Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ray Randall Ward

It has come to my attention that Ray Ward, a former student of Desani's at the University of Texas was described as Desani's editor here. This is snatching at straws, I know, but absent any other information it is possible that The Rissala manuscript ended up in his possession. Further, it is possible that Ward or his heirs or assigns might have knowledge of its disposition.

Ray Ward was married to Mary Ann (Anne?). We met once in Austin at the Pemberton Parkway residence of Desani's. The Wards had been students of Desani's but moved away before I came on the scene. So I didn't know them. Professor would mention them occasionally. They divorced sometime in the 1990's. That's my vague recollection. I saw Mary Ann post divorce while visiting Professor at his residence after he moved from Blossom Burn's home (Pemberton Parkway, Austin, Texas). This was also after he had a stroke. At some point in the 1990s Stephen Greenberg, another former student, and attorney for Desani, informed me that Desani had moved to Ward's home in Dallas.

Ray remarried Martha Elizabeth (Nee Hudson) in Dallas. They had a son. She passed away in 2014.

According to the above mentioned domain's whois record the registrant is private and expires October, 2019. (enter the domain, hit enter)

While Todd Katz mentions this he doesn't go into detail.

Perhaps this will assist those who come later that might be interested in the fate of Professor Desani's magnum opus.

Iamdying.net is in the wayback machine.

As stated elsewhere I have pretty much withdrawn from pursuing the disposition of The Rissala ms. Desani used to say try something difficult three times. If you meet repeatedly with failure then conclude its just not supposed to happen. Its not willed. That's me and Rissala. Except I exceeded the three several times over. As stated elsewhere here I reached out to he who would have been most likely to know of the disposition of the ms. I was rebuffed. No reply. I asked the University of Texas, Harry Ransom Center, repository for many of Desani's papers whether they knew of the Rissala. They replied in the negative. I've talked to Todd Katz extensively about this. He states that anyone with knowledge of the fate of Rissala would undoubtedly know of his/our interest and efforts and could easily have come forward so something is holding them back.

In Todd's most recent update of Desani.org he writes quite a bit about the atmosphere and disposition of Desani's dozen followers, "disciples", in Austin. I found it very helpful and insightful. You can read it on the home tab under the heading Texas Years at Desani.org. It helped me get beyond the feelings of rejection by my formerly close associates and reminded me that things often are not what they seem. I don't know but maybe fate is teaching me that I am an impediment rather than a facilitator. I won't trouble you with the unsettling effects I've endured because of these doubts except to say that my specific instruction is simply "to yield". Therefore, I'm pretty much off the case unless something falls in my lap as this information about Mr. Ward did.

No Reason No Rhyme

“Nothing heroic ever happens at all!
No peacock with sapphire fire upon’t ever dances,
As one danced once, with the rose of daybreak around, about, upon and on all sides of it
(as a sapphire set against a glowing sphere)
And the marble (upon which the peacock alighted for a dance) was splendored too by the winter sun
And the glittering river flowed past (coursing towards the sea)
And I had in my palm then the romance of all of Hindustan, in the span of an instant!”
From “Come, or Correspond, Ezra Pound!” an essay by G.V. Desani
One cannot read, for instance, James Joyce’s Ulysses without coming away with the impression that he knew everything about everything. Literally. The student of G.V. Desani will have a likewise impression. Desani’s knowledge and understanding of the world in which he lived is universal. He was without a doubt, as far as literature is concerned, the James Joyce of his time. There won’t be another like him for generations, I imagine. He was a Jagatguru. I would, without hesitation, go so far as to say he was in a constant state of Hypostasis.
Professor Desani kept copies of everything he published. This included articles on news print and various periodicals. These he would copy again and give them to his close associates, friends, devotees. I recall visiting a local company, Ginny’s copying service, on 19th Street in Austin, making hundreds of copies on their “xerox” machines, collating, and stapling these articles with him. Todd Katz was one of those with whom he shared these. Todd was diligent enough to maintain these records.
In today’s mail I received some of these now very old and faded documents. They are copies of work originally published in the 1960s in The Illustrated Weekly of India under the heading of “No Rhyme No Reason”. Now the paper is wrinkled, the staples rusted and the type obscured.
Todd has laboriously transcribed these pieces along with their margin notes and you will find links to them in .pdf format at Desani.org. All of the documents there have gone through this process. He types them up and I proof read them.
It is worth noting that of all the people attracted to Professor during his years in the U.S. Mr. Katz is the only one who has worked diligently to bring these now obscure efforts of Professor Desani to light. Aside from the youtube interview(s) – posted anonymously – no one has done more in this regard.
It is worth noting that Desani had, and instilled in us, an abiding intention to publish his remaining works. Its why we were attracted to him in large part. We wanted to be involved in bringing his writing to as large an audience as possible. Professor never asked directly for help – not in so many words. He repeatedly shared his dream with those close to him and we merely picked it up via osmosis. Its only natural that those seeds he planted would take root in some of us and eventually come to some limited fruition, at least. We wanted to be a part of something larger than ourselves, frankly. Todd is to be commended for nurturing Desani’s dream and somewhat making it his life mission.
There was to have been the Rissala, which exists somewhere in manuscript form. Todd typed it up himself. But there was also to be a book based on Desani’s diaries which would contain – of particular interest to this writer – voluminous information about his experiences with Nadi texts directed to him personally. The Nadi texts he bequeathed to Boston University, I am given to understand. The diaries are at the University of Texas along with the remainder of Desani’s papers.
The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center, has communicated to me that they do not have the Rissala manuscript.
You will find a link to the pdf file here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Why There are Diamonds in the Header of this Blog

