"The Extraordinary Life of Maurice Frydman" — Buddha and the Gas Pump interview with David Godman + Additional Biographies
Maurice Frydman is one of most extraordinary people I’ve ever come across and virtually nothing is known about him. And because of his connection with Ramana Maharshi, Krishnamurti, Gandhi, Nisargadatta, the Dali Lama I kind of view him in my own mind as a Forest Gump of 20th century spirituality. He was in all the right places in all the right times to get the maximum benefit of interaction with some of the greats of Indian spirituality… He was a Gandhian, he worked for the uplift of the poor in India, he worked with Tibetan refugees, he edited extraordinary books [like] “I am That,” probably one of the all time spiritual classics.
This man for me a shining beacon of how devotees could and should be with their teachers. He was just absolutely an extraordinary man. And went out of his way to cover his tracks; to hide what he actually had accomplished in his life. So I’ve enjoyed the detective work of looking in obscure placers, digging out stuff that he personally tried to hide, not because it was embarrassing, but because he didn’t like to take credit for what he’d done. So I see this as an opportunity to wave the Maurice flag and say “look look, this is one of the greatest devotee, sadoc seekers from the West whose been to India in the last 100 years, and I think more people should know about him."—————————————————————————— David Godman
—Both of David Godman's interviews are found at:
Maurice “Bharatananda” Frydman:
The great karma yogi you never heard of
“We ripen when we refuse to drift, when striving ceaselessly become a way of life, when dispassion born of insight becomes spontaneous. When the search ‘Who Am I?’ becomes the only thing that matters, when we become a mere torch and the flame all important, it will mean that we are ripening fast. We cannot accelerate that ripening, but we can remove the obstacles of fear and greed, indolence and fancy, prejudice and pride.”
Maurice Frydman, April 1976 The Mountain Path
—Maurice Frydman and J. Krishnamurti
You might have come across his name on the cover of the classic giant I Am That. He was the man who tape recorded conversations in the Marathi dialect with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and then translated and pushed to publish the book. What you might not know is that he carried out that deed late in his life after five decades of service to India directly and to the world of spiritual seekers at large. The people that he came across and was in deep relationship with included J. Krishnamurti, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Mahatma Gandhi besides Maharaj. Furthermore, he was also involved with the liberation of India from English rule in the state of Aundh by writing the constitution there as well as being active in the villages of the state. Later on, he spent years pushing the Indian government for and receiving land and money to create the settlements where thousands of uprooted Tibetans escaped the Chinese invasion.
Maurice Frydman was born in the Jewish ghetto of Krakow, Poland in 1894. Being an exceptionally bright student, he excelled in school and studied electrical engineering. He was fluent in Hebrew, English, French, Russian, German and added to that Hindi later in life. His seeking started at a young age and involved delving into Judaism and studying the Talmud. He followed this by becoming a monk in the Russian Orthodox church. This path also did not feed his thirst and he was said to have been fed up with all dogmas. His brilliance in his school did pave the way for him to drastically change his life from his humble beginning. He had many patents to his name by the age of twenty when he moved to Europe for his studies and started work.
During this time he came across his first teacher J. Krishnamurti in Switzerland. This meeting was prior to Krishnamurti’s break with the Theosophical Society and the relationship lasted many decades. Maurice was known to be a fierce debater with Krishnamurti whom he held in high regards. He would organize meetings for him as well as translate some of his work into French. After a period of several years, in 1928 he made a more permanent move to Paris to start a job at an electrical factory. In Paris he came across Brunton’s book on Ramana Maharshi that started a burning desire to go to India.
His wish came true several years later when in 1935 he was offered a job to set up an engineering firm in Mysore, which he accepted. In his early years in India in the late 1930s he found Ramana Maharshi and spent time with the Bhagavan. As one of the regular devotees, many of his questions and the master’s response were recorded in Maharshi’s Gospel. Ramana said of Frydman “He belongs only here to India. Somehow he was born abroad, but has come again here”.
