Wisdom from the Upanishads - The River of God

I picked up Eknath Easwaran's translation of The Upanishads, while I was at my yoga class yesterday afternoon, to add to my collection of Upanishadic translations. This particular volume is so much more accessible than the ones I already owned, and I would like to share some passages that spoke to me as I thumbed through the text in my first cursory examination. I look forward to curling up with this book, and giving it my undivided attention.

The inside cover of the book has this wonderful explanation of these ancient texts, which are collectively known as the Upanishads - the core teachings of Vendanta. The word Upanishad means - "sitting down near," and implied that these teachings were received at the feet of a master or teacher:

"Over two thousand years ago, the sages of India embarked on an extraordinary experiment. While others were exploring the external world, they turned inward - to explore consciousness itself. In the changing flow of human thought, they asked, is there anything that remains the same?

They found that there is indeed a changeless Reality underlying the ebb and flow of life. Their discoveries are an expression of what Aldous Huxley calls the Perennial Philosophy, the wellspring of all religious faith that assures us God-realization is within human reach.

The Upanishads are the sages' wisdom, given in intense sessions of spiritual instruction in ashrams...[and other venues and this book, and] Easwaran shows how these teachings are just as relevant to us now as they ever were centuries ago."

Here are a few passages from the Upanishads:

"You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny."
- Brihadaranyaka IV 4.5

"When all desires that surge in the heart
are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the heart
are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal.
This sums up the teaching of the scriptures."
- Katha II 3.14-15

"The world is the wheel of God, turning round
and round with all living creatures upon its rim.
The world is the river of God,
flowing from Him and and flowing back to Him.
On this ever-revolving wheel of being
the individual self goes round and round
through life after life, believing itself
to be a separate creature, until
it sees its identity with the Lord of Love
and attains immortality in the individual whole."
- Shvetashvatara I.4-6

I loved that notion of the world as the river of God...

This morning was very breezy, and after routine blood work, I headed down to the river with my McDonald's "senior" coffee, to survey the broad expanse of the river, with its foaming waves adamantly lapping at the rocks along the riverbank, undulating like the waves of the ocean...

I have imbibed and learned many lessons at the mouth of this river. It has truly taught me the essence of what is contained in these passages: That attachments hold me captive, that I have within me an unlimited power to change things, and that the most important lesson for me to learn is my soul's connection with the Divine...

This notion of my soul's constant union with the Divine was the message I came away from the talk given before I meditated with a group last night. Every time I meditate, I choose to acknowledge my connection to the Divine, by reciting the simple mantra that Paramahansa Yogananda exhorted his followers to always pray:

"I and the Father are One..."

Slowly, my constant recitation of this prayer is resulting in the gradual erosion of the illusion of separation. Slowly, I am letting go of so much, and each day, I feel lighter and lighter in spirit as I taste a little more bliss in meditation, and in my life experiences and opportunities...All is truly unfolding as it should...


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