from Great Swan by Lex Hixon, Larson Pub., NY, 1996:
The instinctive I am could be considered the primary image or icon of divine Reality. But Mother must give you eyes of divine Love before you can behold the divine Face. -Ramakrishna, p. 267
Advancing along the path one develops authentic bhakti which is not mere emotion but a love for God just as deep and real as the affection experienced between intimate friends. Then comes the development of bhava, the dawning of mystic union which is like intense conjugal delight. One becomes utterly speechless or else utters words in a drunken state of astonishment. The energy currents in the subtle nervous system are stilled and realigned. One experiences suspension of breath. The final step is prema–becoming divine Love alone….
Disciple: Master, is this world unreal?
Ramakrishna: Certainly it is unreal as long as you still imagine it to be a separate substantial world. But when you have awakened into God-consciousness every being, every event, every process is sublimely real–the blissful play of Mother. After knowing the Mother-Reality directly and intimately one is no longer living in an impermanent deceptive world. -p. 291
The Sufis follow the way of prema, a love so intense that it melts and dissolves the entire being. I was once shown a Persian book which explained the spiritual essence of the human body–inside the flesh is bone, inside the bone is marrow, inside the marrow are more subtle substances but the innermost is prema. -p. 256
Immature practitioners cannot easily recognize fully awakened souls–paramahansas (great swans) who move through the world mysteriously in various disguises….Their presence no matter how unconventional is always healing and illuminating. They are constantly engaged, inwardly or outwardly, in the humble service of all creatures whom they experience as transparent and beautiful vessels of the one Presence. In their holy company the longing to know and to merge with Truth arises and intensifies naturally. They are the Wish-fulfilling Tree which bears four varieties of fruit in abundance–righteousness, welath, delight and mystic freedom–each one an expression of selflessness. After experiencing the nectar of these fruits, egocentric enjoyment and ambition taste bitter in comparison. -p. 292
Taiwan’s protesters are fighting for the very democracy of the island
A trade deal struck with China threatens economic as well as political dominance from across the Taiwan Strait
The deal will give China’s large media and publishing companies far greater access to Taiwan. The island’s China Times Group, for instance, was bought in 2008 by the pro-China Want Want Holdings, one of the largest food manufacturing conglomerates in Asia. Given Taiwan’s history – it split from China in 1949 after the KMT retreated to Taiwan – the fears are that there will be many more China Times-type takeovers. And, further, that economic dominance will lead to political dominance, under which the gains made by Taiwan’s people over the past two decades – such as a multi-party parliamentary democracy and press freedom – will be lost. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/25/taiwans-protesters-democracy-china-taiwan-strait