
A man who lived in the same town as Rabbi Zusya saw that he was very poor. So each day he went to the house of prayer and left twenty pennies so that Zusya and his family might eat. From that time on, the man grew richer and richer. The more he had, the more he gave Zusya, and the more he gave Zusya, the more he had.
One day he recalled that Zusya was the disciple of the great master, Rabbi Baer of Mezritch—and it occurred to him that if what he gave the disciple was so lavishly rewarded, he might become even more prosperous if he made presents to the master himself. So he travelled to Mezritch and made a substantial gift to Baer. From this time on, his means shrank until he lost all the profits he had made during the more fortunate period.
Taking his troubles to Rabbi Zusya, he told him the whole story and asked what his present predicament was due to. For had not the rabbi himself told him that his master was immeasurably greater than he?
Zusya replied: “Look! As long as you gave and did not bother to whom, whether to Zusya or another, God gave to you and did not bother to whom. But when you began to seek out especially noble and distinguished recipients, God did exactly the same.”
[Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart]
Finally, here’s audio of class chanting. This is the Tara mantra resolving into Om Namah Shivaya. This clip has a long slow fade-in so you may hear silence for the first 20 seconds.At around 3.40 minutes, I add a dharana on how these two mantras so beautifully complement and hold one another…
This week’s class fell on 6/06/16 which got me thinking about the significance of the number six. If you stop think about it, the number six is composed of 2 3’s and/or 3 2’s. The 2’s represent opposite poles and the movement towards balance. The 3’s represent a unifying synthesis, the sacred trinity we find in so many traditions. When you put that all together, you can see why you end up with a number that is connected to the exuberant amazing glorious expressive, and most of all life-giving Sun…
Here’s a quote from Vicki Noble’s Motherpeace Tarot:
The Sixes are full and expressive, a peak number, always expansive and positive in some way. Six represents exuberance or triumph, being on top of things. Like the Sun sitting at the center of the solar system, Six sits at the center of the Kabalistic Tree of Life and radiates out in every direction, saying, “yes!” Six represents a moment of decisive action or a climax of some sort, a moment of glory.
Which all seemed an excellent jumping off point for a class that constellated around the fifth Sun mantra, the creation story of Ganesha, and the inner possibility of soaring…
ॐ खगाय नमः
om khagāya namaḥ |
Salutations to Khaga, who travels the sky like a bird…
I love all the Sun mantras, but this is one that always jumps out at me. I love the image of light traveling through the sky like a bird. I also love the way “light” as in light and “light” as in lightness are so connected. Which gets me thinking about the incredible lightness of being we feel in the presence of people who are, well, full of light. People who have a buoyancy of spirit and soul that soars like a bird. And what a delight (there’s that word again) to have them in our lives. Because let’s face it. Most of us lean towards the heaviness of being. We are gravity-based creatures. And that’s not just the gravity of Earth. There’s a potent gravitational force in the demands of daily life, in the stress we hold in our bodies, in the narratives and belief systems that can (and often do) keep us down. Although we don’t like to admit it, many of us prefer to be stressed out. It’s familiar, provides solid reasons for everything that’s not working in our lives, and most of all, distracts us from remembering we are finite being living in an unfathomable mystery we will never be able to control. The irony being that the Mystery does seem to be made of light…
Here’s my opening dharana on the mantra Om Namaha Shivaya as a bird with two wings:
And here is this week’s dharma talk, a weaving of the well-known creation story of Ganesha from the Shiva Purana with 5th Sun mantra. I’m interested in what it takes to foster the incredible lightness of being embodied in Ganesha and articulated in this mantra. One point I didn’t get into in this talk is looking at Ganesha as a threshold keeper. If you look at the two common epithets assigned to “him,” Lord of Beginnings and Gatekeeper of the Sacred Feminine, you can see what I’m talking about. But what does that really mean, to be a threshold keeper. Ganesha resides in the space between, embodying a perfect balance, a lightness of being that makes it possible to ride on the back of mouse without crushing it. In my opinion, this is the reason for spiritual practice. So that we can walk lightly on the Earth, lightly through ups and downs of daily life, and perhaps most important since it makes these first two possible, walk lightly within ourselves…
The Glow of Your Presence Hafiz [English version by David and Sabrineh Fideler]
Where have you taken your sweet song?
