Raghu has a serendipitous encounter with a Tibetan Lama after he visits Maharaji in Kainchi. Ram Dass discusses the seductiveness of the rational mind.
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Raghu: Hi, I’m Raghu Markus. In the middle of this retreat at the Gandhi Ashram, the monsoon had arrived. Anytime we’d go anywhere we’d end up removing giant leeches from our legs and feet. It was quite lovely. Anyhow, I suddenly realized that my passport’s about to expire and I need to go to Delhi to get it renewed; so happens I had a contact for the Canadian High Commission through my boss at the radio station in Montreal where I had met Ram Dass. So off I go to Delhi and on the way through the foothills, I stopped to see Maharajji at the ashram in Kainchi; and I arrive; there’s no other Westerners there, in fact, there’s hardly anybody there. He’s sitting on his tuket with just a couple of Indian people and asks me if I’m married; and I say, cleverly I thought, “No I just want to marry God”. Well, that brought a huge laugh from him and the Indians around him and it was quite embarrassing actually. And then he said to me, “Did you have darshan of a Tibetan Lama?” and I said “No, I’d never even met a Tibetan never mind a Lama”. He said, “You didn’t just have darshan of a Tibet Lama and he gave you teachings?” I thought he met the Buddhist meditation teacher who was supposed to come to Kusani to teach the group but he said, “NYE!, that’s not it, Tibet Llama!”. So after the big “Jyo” from Maharajji that day, I left for Delhi and I was invited to the High Commissioner’s house for lunch. When I met him, I had heard about that Canada had been letting in Tibetan refugees and I asked about it. He suddenly turned to the side and walking through a door with a retinue of Tibetan monks in red robes, was Kalu Rinpoche, one of the greatest Llamas of the last century. I knew about him and I stood there in shock as I remembered the day before Maharajji asking me if I had met a Tibetan monk. So stunned as I was, off we went for lunch in this ornate huge dining room and sat exactly across from Kalu and next to some Canadian journalists who were there to interview him for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Well, they invited me to be with them while they interviewed him in an adjacent room. Well, they were interviewing him and they were asking, Hmm, maybe a little bit dumb questions like “What’d he think about Christianity and he said, “I wouldn’t know anything about Christianity” and then they asked me to ask something. As soon as that happened, he sat bolt up-right in his chair and totally connected to me with his eyes and I asked about how it seemed so easy to meditate in the mountains where I had been but now coming to the city I couldn’t find my balance, my center. I said, “Did you, do you need to stay in the mountains to feel that same space?” and he said, “Absolutely not”. He told me the stories, the story of the seven siddhas of ancient India; all who became realized through their work whether it was weaving, pottery, stone-making and this went on for about thirty minutes where I received this lama’s teachings. It was amazing. I mean, I was in one moment just completely blown away by this lama and these teachings and then all the time through that there was just this hovering over me. It was “Oh my God, he knew exactly what was gonna happen to me today.
Let me say I walked out of there in a state. It was kind of like I had taken a hit of acid. I just, I couldn’t believe what had happened. My mind was truly blown and honestly, I was never the same again.
Ram Dass: One of the beings who has written a very useful book at one stage of one’s journey, is Kuspenski, who was student who was a student of Gurdjeiff and a philosopher in his own right and he said, and he explained on page five, why it is that he isn’t a realized being although I don’t think he meant to say it quite that way and he’s describing different schools and what they taught, different sacred schools and he says, “ there was another type of school with which I was unable to make contact of which I only heard. These schools promised very much but they also demanded very much. They demanded everything at once. It would have been necessary to stay in India and give up thoughts of returning to Europe , to renounce all my own ideas, aims and plans and proceed along the road of which I could know nothing before- hand. These schools interested me very much and the people who had been in touch with them and who told me about them, stood out distinctly from the common type but still it seemed to me, that there ought to be schools of a more rational kind and that a man has a right up to a certain point to know where he is going.”
(Siren blasting) When the sirens go by these are huge amounts of energy, just passing energy through you; Right, and you pass it up the spine and it really blows your mind. It’s gratuitous energy handed to you.