In the Holy Bible there are numerous accounts of encounters with the Divine. Saul is brought to his knees on the road to Damascus by a "Bright Supernal Light" out of which issues a voice.  Before that Moses encounters a "Burning Bush" likewise out of which issues a voice saying "Tell the People 'I Am' sent you". The writers of the Old Testament share knowledge of encounters with what they deem The Creator and following the ancient tradition of the Rabbinical Jews, eschew ownership of "Him" by not even, generally, pronouncing his name, and, indeed, spelling it in such a way that actually is unspeakable. It has no vowels. This is to make preeminent the station of YHWH as The one great mystery behind, yet immanent, in nature. We are blessed beyond the ability of words to express, the sharing of these experiences by men of old.

Desani came to us much later and has given us similar, and I think, if not superior, then at least equal experiences, obviously meant, to convey the same wonder and beauty and truth of our being in the world.

I would share these here. Desani lays bare the most intimate secrets of his soul for all to see, his most personal, and private encounters with the object of his intense reverence, devotion, worship, and love, of the great primal spirit. Practiced his entire life this Bhakti yields up to a personal encounter not unlike that of Moses and Saul (Paul) with the Heavenly supernal light in which form G_d eschews some select few a direct encounter with his glory. To my knowledge, in all the world's great literature there is no more profound sense of the divine than in these passages. In a just and sensible world for these two excerpts alone he should have received the Nobel prize in Literature. They are from his novel Hali:



     The Bell

High up, in the sky, I saw a bell tolling, and with the waves of the solemn sound, the clouds trembled, and the silences between the tolling of the bell filled me with awe and waiting, and those two, the tolling of the bell and the silences between, filled me with echoes such as I had never known, and made me remember sights such as I had never seen, and it seemed to me that it was the will of God that it should be so, and his will that I be content and question no more, and wait by, for his grace to come upon me, as the gentle twilight came upon me at the end of this autumn's day, as sleep would to soothe an aching heart.
     I waited by the river, and saw the light fall on her, and it was by grace. I looked at the sky, and saw a cloud, and that was by grace. I saw a creature look at me, and I looked upon it with love, and that, too, was a deed by grace. The Majesty is near, and not far, and most near. That faith is a deed by grace. In all things whatever that have beauty, a creature human, too, and in the heart of the diamond and the rose, is grace, and thus have I comfort that I never knew, and knew it now, by grace and grace alone.
     His way is the way to mystery. They that walk on it have no pain. And past all the lights, and all the sights, and all things whatever, the way is to be trodden still, till the soul aches and is lonely from want, in need, and it is then, by grace, she forgets her aches and pains, and is in God, of God, in his grace, and so touched by the Majesty, the crest and the crown of all the worlds, the sword and the sheath of all things, the love in all things whatever, and thus by grace is she healed.
     There is to be no haste and no tears. Ahead is the rain of the petals of the rose, and joy, and rejoicing, that a creature soul never knew, and this remembrance will last till the end of time, for such as have seen and heard, and been in the grace of the Lord, and no remembrance other than this will be, and that would be by grace and grace alone.