Concurrently he came into relationship with Mahatma Gandhi and was involved with his struggle to free India from British rule. It was during this time in 1938 that he asked the Raja of Aundh province to help Gandhi’s cause by freeing his control of the seventy two village property which the Raja agreed to. He then drew up a draft of declaration of independence which then was given to Gandhi. He in turn wrote the constitution of the state, giving full authority to the people of the state, a rare event in pre independent India. An interesting side fact is that during his time with Gandhiji Frydman worked on and improved on the design of the cotton spinning wheels that became synonymous with Gandhi and his movement.
Frydman’s family perished in Poland during WWII and he never returned there after that.
At this juncture in his life he gave up on his job and worldly possessions. He took on the robe of a sannyasi under Sri Swami Ramdas who named him Bharatananda; a robe he later gave up as being meaningless while living the spirit of it to his death. From this time on, he did give up his salary to the needy around him. He had no room for symbols and spiritual materialism that did not reflect true ripeness; he found them to be shallow and counter productive. He regretted his inability to take further use of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings while the Bhagavan was alive. He wrote after his death “Now He is still with us, but no longer so easily accessible. To find Him again we must overcome the very obstacles which prevented us form seeing Him as He was and going with Him where he wanted to take us. It was Tamas and Rajas – fear and desire that stood in the way – the desire of the pleasure of the past and fear of austere responsibility of a higher state of being. It was the same old story- the threshold of maturity of mind and heart which most of refuse to cross”.
Maurice Frydman died in Bombay on March 9th of 1976 with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj by his side. A beautiful event ends this incredible life. During his last days of life Frydman gets a visit by a professional nurse he does not know. The nurse had been visited in a dream by an old man in a loin cloth telling her to go and take care of Frydman. Frydman refuses to accept the nurse’s offer. As the nurse is leaving she walks past a picture of the old man that had visited her in her dream. Upon telling Frydman this, he accepts her offer and allows her to take care of him. The picture: it was Ramana Maharshi who had left his body over three decades prior.
Excerpts taken from:
Dr M. Sadashiva Rao Vol. 19, No. 5 The Maharshi
Apa B Bant, 1991 Volume of Mountain Path
Written for Namrupa Issue 10 Volume 05, November 2009
By Barrry Gordon
"Your own being is your definitive master, the external teacher is simply a sign on the path, only your inner teacher will go with you to the goal, since he is the goal."
— Nisargadatta Maharaj, from the book I Am That.
If you mention the name of Maurice Frydman to spiritual practitioners who are familiar with Advaita Vedanta and Tibetan Buddhism, not many would recognize it. Even so, Maurice was a key factor in the dissemination of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi , Nisargadatta Maharaj , Swami Ramdas, Anandamayi Ma, Mahatma Ghandi; And in supporting the Tibetan Buddhists. It was because of Maurice that I was able to stay in Ramana Maharshi's ashram , meet Nisargadatta, J. Krishnamurti , Mother Krishnabai and (indirectly) Douglas Harding .
I met Maurice for the first time when he was an energetic man of seventy-six, and instantly felt that he had found a friend and grandfather long lost. I had gone to India earlier in 1971 to stay at Baba Muktananda's ashram in Ganeshpuri, not far from Bombay.
When my six-month visa expired, I wanted to stay in India. I gave my passport to a Hindu politician (MP) from Bombay, whom I had met at Muktananda's ashram and who said that I could get a permanent residency status. Since this was India, several months passed without resolution in sight. One day, two friends and I decided to go to Bombay for the purpose of satisfying our cravings for ice cream and mango lassi, but the hotels did not admit us without a passport. One of my friends had heard of Maurice Frydman and suggested that we go to his house for help.
Maurice lived on Nepean Sea Street, at the home of Ms. Hirubhai Petit, a former devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Mrs. Petit was a wonderful lady Parsi, a little younger than Maurice and almost deaf. It was usually seen at meal times. Maurice and she had been constant companions for many years. Maurice said that when Maharshi left his body, Ms. Petit saw a star cross the skies of Bombay and said, "There goes Bhagavan." He had made the right moment.
