Trees, leaves and sun

Yesterday at the gym my friend Enrique asked me a very interesting question.  He asked me what prompted or incited my Master to give me my spiritual name “Mahiruha”. And I told him that the Master gives people names based on his inner assessment of their progress.  Also this is based on his own understanding as to whether or not a spiritual name will be actually helpful to the seeker.  To maintain one’s aspiration and dedication throughout life is much more important than any name or title could ever be. I suppose the greatest advantage or benefit of having a spiritual name is that it gives you another opportunity to manifest the Master’s light. In other words my name is exotic-sounding so people ask me about its derivation and voila I have this golden opportunity to talk about my Guru!

So I told him that about a year and a half before I got my spiritual name I had a kind of interesting and prophetic dream.  In my dream I was alone with Guru in a schoolroom.  He was sitting in the middle of the room in a simple chair and he said to me “Mahiruha, I want you to tell me your soul’s qualities and I will form your name from that.  So I circled the Master three times and each time I passed in front of him I uttered a different quality.  The first time I said “A sea of self giving.”  The second time I said “The power that conquers pride.”  The third time I said “Inexhaustible patience.  When I had finished saying these things Guru nodded slowly and gave me a soulful smile and said, “Very workable.”

People might be confused as to why I said “The power that conquers pride” in my dream as opposed to “humility”.  But it’s actually quite self-explanatory when you think about it. Let’s say that humility is one of your inner qualities. If you go around telling people that you are humility incarnate, then you’re not being humble. Guru has an aphorism:  “Humility disappears the moment we become proud of it.”  He has another aphorism“If you take pride in being humble, then you are a humility clown.”  So humility is kind of like the Chinese concept of the Dao whose value and worth is diminished the moment you say what it is.  It is something ineffable, and really should not and cannot be adequately described.  It just is.  Guru’s own Teacher Sri Aurobindo has a line in one of his poems”  “Therefore we know by Thy humility that thou art God.”

The second reason why I think I used the phrase “The power that conquers pride” is because we tend to think of humility as something feeble or delicate but it is not.  In Sri Chinmoy’s play about the life of the savior Christ the Father says to his beloved Son: “Son, you know the supreme secret, that supreme secret is humility.  It is your humility that will crown you with the transcendental triumph.”

So humility is the power of oneness and the power of oneness is best exemplified by the tree which once it becomes laden with fruit bows down for everyone to take. So, a year and a half later when I got my name Mahiruha which simply means “tree” I was able to assimilate that name quite easily on the strength of my own previous inner experiences. So I explained to Enrique that if you practice the spiritual life you gradually become conscious of your own soul- for the spiritual life means to mix with your soul, to fathom your soul and to gradually grow into your soul ‘s light, identity and divinity.  I then recited some of the Master’s poems including “ Insecurity’s length” and “I escaped from the embrace of God” and “The animal in me rages in vain  The human in me ages in vain.  The divine in me races and succeeds.”  He told me that he could tell these poems are very dear to me and he’s right.


This morning as I biked to work, I recited this poem, from The Golden Boat:

“There was a time when I was the sadness

Of a saddening thought.

There was a time when I was the madness

Of a maddening thought.

But now I am the vastness

Of an unhorizoned thought.

I am the brightness

Of the solar thought.”


It’s interesting that only in the last line, does “a thought” become “the thought.”  Sadness, madness, even vastness, are all prefaced by the word “a”.  It is only when we get to the concept of “brightness” and “solar” that the article changes to “the”.  It is as if there is only one true thought, it embodies and transcends all other thoughts, and it is inconceivably brilliant- “the brightness of the solar thought.”  I recited this poem forty times today, and each time I felt the poem was a challenge to lead an awakened life.  All thoughts ultimately empty themselves into the one thought, the supracosmic “solar thought”.  It is the only reality in the world of thought.  Seek light.  This is what I need to remind myself.  Seek light all the time.

I recited the last stanza of “Leaves of Grass” for a lady today at the supermarket.  She was indescribably moved, she shed tears, and kept saying “I am so grateful, I am so grateful, I am so grateful.”  I rarely get THAT kind of appreciation from people, and I told her it was mutual.  It’s interesting, as I was reciting these concluding lines, beginning with “The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me” I felt Whitman’s mighty soul, around me.  Poetry, if offered in the right spirit, is always an invocation.

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