A Rose and Lilac Light

A rose and lilac light has passed me by, as might a cloud, and it sailed past from the left to the right of me, and as I turn my head, I still see the trail of fire, a cool rose and lilac fire, as if all the diamonds of the purest rose and lilac were awake, and from their heart came this rose and lilac fire, of such beauty, and the wonder of it has made me lose all yearning, all need whatever, and it has bequeathed upon me a joy as true, as sure, as this rose and lilac light, that passed me by, and this joy is as a treasure entrusted. This day the Lord's Majesty is in joy, and his joy is reflected in the mirror of the risen Sun, and the Moon to come by, with the early gentle dew, and it is reflected in the calmness of the sea, too, in the still water, in the stars above the sea, in the young snow, and the ice laid upon the farther mountain, and in the heart, too, stilled by a peace, past all yearning whatsoever, all need whatsoever, all wanting whatever, all thirst whatsoever, all hunger whatsoever, and if there are clouds, they sail silently by, and they do not come between me and the Majesty's joy, and the clouds frame it, never obscuring it, and this joy came upon me as a shower, as a shower of mercy, as love upon the lily on the stalk, and upon the rose, upon the scarlet velvet of the rose, and upon the streams, the brooks, on such that know of this treasure entrusted.
     Once yesterday, whenever such mercy had come upon the earth, it had passed me by, for my heart was of fear, lost, and whenever I saw the Sun setting, with it set the universe, and I was lost, in darkness, and there were but faint lights, lights awed, farther, far, overpowered, so I thought, and it was darkness fathoms deep, that fell upon the earth, and I lost all peace whatever, all love of things whatever, and I was lost in a sea, a sea of darkness, but today, after the trail of light had passed me by, darkness did come hither, but I knew blessedness, heard blessedness, heard the gentlest of sounds, drops of rain falling upon the recent fallen snow, and I heard those sounds sailing through the leaves of the pine, and the poplar, and it was as the song of praises, the praises of Lord God, and thus the darkness passed me by, in peace, in joy, in worship of the worthiest of worship, nowise the erstwhile creature's night, of pain, fear, the creature that I was, and as the sounds and the song blended, it was a stream, then a river of sound, then a sea of sound, untouched of shore, unheard of by the erstwhile creature, but known and heard this instant, this splendid instant, this august sea of sound, such as is by God bequeathed, from mercy bequeathed, from love bequeathed, by the Will uncaused, and, presently it will bring in its wake the dawn, and it its wake the night, and so will these pass me by, and I shall again see the rose and lilac light, that I saw, not long ago, and it would be another awakening, of the spirit of all the diamonds flashing the purest rose, and the lilac luster, bequeathed, as a treasure entrusted
     It would again be the awakening of the spirit of the diamonds, such as were asleep, and such as would awake, and the wonder of it will have again given me the peace bequeathed, that I knew not this long past, and the tolling of the bell, and seeing the moon bathing the sea with her lighted silver, the earth too, and the clouds too, precious silver, all with joy abounding, then I, too, will pass by, as did the rose and lilac light, and the trail of it, that did pass me by, knowing blessedness, such as caresses the soul, and the pearls of the sea, and in the midst of this blessedness will God bequeath mercy upon the creatures, and beauty absolute, and peace absolute, even upon such as do not know of such a treasure to me entrusted: and such certain passing makes me want to cry of joy, for today the rose, the lily, the diamond and the dew, and the sea, all things whatever, are content, at peace, as am I, and the mercy of God is come upon us, and all other mercies are become as shadows, as shadows, so happy the rose, so happy the lily, so content the sea, that naught I know, but to sing the praises of God, and to rouse the earth, and the creatures, in one cry, of joy, and with it reach out to the sky, and the star, the cry of triumph absolute, of triumph absolute, and I would brook no delay, and I must sing, and cry of joy unbearing, for this utter grace is come upon me, bequeathed upon me, as a treasure entrusted.

Further thoughts on Further thoughts on Rissala

The last time I broached this subject was in 2013. In 2017 a commenter asked how one might get Rissala into the light of day. In collaboration with friend Todd Katz several emails were exchanged with the inquirer. We hoped he might succeed where we had thus far failed. It rather quickly became obvious our correspondent was not to be such an instrument, though his situation did show some promise. He appeared to have some standing in the literary world, one might say, being that he claimed to be the (an?) author of Desani's Wikipedia page. Alas, it didn't pan out. As far as I know he never reached out to the one contact most likely to hold the "key" to Rissala's whereabouts and, indeed, to Desani's final wishes as to the disposition of the manuscript.

I've tended to come to the conclusion that the right instrument - person - has not come forward  and that for some reason Todd and I are not appropriate or, Desani decided unbeknownst to us that the work would be withheld in spite of evidence to the contrary. He's allowed to change his mind though for all intents and purposes it's publication was a driving force in his life during his final years with us.