See, Kuspenski wasn’t willing to do that one thing; to give up knowing he knew and the funny thing about the rational mind is it’s taken us so far and then it becomes the lions at the gates. It’s so seductive. It looks like it’s going to give us the whole business and then lo and behold, it holds us back at a certain point because we are so rewarded for knowing we know and it’s only when you come to the despair that seeing, when you look around at where man has gotten with his rational mind, and you suddenly understand that you’re just going from the frying pan into the fire and you look at the perculian task that he has outlined for himself and you realize that his rational mind just isn’t going to be enough. You add up all, the quote, “Intellectuals” of the world. Who do you want to put the man’s destiny in?…..Who’s hands?…Herman Cann? I don’t. Who? I mean, I can’t find the model. I don’t see wise men. I see rational, super rationalism, like George Bundy, super rationalists, exquisite minds. As Einstein said, “When atomic energy was released for man’s control and benefit”, he said, “Man must develop a higher form of thought if he is ever going to be able to use this energy with wisdom” because the rational mind is not going to do it, it’s not going to be enough; that’s the despair; that’s the despair. All the eggs, all the baskets we put the eggs in just isn’t going to make the trip to grandmother’s house. It’s just not gonna do it.
And the answer, strangely enough, is in the simple words – here and now. If you could be here and now; if you could for one moment turn off your mind; you don’t have to listen to this lecture like you’re doing. You don’t have to be evaluating, categorizing, thinking about it, putting it away in storage units, analyzing the words to make sure you understand them. You could let it all go through you just like Chinese food. Just let it go through you and you understand it all because there is nothing I’m saying to you that there isn’t a place in you where you already know it. Now I’m going to have to move slowly till you understand what I just told you. But you can trust; that’s the first requirement – trust, you see. You’ve got to give up that kind of thing. You got to give up the reaching for it to have it. As long as you reach, you can’t have it. This whole trip that I’m talking about it is fraught with paradoxes, the most exquisite paradoxes. As you soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. How bout that one? As long as you want power, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you will have more than you ever dreamed possible. What a weird thing. What a weird thing.
As long as you have an ego, you are on a limited trip. You’re on a little trivial trip that’s going to last roughly 60 years, 70 years, 80 years, wrought with fear of the end, trying to make it’s own eternity, the eternal name by leaving a stone building perhaps. Being is dying by loving. Something in you must die and something new must be born. He that is born of the flesh, is of the flesh; he that is born of the spirit, is of the spirit. Unless he be born again he can not enter the kingdom of heaven. We’re talking about a metamorphosis. We’re talking about going from the caterpillar to the moth. We’re talking about how to become butterflies. How do we become butterflies? I mean, the caterpillar who’s walking around , doesn’t say, “ well man, soon I’ll a moth” because while he’s busy being a caterpillar, he can’t be a moth. It’s only when caterpillar-ness is done, that one’s got to become a moth and that again is part of this paradox. You can’t rip away caterpillar-ness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process under which, over which, you have no control. That’s a hard one. Well, what am I doing here if I have no control? You mean I have no other choice? Can I say this is nonsense? Can I say this is important. Your lecture changed my whole life. You think that’s choice? You think that’s choice? No, not at all. It’s an unfolding process.
If you could stand back far enough and watch the whole process, you would see that you are a totally determined being. The moment you will wake up is totally determined. How long you will stay asleep is totally determined. What you will hear of what I say is totally determined. There are no accidents in this business at all. Accidents are just the way you are looking at it from. To the ego, it all looks like its miracles and accidents. No miracles. No accidents. It’s just your vantage point.
Before I proceed, I want to advise you that when you leave here this evening, whoever it is that leaves, you will be offered, which you may accept or not as you choose, an additional crutch with which to help you with your work, which will be a reproduction of this tanka of Padmasambaba. I met a tuku, a very high incarnation, a Tibetan incarnation, in Sonit, in India and he was, he had brought this tanka from Tibet and he was very interested in having this tanka; having Guru Rinpoche available to people in the West at this time and so he and I together shared the expense involvement of having reproduced this, very, very beautiful reproduction and you are, and they are not for sale. They are priceless. You are given one and may I just enjoin you, if you are going to take one, don’t take it unless you feel it in your heart but if you would like Guru Rinpoche’s help by your puja table, or by your meditation cove or wherever it is you cool yourself out from the life drama.
Guru Rinpoche should be hung slightly at thirty degrees above, right? And then he’ll watch out for things. He’ll keep you cool. He’s quite a gas. You can read about him. He’s written about in books. He did some far-out things.