Mrs. Petit lived in the rooms in front of the apartment and spent most of her time meditating. In his youth he had been a piano performer, playing professionally in Europe, which was sometimes considered improper behavior for a Hindu woman in those days.
Education was a rare option for a woman. I remember a woman Parsi, perhaps in her forties, friend of Maurice and Mrs. Petit, who came to lunch one day. She was one of the first women graduated from college in India and was active in social work. She told me that Maurice had been instrumental in helping her get a better education. He then gave him great spiritual and emotional support when he was experiencing difficulties in accepting the world of work, which was totally dominated by men.
Maurice welcomed and fed everyone at his door - and there were many people. After questioning me sharply (as he did with many of his guests - a skill for which Maurice was famous), he offered me an exchange. I could stay with him if I helped him to pack and send to Poland the books he had published. I do not think Maurice needed to question people, because he already knew the answers. It felt as if he held your heart in the palm of his hands and could examine it in detail. From the spark of his eyes, however, he obviously enjoyed it. He saw everyone clearly and allowed no dishonesty. A lot of deflated egos left their table being better people. That was the beginning of an 18-month relationship during which I helped Maurice with many of his social projects, but mostly to pack books for the Hindu-Polish Library, to interview Nisargadatta, and later to edit the manuscript to be published as I am That . Although he did not really need to help with the book, as he was a brilliant writer in many languages, this work became one of the ways he taught me the importance of making every detail look good.
—Maurice Frydman with Nisargadatta
Together, we were going to interview Nisargadatta once a week, though I think Maurice had started the interviews about a year before I knew him. Maurice spoke Marathi (the local language) fluently, as well as Hindi, Polish, Russian, French, English and many others. Maharaj was very fond of Maurice. Once, Maurice was injured in a collision with a scooter and could not leave the house for a few weeks. We were surprised by a spontaneous visit by Maharaj, who walked all the way, with the help of one of his sons, worried that Maurice had not come to his regular visit. Maharaj must have walked for more than an hour to get to Maurice's house.
Nisargadatta welcomed the visitors into a small room above the house of his family. He sat near the front window, with a bidi (cigarette) in his hand, and excitedly answered our questions, which were recorded by Maurice. In a recent video about Nisargadatta Maharaj (produced by Inner Directions), it looked as if the room had been reorganized since those days.
Maharaj and Maurice were alike in many ways. Both were inflexible as to truth and had a similar intensity that could be mistaken for anger - but it was more the fire of their enlightened compassion. In fact, all the masters with whom Maurice had been implicated were thus, except perhaps Swami Ramdas. Although Maharaj is famous as vedantin , I was struck by the intensity of his puja (devout worship). When the time came for the puja, all talk ceased; Maharaj took his great cymbals and began to worship and sing to the utmost of his lungs - an example of true devotion.
Maurice spoke very little about his past. The only extensive biographical material I know of is an article by Apa B. Pant, a retired Hindu diplomat (and Prince of Aundh), who was Maurice's disciple for forty years. In addition, material has been published in The Mountain Path , a magazine published by Sri Ramanasramam (the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi). In the house of Maurice I met Eva Moimir, from Krakow, Poland. His father, now about ninety years old, was a friend of Maurice's early days in the Theosophical Society. Eva stayed with Maurice for about six months and contributed to this article with some of her memories.
Maurice was born in 1894 in the Jewish ghetto of Krakow, Poland, from a very poor family. At that time, it was very difficult for Jews to receive public education. My grandmother (from Odessa) told me that only five percent of Jewish children were allowed to attend school. Maurice's father was a very devout man and wanted Maurice to become a rabbi, so Maurice began to learn Hebrew. I think he ended up speaking fourteen or fifteen languages altogether. At the age of ten, he spoke fluent Russian, Polish, French, English and Hebrew. Maurice went on to study electrical engineering, and at twenty, he had received patents for more than a hundred electrical and mechanical inventions, one of which was a talking book. Maurice's skills for invention and his ingenuity later would be very beneficial to the villages of India. Maurice told me that he designed all the hand tools used in the Khadi movement of Ghandi (hand-knit clothing), such as the small and famous handwheel.