In Desani's Nadi Texts written about in this space in 2011 it says that Desani will appear to some people after his passing. I don't think it was meant in a "dream". But He has been in my dreams - no surprise there. We dream about all kinds of things. But, two such dreams stand out. In one He was very stern with me....just a disapproving look, as it were. In another, more vivid, he stands alone and gives me one word. "Yield!" Well, the duty of a Bhakta is to do just that. He said so. Yield! And that's what I've tried to do. So, I'm not in contact with that one person who holds the key and the attempt to pass on that effort to another was an obvious mistake and thus a failure.

On this the first full moon of 2018, I Yield.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Desani's Paper on Civil Disobedience

     Todd Katz has today posted a link at http://www.desani.org/other-writings to Desani's paper on Civil Disobedience delivered at a Colloquium at the Philosophy Department, University of Texas, Austin in 1979. Direct link here. The paper details, from Desani's unique point of view, Mahatma Ghandi's political struggles in South Africa and India.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Desani on Pananjali Yoga Sutras

     Heavy Karma is in the mind. Unseen karma consists of innumerable past lives, deeds, words.

     The desiring of an object is animalistic. Clinging to an object is equivalent to fear of loosing same. If one tends to animalism one eventually falls into violent experiences, employment, etc. He associates the proliferation of armaments.

     A sanskara is an unaccountable karmasaya.

     To have a spiritual mentor is a fixed destiny.

     Attachment is associated with revulsion.

     A selfless action is a virtuous action, duty, without intention, with love, with compassion.

     Desani recounts spending a year learning to walk without intention - it is extremely difficult.

     Restraints must be imposed on things that are easily overindulged in, e.g., sex.

     When Satva rises to its highest level illumination is produced (in a situation).

The Science of Yoga

     Sutra means aphorism. Yoga is to control the vriti of citta, consciouosness.

     The Bhagavad Gita notes there are many yogas. The sage Patanjali's yoga is a precursor of these. 

       Raja yoga
       Dhyana/Zen yoga
       Karma yoga - - yoga of action without desire
       Bhakti yoga - - of devotion, like a practicing Christian's love for his god 
       Hatha yoga - - physical yoga
       Kundaline yoga

     Samkhya is the theoretical basis of yoga.

     The yogi seeks quiescence in order to attain samadhi/satori.


           PURUSHA                                                                                                      PRAKRITI
               spirit                                                                           substance of universe-nature-existential mass 
_____________________________________________________________________
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MAHAT
cosmic intelligence
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AHAMKARA
(I Am) principle of individuality
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MANAS
cosmic mind
                                            ______________________________________
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                                    INDRIYAS                                                    TANMATRAS
                                                    powers of the senses                                                                            subtle elements
                                                            hearing                                                                                                 sound
                                                            smelling                                                                                                odor
                                                            seeing                                                                                                    sight
                                                            touching                                                                                                texture
                                                            tasting                                                                                                   flavor


     With reservations there are three elements in Prakriti, the Gunas. They are sattva, rajas, tamas.

     The first product of the union of the Purusha and Prakriti is Mahat. It is from Mahat that Patanjali intellectualized his compilation. It is also the Mahat that westerners allude to when they speak of Universal Mind., etc.

     Consciousness is made of, consists of, the three Gunas. A rose is made of the Gunas. The image of a rose in one's mind is made of the Gunas. The difference is, with reservations, a matter of quantity.

     a. Satva - The most subtle substance in nature - mental substance. On the moral level it is goodness and on the aesthetic level, the most beautiful.

     b. Rajas - Animating element

     c. Tamas - Passive element. The tendency to procrastinate is tied in with Tamas. It is the steadying element, pulls toward sleep.

     Yoga has to do with the second Guna, Rajas, with stopping the animating element so that Satva can shine forth. This is the quieting of consciousness.

     Samadhi grants Mokhti, freedom.

     Patanjali's first sutra is that Yoga is the inhibition of the citta vritis (modifications of the mind).

     Five kinds of citta vritis
       1. A person feels full of lethargy, sleepy. a. and b. are conquored by c. He notes that the gods never sleep and recounts that as a monk he went ten or so days without sleep stating that during this time Satva reigns.
       2. A person is full of anger - c. dominates
       3. A person is full of restlessness - b. dominates
       4. A person is full of good works - a. dominates
       5. The highest Samadhi is the one that grants knowledge though it is still a modification of the mind.