Well, if I am not speaking and if I am not what I thought I am, how did I get into this predicament and who am I? For only when I know who I am will I know what is possible and furthermore, I can ask a question, how will I know who I am? There are three ways in which one knows about what we are talking about this evening. One way you know about it is by direct experience through some way or other, through being alone in the desert, through falling in love, through bearing a child, through nearly dying or some other trauma, through turning on, through yoga, through taking any one of your senses and pushing it to beyond itself, going through it, you have touched a place inside yourself that has an intuitive validity, an intuitive validity. It’s intuitively valid; inside you know it’s right.
Many of you had an experience. I have been with literally, literally now perhaps over a hundred people who have had an experience which was powerful and valid, it was so discontinuous with their normal consciousness that it scared them so badly that they screamed for help and the help that was available to them were a group minds which said, “It’s alright, you’ve just gone crazy.” That is the experience you just had is the experience of psychosis. William James said, “Our normal waking consciousness is but one form of consciousness whilst all about it parted from it by the filmiest of veils, screens, there lie other types of consciousness entirely different .We may pasture our entire lives without suspecting their existence but apply the requisite stimulus and at a touch, they are there in all their completeness, special types of mentality, each probably somewhere having its field of application and adaptation. No view of the Universe in its totality can be complete which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded but how to regard them is the question. They determine attitudes though they fail to furnish a formula. They open regions though they do not give a map. At any rate,” concludes James, “they forbid our premature closing of our accounts with reality”. He said that somewhere around probably around 1906; something like that. In spite of what he said we closed our accounts with reality, most of us but that experience you had was psychotic. I would give you Thorazine. It is not valid. You are hallucinating. What do you mean you’re God? What do you mean you’re God?
The experience may have come to you directly that way or it may have come to you through inference. Through your intellect, you may have reasoned and reasoned and reasoned until you saw the peculiar position that the rational man is in and you realize there must be something else although you have not experienced it. You just inferred the presence of something else. It doesn’t quite make sense. Nothing turns you on. You haven’t experienced it directly but you figure there must be something there and you read all of the writings of St. John of the Cross and Theresa and on and on, all of the mystics and visionaries who recorded history and you say, “Well they all can’t be nuts, they must be talking about something”. So you sort of infer presence of this other thing but you don’t know about it. Now, that’s a tougher one to be in that position.
Then the third way is that you trust, you trust the fact that there are realized beings and they’ve said it and therefore you know it to be true. It’s not inference anymore. It’s not an intellectual process. You just accept what they have said; that’s faith.
See, we have gotten so super sophisticated in our evaluative mechanisms that you question everything you hear. How do you know you’re not being hustled? I mean, you know, what was Jesus up to? What was the thing about? What did they want? What’s the game? What’s the game, man? You know, what’s he into? What’s he into? And that you would especially feel if you were one of the keepers of the tables in the temple; if you are committed to an existing system with great attachment, with great attachment.
Some way or other though, most of you in this room, most of you, not all of you but most of you have sensed the possibility, sensed the possibility. It happened to me the first time I took psilocybin, a synthetic chemical; the synthetic of the Mexican mushroom which is commonly known in the mountains as The Flesh of the Gods, you ingest nine mushrooms, five male and four female mushrooms and you are, you transcend your ego and you see how it all is and you touch. You go through the door. You go through the doorway into the magic theatre and then you get beyond the magic theatre. You may get to the clear white light; all the way to samadhi . You go just as far as you can give up to go. Some people take this method and they say, “Wow, dig the colors and lights”. Some say, “ Boy, I feel so close to other people interpersonally.” Some say, “Wow, you and I are one”. Some say, “Wow, there isn’t even a you and an I. It’s just energy.” Some say, “It’s all and everything and nothing. It’s the void” and they’re beyond words. You go just as far as you’re ready to go. Those are all stages of the path. They are also known as the physical, astral and causal planes; same thing; see how it works. How high did you get in the last trip? How high? Well, I went into another level of the astral plane. Right? And you can get pretty good at chronicling the whole thing where you understand how the chronicle works, how the pattern is designed, how the system is designed.
You went through the door but you get thrown out. At least I got thrown out. Maybe you didn’t get thrown out. If you didn’t get thrown out, you are a realized being and if you are a realized being, you’re not here so everybody here has least been thrown out or never got in. Here we are: outcasts. We’ve all been rejected. We all came to the wedding feast and we weren’t wearing the wedding garment and we got bound hand and foot and cast out into outer darkness and here we are. This is a meeting of outer darkness and there was much crying and gnashing of teeth; that’s what he said. It’s all on the level. It’s telling you straight. He’s telling you just how it is; that’s what’s so far out about it. It’s absolutely so far out.
Transcribed by Jessie Senibaldi