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Sunday, January 31, 2016

All in a Day's Drive!

By Prasoona

A journey that began at the onset of dawn,
Like a puppy enjoying a jolly-ride.
Through the fresh morning mist,
The heart afloat in serenity,
Buoyant with faith
Of a promised day, nay moment.
A moment that's fresh, as fresh as a dew drop on a crisp green leaf.
A moment not tarnished by the dead past or the mythical future.
The heart was cleansed, setting the stage
For the soul to reverberate with Mother Nature, in that moment, and experience  its innate freedom.

The drive bore on...the moment, where, what?

The day light broke, business around.
The soul was getting shrouded...
Unconsciously, yet surely, a tad too quick for the senses to capture.
Now, "I" wasn't living in the moment;
The mind was busy evaluating the  remainder of ( today plus the many tomorrow-s minus the multitudes of yesterday divided by me vs. the world).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Professor Mathew Pugh

by Swami Yogatmananda

“Hmmm … . Interesting!”

He expressed, by the tone and by facial gesture, his disapproval and disagreement of my opinion about rebirth, after asking me some pointed questions. I knew, my answers were far from convincing for a learned Professor of Philosophy at Providence College, imbued with Western ideas about life, body, soul etc.

He was Prof. Mathew Pugh. It was sometimes towards the end 2001. I had come to the US from India just about 5-6 months ago; Prof Mathew too had come to teach Philosophy at Providence College around the same time. He showed a good knowledge of and interest in Vedanta, life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Mysticism, meditational practices etc and attended the classes and lectures regularly. The use of ‘interesting’ to convey disagreement, without being disagreeable, was the first of the many, many important and very useful things that Prof. Mathew taught me.

We started having many interesting (not in the above-mentioned sense) conversations about Sri Ramakrishna’s Samadhi-experiences, about fine points in Vedanta and Buddhist philosophy, Karma and reincarnation, the ideas of body-mind-soul in Vedanta and many other related issues. He liked to sit long hours in meditation and also attend the Indian classical music concerts. One day, I expressed my desire to get some courses in Western philosophy from him. After coming to the USA, I felt the need to have a better understanding of the various important strands in ancient and modern Western philosophy. When I requested Prof Mathew, he agreed to tutor me and thought of a plan to give me some broad but brief outline of Western philosophy. What a memorable time I had, learning the ideas of Parmenides, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. He also gave a few classes on Thomas Aquinas, and then on Kant. I saw a new, immensely varied world opening before me. There was of course a good exchange of ideas between Indian and Western philosophical tenets. ‘So, Swami, what is the take of Vedanta on this?’ – He would ask after explaining some of the doctrines of a great philosopher and that would lead to a crisp discussion.