     So, Purusha, spirit, and Prakriti, cosmic substance are foundational.

     Yoga means union (yoke).

     The first result of the union (yoking) of spirit and cosmic substance is cosmic intelligence.

     He mentions the Nadi Shastras speaking of foreknowledge. Two centuries ago a palm leaf refers to Desani by name, gives date of birth, place, and so forth.

     Qualities of Purusha - It is the lord, it is not material, it is conscious.

     Qualities of Prakriti -  Satva - mental substance, Raja - activating element, Tama - inertia.

     He says that a 2500 year old commentary says that space and time are schemes for the understanding.

     In Mahat Satva dominates. Mahat is the source of wisdom. Mahat is the first evolute.

     Literally Mahat means the great.

     When Purusha and Prakriti are joined and the first evolute arises it is Purusha who sees this. It is Purusha that sees all.

     Ahamkara is the precondition for the mind's ability to discriminate. At Mahat there is no discrimination but just one ocean of light. He gives thought that most people evolve to Ahamkara and stop, especially Westerners.

     Yoga is the stilling of citta (consciousness)  vritis (modifications of consciousness).

     Consciousness is material so what we think effects others.

     Thought impinges on its object. If I think of a person as dead that person will find his death. If I think good thoughts about a person that person will find good. Of course, this applies only if there are certain yogic attainments. Desani has see this in action.)

     Thought is substance. Think Satva will increase and it will. Think Raja as increasing, it will. Think Tama as increasing, it will.

     He gives example of a teacher at Cambridge (Desmond) hitting a student who questioned whether thought could be proved to be a substance, in the stomach with a visualized - by thought - heavy object. Desmond turned, whirled to face student. Student fell, was hospitalized, almost died. Desani says this is a "petty trick".

     Also relates that a man worked ten years to perfect a trick whereby he could not be moved by five men (from a train when he refused to pay for a ticket). He thought a heavy object into existence at the base of his spine - he cultivated Tama at the base of his spine.

     Four states of consciousness - Awake, sleep, profound sleep, Samadhi.

     One must practice and practice detachment.

     The intellect is material. If it is mirror like, superior material, it is comprised mostly of Satva.

     Purusha is masculine, the divine father. Prakriti is femine, the divine mother.

________________________________________

     This is from my actual notes from the class of spring, 1973 at the University of Texas, Department of Philosophy, Austin, Texas. The department chairman was Irwin Lieb. The dean of Arts and Sciences was John Silber. Raja Rao also taught there at this time. I took his course on Mahayana Buddhism. Desani also taught a course on Theravada Buddhism.

     Rao's class was, as I recall 200 or more students. Desani's class on Patanjali, about 20, maybe 30, no more.

     My old textbook:


J.H.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Desani's Indian Affairs piece and the Nadi texts

Todd Katz (Desani.org) has made available Desani's piece on Indian Affairs, An Appraisal, originally published in the Illustrated Weekly of India in 1964. I have previously written about his Nadi texts here and am including Desani's comment which gives the reader the benefit of his personal thoughts on these texts in his own words.

Quote:


It was about nine years ago that I was told of the faculty in some persons to foresee. A few of those were professional astrologers. I consulted them, at a considerable cost in time and money, and although one or two surprised me, I was disappointed. The results reported from Europe and America seemed better. (Mr. Nehru obviously has not the leisure to read such reports or to notice that the subject of precognition and foreknowledge is not beneath the active attention of a research fellow at the University of Oxford.) My inquiries, in the course of years, led me to the samhitas of the rishis Bhrigu, Vashistha, and Kaśyapa. I allow for greed, and fraud: apart from the laudable enterprise of the Madras Government – so I have been told – who have published some Nadi books, these samhitas are in the possession of the people who sell information. Well. If, in a work written on palm-leaf, absolutely at the most guarded of estimates a few centuries ago, I found my name, my parents’ name, and the names and exact description of the women with whom I have been in love, and all the details about the state of my health, my gurus’ names – including non-Indian names – and the precise details of my mantra dikshas – secret communications known only to myself and my teachers (absolutely regardless of any other prophecies concerning the span of years following the date of consulting the samhitas) and all this information within the framework, the precise terminology of Indian astrology, I think such a discovery is an occasion for humility and reduction of one’s ego.
.... to prophecy that I, G.V. Desani, shall, at a certain age, exactly so many years and months and days past the date of my birth, on a certain day, at such and such hour, call and consult the Samhita of Kausika, is a special faculty, you see.