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Noivedya Juddery Canberra, Australia. It must be admitted that the poetry interested me a lot less than the beer did. Admittedly, after a couple of pints of Lion Red the poetry did seem to get quite interesting too. Of course, after accepting the spiritual life seriously, I completely gave up alcohol. My friend Nick was a poet and would read his work there. The fact that Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Catholic priest gave him a certain appeal for me, but it was the sheer voluptuousness of his language that hooked me when we studied his verse in my last year at school.

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At University I studied Classics. I read and studied the work of many Greek and Roman authors long judged to be great, but the one who struck me most was Virgil—Publius Virgilius Maro. The poem had been written 2, years before I read it; had been written in a world completely alien to my experience and about events ancient and lost even then; had been written at the command of a dictatorial ruler Augustus as a straight piece of propaganda to bolster the legitimacy of his government, and yet It spoke across ages to the universal human experience. Sir Laurens van der Post once asserted that all humans are psychologically either Greeks or Trojans.

I had no doubt which I was as I hunched weeping over the pages of Virgil, reading of the destruction of my home town. It certainly seemed that a trend was emerging in poets I considered great. It helped to be dead! The poets at the Albion Tavern on a Monday night seemed to be perhaps a little too alive to be great.

The exclamation was exasperation. I like poetry but do not go out of my way to pick up a book unless it is one written by Sri Chinmoy or Panorama , a semi-annual book written by my fellow students of Sri Chinmoy. I have, ahem, contributed. I came home one day to find a surprise in my mailbox. Who is this Hafiz? Some days, maybe even weeks later, on a deeply troubled night, I randomly picked it up from the pile of unread books on the floor beside my bed.

I looked at the face of the man in the illustration. I first saw Hafiz as being bent over, but when I really looked that was not so. Bent over is not befitting Hafiz. Instead, he was serenely sitting next to a stream holding a staff and petting, of all things, a deer. Dressed in a long cloak and a hat embraced by a scarf, this old man with a well kept fuzzy beard had the audacity to be the personification of calm, have love in his eyes and a goofy, knowing grin.

Why was this Hafiz smiling at me like that when I was feeling blue?


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Curiously, why was I feeling his love? It could have been my vulnerable state at the time, but no. When I just typed them, I got the same feeling, deeply personal, deeply loved, as if Hafiz had written them solely for me to make it crystal clear my soul is astonishingly beautiful. Your soul is astonishingly beautiful. Could there be any greater wish as we struggle through the challenges of life today? It gave me instant peace and joy to momentarily realize who each of us is: a spark of God.

His interpretations of the literal translations of H. For one who can write with so much sincerity that the reader feels the heart of the words again and again hundreds of years after they were put to paper is the sign of greatness. Hafiz lived c. He was a wanderer and sung or recited his poetry spontaneously while others wrote it down. His insights appreciate the struggle of our never ending need to grow and transform from human love to divine love. His words convey the deep, universal love of what Hafiz calls the Divine Beloved who supports each and every human being whether we believe it or not.

His writing has a light, playful tone which makes his profound poetry fun, clear and easy to read. The following is the rest of the poem that the above verse belongs to and a few more selections from I Heard God Laughing.

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The name of Sri Aurobindo will reverberate in the hearts of truth-seekers and poetry-lovers alike. As a spiritual Master and possessor of the highest states of consciousness he fed the spiritual hunger and quenched the spiritual thirst of countless aspirants who yearned for the fruits of the spirit. His silent, yogic gaze, wreathed in compassion, directed many a wandering soul to the Heart-Home of God.

As a poet he conveyed the message and essence of the highest Reality through divinely inspired and soul-stirring words, illumining the searching mind and thrilling the aspiring heart. Sri Aurobindo was a seer-poet par excellence. A seer-poet is he who not only sees and feels a higher and divine truth, but also is endowed with the capacity to make others see and feel that truth, by virtue of his inspired poetic voice.