Come back and play me a tune.
I never really cared for the things of this world.
It was the glow of your presence
that filled it with beauty.
The literal translation of the fourth Sun mantra, ॐ भानवे नमः om bhānave namaḥ is “Salutations to Bhānu, the bright splendor of light.” I’ve also seen it translated as “the diffuser of light.” Thinking about this week’s class, I was intrigued by the notion of diffusing, less as an aspect of the Sun — more in the way the mind diffuses light. Specifically that innate light otherwise knows as the inner Self. Which is the light that actually illuminates the mind so we’re even aware we’re thinking, let alone having peak experience enlightening flashes of insight.
When the mind is crystal clear, this inner light diffuses in its bright splendor aspect. When it’s not, the light diffusing through the mind’s lens (or lenses), will be distorted. Sometimes just a bit. Sometimes so much that it’s obliterated in the opacity.
Which brings me to the kleshas, those lovely lenses so brilliantly articulated in the great text of yogic psychology, Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra. If you’re new to this blog and/or unfamiliar with this text, do visit May 15, 2011 in the Archive. For a quick reference, here you go:
Avidya is the lens that clouds our ability to know our true nature, which according to Yoga is light.
Asmita is the lens that tricks us into buying into that small sense of self that is prone to suffering.
Raga is pleasure, which, when tangled up with avidya and asmita, gets us all caught up in clinging to what makes us feel good.
Dvesha is aversion, which when tangled up with avidya and asmita, creates a profound separation from everything and anything we label as “bad.”
Abinivesha is clinging to life (or any situation) because we fear death (or change).
Needless to say, the mind is a complex instrument, managing any number of receiving, perceiving, discerning, projecting, remembering, associating, etc. functions at the same time. And the kleshas are right in there, wreaking havoc in the process. So this week’s talk explores the relationship between the kleshas and this fourth Sun mantra.
Here’s the opening dharana:
Here’s my dharma talk:
There were new people in the room this week so I spoke a bit about mantra. Here is that clip:
Finally, here are this week’s readings. First two poem from Coleman Bark’s translation of the poetry of Lalleshwari, Naked Song. Although Lalla would not have known the Yoga-Sutra, you can see how in both these poems, she is teaching about the kleshas.
Two From Lalleshwari
1. Wear just enough clothes to keep warm. Eat only enough to stop the hunger-pang.
And as for your mind, let it work to recognize who you are, and the Absolute, and that this body will become food for the forest crows.
2. Enlighten your desires. Meditate on who you are. Quit imagining.
What you want is profoundly expensive, and difficult to find, yet closeby.
Don’t search for it. It is nothing, and a nothing within nothing.
And a Sheikh Nasrudin story and commentary from Swami Muktananda’s, Where Are You Going? A Guide to the Spiritual Journey:
Once Sheikh Nasrudin woke up early in the morning, before it was light. He called his disciplele, Mahmud, and said, “Go outside and see if the sun has risen.” Mahmud went out and came back inside.
“It’s pitch black,” he said. “I cannot see the sun at all.”
At this, Nasrudin became very angry. “You fool,” he shouted. “Haven’t you got the sense to use a flashlight?”
That is exactly what we do. To expect a spiritual technique to reveal the indwelling God is like expecting a flashlight to illumine the Sun. A flashlight cannot shine beside the Sun. Like the Sun, the Self is always shining with its own effulgence. What sadhana can illumine the Self. Only through a subtle and sublime intellect can we know it. We meditate and perform spiritual practices only in order to make the intellect pure enough to reflect the effulgence of the Self.
Baba did teach a great deal from Patanjali and in this quote, although he’s not using technical language, he is very much speaking about spiritual practice as a way to clean and polish the mind (here referred to as intellect) so that nothing hinders, obstructs, distorts, or extinguishes the shining bright splendor of the Self.