Maurice's services were in demand in many parts of Europe. However, around the age of twenty-five, he had an overwhelming desire to see God, and this intense desire helped determine the balance of his life. Maurice was allergic to dogma. He studied Judaism seriously and even became a Russian Orthodox monk. He once told me a story that represents his character very well. AB Pant describes it beautifully: "One day, Satan tempted Maurice to jump out of a great waterfall to 'prove his faith' in Jesus Christ and the church. Then this intrepid seeker of truth immediately jumped from a precipice of over a hundred Feet! He was barely saved by some bushes in which his cassock tangled. " Maurice's impetuosity would later become a saving grace for thousands of people. Maurice, however, did not last long in the church.
—Maurice Frydman and J. Krishnamurti
Around thirty, Maurice discovered the Theosophical Society, its founder Annie Besant (1), and the rising star of the Theosophical movement, J. Krishnamurti, becoming one of Krishnaji's most serious inquirers. Maurice was also friends with Wanda "Umadevi" Dynowska, an aristocrat and notable spiritual seeker. Together (in 1944), they founded the Polish-Indian library. Umadevi also founded the Polish branch of the Theosophical Society.
Maurice introduced AB Pant to Krishnamurti. Pant describes Maurice's dialogues with Krishnaji: "I marveled at Maurice's incisive brilliance and vision by challenging almost every point with Krishnaji." It was not the challenge of the arrogant or of a confident pandit . Which Krishnaji explained through his own immediate experience.In the "duel" between the two of them, there was no memory of the past or no conjecture about the future. fragrant".
Pant continues the story and tells that Maurice immigrated to France to accept a job in a new electrical factory from which he would soon become the general manager. Reading voraciously and absorbing books of religion, mysticism and occultism in the National Library, he soon encountered Vedanta (the non-dualistic wisdom of India, especially revealed in the Upanishads , the great metaphysical part of the Vedas) and immersed in the Bhagavad Gita , the Upanishads and the Mahabharata . Greatly attracted him books about Sri Ramana Maharshi, especially India Secret of Paul Brunton . For Maurice, this was the greatest revelation, the inquiry: "Who am I?" - a question that I think was answered in his last stay in India.
During his stay in France, a great desire to visit India arose in Maurice. Around this time, the Diwan (Chief Officer) of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, arrived for a tour of the factory where Maurice worked. Quickly recognizing the genius and skill of Maurice, Sir Mirza remarked: "Mr. Frydman, I wish you could come and visit us in Mysore and advise us on development." Diwain wanted to make a replica of the Paris factory in Bangalore (South India). Maurice told him that his bags were ready.
It is noteworthy that just as Maurice was keen to go to India, the Diwan of Mysore would arrive and invite him - not only to India but to Bangalore, which is quite close to Tiruvannamalai so that Maurice could spend the weekends at the ashram of Ramana Maharshi. Maurice soon became a passionate disciple of Maharshi and later compiled a series of conversations with Ramana, later published with the title The Gospel of Maharshi . Maurice asked Ramana to initiate him as a Hindu monk ( sannyasi ), but Maharshi refused. Once Maurice was decided there was nothing that could dissuade him. While living and working in Bangalore, Maurice visited Swami Ramdas at the Ananda ashram in Khanangad, Kerala. During one of these visits, Maurice made the resignation vows, shaved his head, and began to wear the saffron robes of the Hindu monks. Swami Ramdas gave Maurice the name "Bharatananda". This change, reflecting Maurice's inner conviction, caused him some difficulties with Sir Mirza, his boss in Bangalore.
When Sir Mirza learned that Maurice had begun the sannyas , who wore saffron robes, who went out to beg for food and gave all his wages to the poor, he became enraged. I think Sir Mirza never really understood how to work with Maurice. When Maurice was ordered to wear normal clothing, Maurice immediately offered his resignation and said: "I am free to live my personal life as I see fit, as long as it satisfies everything concerning the quality of my work as an engineer and manager" . Soon they reached an agreement in which Maurice would only have to wear a traditional dress when a very important person went to the factory. AB Pant was one of those people, and the meeting between them marked the beginning of the end of Maurice's time with Sir Mirza. Although Maurice spent much time in the company of Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti, he managed to cling to strict fidelity to external renunciation for another ten or twelve years.