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Sri Aurobindo is one of those rare, mystic poets whose words bring down a higher reality and by dint of their intrinsic mantric quality make that reality tangible and palpable. The words themselves build a world of spiritual perfection and awaken an inner urge in the aspiring reader to attain that heavenly kingdom, which resides deep within his own heart. His poetry is indeed steeped in satyagraha or soul-force, making it a splendid vehicle for spiritual upliftment and fulfilment. Each line rings with a melodious beauty; every stanza resounds with a powerful truth.

When reading Sri Aurobindo, one sometimes feels a majestic greatness stir deep within:. Throughout his life Sri Aurobindo strove for a poetry which was loyal to the inherent and natural laws of metre, rhythm and rhyme, yet was not bound by them in any immutable or rigid way. Sri Aurobindo studied metre extensively and composed many poems that followed new and previously unexplored schemes of metre in the English language.

He devised his own set of laws for the proper use and purpose of metre. He felt strongly that metre should serve the poetic inspiration by heightening and sublimating it, not vice versa by dictating and governing the poetic speech.

As he himself so eloquently puts,. The role of the poet then, according to him, is to serve as an instrument or a channel of the divine Ananda, the delight of the soul. The seer-poet is he who most succesfully brings down this delight from its higher regions into the essence and substance of his poetry. For the secret wealth of the soul is hidden within its lines.

To read his poetry then becomes a spiritual exercise, nay, a spiritual experience, more than anything else. Rumi is one of the best known Sufi poets but digging deep into the realms of Persian literature we find a wealth of Sufi poetry which even today retains a universal and timeless appeal. Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam. The essence of Sufism is the simple path of loving God.


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And thus the Sufi poets speak of dying to be born again, a concept similar to other mystical traditions. Often the great Sufi poets lived during times of religious fundamentalism.

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The authorities censored them, because they openly taught that man could have a direct contact with God. As a result poets such as Hafiz developed an increasing array of metaphors and synonyms to describe God. Frequently we come across references such as Friend, Beloved, Father, Mother, the Wine seller, the Problem giver, and the Problem solver.

This ambiguity in describing God served a dual purpose. Firstly it made it difficult for his poetry to be censored for its unorthodox mystical ideas. It also illustrates the inherent difficulty a poet has in describing the nature of God. The infinite is beyond all name and form, how can the poet describe that which is beyond words? Here the wine refers to the nectar of divine ecstasy. The wine seller is the Giver of Divine Grace. Madness is merely a reference to the inner ecstasy of communion with God.

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It is delightful paradox that the Sufis use worldly imagery to describe that, which is beyond the world. The Sufi masters believed that outer religious forms were useless, unless they inspired the inner devotion. Poetry was their tool to poke fun at the pompous and arrogant. They took great delight in exposing hypocrisy, pride and vanity. Their poetry is also a reflection of their unconventional, direct approach to God.

The poems of many Sufis follow no obvious course. They have not been planned by a thinking mind; they flit effortlessly from one subject to another. We not do feel we are reading about a personality of say Hafiz or Rumi. We feel we are reading only about an inebriate devotee of God.

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The opinions of the world leave no effect on the poet who has transcended the norms and conventions of society. The poetry is a living expression of the timeless nature of the mystic. It comes from the source of all inspiration and requires no explanation to expand upon it. Tejvan Pettinger Oxford, England. Walt Whitman's status as poetic innovator and father to American verse is undisputed today, but while alive he enjoyed little public acclaim and only minor distribution—and much notoriety. Lauded and republished around the world—especially so in England—Whitman never saw a broad appeal or readership at home—the main subject of and intended audience for the majority of his poetry—albeit in a single poem which, ironically, the poet himself thought very little of: "O Captain!

My Captain! The poem was published to immediate acclaim in the New York City Saturday Press, and was widely anthologised during Whitman's lifetime. He would be asked to recite the poem in public lectures and readings so often that he is quoted as saying "I'm almost sorry I ever wrote [it]," although it had "certain emotional immediate reasons for being. Envisioning Lincoln as archangel captain, the poet is said to have dreamed the night before the assassination of a ship entering harbour under full sail, an image dominant throughout, and the poem was deliberately typeset to appear on page like a ship approaching its destination.