The father of Apa Pant was Diwan of Aundh, a small and poor state of Maharashtra. Pant was Maurice's first and closest disciple. When Pant asked Sir Mirza to "lend" Maurice for a period of six months, he quickly denied his request. This action, of course, caused Maurice to leave permanently for Aundh. As Sri Pant tells us in his story, Maurice carried Mahatma Ghandi's inspired message to the villages of Aundh, as neither the Rajas or British autocrats of other states were very adept at decentralized democracy. Maurice and Sri Pant were called to the famous mud hut of the Mahatma and Ghandi welcomed Bharatananda with a: "So you have taken the poor Raja of Aundh and left the rich man in Mysore to his fate?" This meeting began a close association between Mahatma and Maurice. Maurice became a Hindu citizen and was deeply involved with Ghandi's work and movement for national independence. He was also active in the Sevagram movement , which continued after independence with Britain. Maurice played a key role in the invention of several hand tools, such as spinning equipment, which were then employed by the village industries movement.
Sri Pant wrote about the meeting between Maurice and Mahatma Ghandi in the books A Moment in Time and An Unusual Raja , both published by Orient Longman.
For three years Maurice lived under an acacia tree in the fields of Aundh. Although the daily temperature ranged from 48 degrees during the day to 6 degrees Celsius at night, he slept only with blankets and bamboo rugs. During this time Maurice was personally responsible for the abolition of the death penalty and the release of many prisoners to a democratic and open penal colony. In fact, he created the city of Swatantrapur, originally located in the fields of Aundh. It still exists today.
Although Maurice was already in his mid-seventies when I spent time with him, he was very active in various charities, most of which had been started and completed by him. In addition to publishing spiritual books, she also opened orphanages, centers for training prostitutes, and an organization to find gifts for them so they could get married. It was closely associated with Chetana Books, a publishing house and bookstore located in Bombay. (Chetana was the first editorial of Yo Soy That , the collection of conversations with Nisargadatta Maharaj).
Maurice experimented with many things and was especially attracted to natural cures and special diets. I was being successfully treated by a homeopath for something that I later realized was poisoning Agent Orange, which I contracted during my days as a Marine Officer in Vietnam. Maurice convinced me to change him for fasting, which began with three days of bananas, followed by three days of oranges, then three days only of water; And then the same, but in reverse. Homeopathy worked better. There were always bizarre concoctions on the table - dark liquids with unusual fragrances, etc. This must have been true for years, because Pant also describes Maurice's fascination with food experiments. Ghandi also had this predilection. Maurice believed firmly in fasting and loved to tell the story of the Italian Count who lived during the Renaissance. The count was a great sybarite who, because of his excessive indulgence, was very overweight. As a result of his weight problem, the Count became ill to death. However, by simply cutting his food intake in half, the count successfully restored his health.
When the Chinese invaded Tibet and thousands of Tibetans fled to India, they found themselves without shelter in the land of Buddha. Maurice took charge of his cause and without help became an "Indian-Tibetan refugee program". The history of the Tibetan refugees reflects the determination and tenacity of Maurice; It was these qualities that helped him move mountains. Maurice literally sat in the prime minister's office until Nehru spoke to him. When he finally gained access to Nehru, Maurice advocated the cause of the Tibetans. Nehru, along with the government of India, were very concerned that if they granted land to the Tibetan refugees, then China could invade India. This was the reason why there was no official position on the refugee problem. However, Nehru found in Maurice the last of his shoe. Maurice refused to leave the prime minister's office without an official letter that could be taken to several peripheral states of India and to authorize the use of a land of more than 3500 feet that can be used by Tibetan refugees. Maurice left the meeting with the letter and sought land that was appropriate for the Tibetan settlement. What is now Dharmsala owes its birth to Maurice, who was instrumental in procuring most of the land and financing the settlement of the villages.
In 1976, Maurice had a second accident. As he walked through the crowded streets of Bombay, he was hit by a motorcycle. She never completely recovered from this accident and later died in the apartment where she lived for so many years, of which Mrs. Petit was the owner. Nissargadatta Maharj was at his side at the end and proclaimed Maurice a free man. Maharaj respected Maurice so much that he added his photograph to that of other saints and gurus whom Maharaj worshiped daily.
Barry Gordon holds a BA in Physics and is a Feng Shui consultant and educator, and an advanced student of Professor Thomas Yun Lin, one of the most renowned philosophers of our time.
While serving in the United States Army, a death experience in Vietnam led him to a broad and extensive spiritual path.
With extensive experience in Western psychotherapy and Homeopathy, he also lived in Hindu ashrams, Buddhist monasteries, studied with a Sufi master and with a Hawaiian Kahuna.
-—Barry Gordon's Website:
Maurice Frydman was an engineer, humanitarian and a close associate to notable spiritual teachers when he spent the later part of his life in India.
He was a Polish Jew who subsequently converted to Hinduism.
He became a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, lived in his ashram, and took an active part in India's fight for independence. He was also very close to Nehru.
He was associated with the great spiritual teachers Sri Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti and a longtime friend to the famous Advaita guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, who considered him a Jnani. He edited and translated Nisargadatta Maharaj's tape-recorded conversations into the English-language book "I Am That", published in 1973. Nisargadatta Maharaj was by his bedside when he died in 1976 in India.
According to David Godman, Nisargadatta Maharaj, in response to the question "'In all the years that you have been teaching how many people have truly understood and experienced your teachings?" replied: "One. Maurice Frydman”.
Using his engineering skills, he made the spinning wheel that Gandhi himself used. Frydman created several new types of spinning wheels for Gandhi, which piqued his interest in finding the most efficient and economical spinning wheel for India.
He took an active part in India's fight for independence —notably in helping to draft a new constitution for the State of Aundh that became the Aundh Experiment.
Frydman came to India in the late 1930s as a Jewish refugee from Warsaw. A successful capitalist, he was managing director of the Mysore State Government Electrical Factory in Bangalore. Eventually he was won over by Hindu philosophy and became a sannyasi. Frydman was instrumental, along with Gandhi and the Raja of Aundh, in helping to draft the November Declaration, which handed over rule of the state of Aundh from the Raja to the residents in 1938-9.
He visited Swami Ramdas in the 1930s and Ramdas apparently told him that this would be his final birth. That comment was recorded in Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi in the late 1930s, decades before he had his meetings with Nisargadatta Maharaj. He was at various stages of his life a follower of Ramana Maharshi, Gandhi, and J. Krishnamurti.
A senior Indian government official told David Godman in the 1960s that it was Frydman who persuaded the then India Prime Minister Nehru to allow the Dalai Lama and the other exiled Tibetans to stay in India. Frydman apparently pestered him continuously for months until he finally gave his consent. None of these activities were ever publicly acknowledged because Frydman disliked publicity of any kind and always tried to do his work anonymously.
Maurice Frydman - His Life Story:http://life-after-joining-ishayoga.blogspot.com/2014/09/maurice-frydman-his-life-story-your.html
Maurice Frydman (Maurycy Frydman or Maurycy Frydman-Mor in Polish), aka Swami Bharatananda (1901 in Warsaw, Poland 9 to March 1977, India), was an engineer and humanitarian who spent the later part of his life in India. He lived at the ashram of Mohandas Gandhi and took an active part in India's fight for independence—notably in helping to draft a new constitution for the State of Aundh that became the Aundh Experiment. He was a Polish Jew who subsequently converted to Hinduism.
Frydman came to India in the late 1930s as a Jewish refugee from Warsaw. A successful capitalist, he was managing director of the Mysore State Government Electrical Factory in Bangalore. Eventually he was won over by Hindu philosophy and became a sannyasi. Frydman was instrumental, along with Gandhi and the Raja of Aundh, in helping to draft the November Declaration, which handed over rule of the state of Aundh from the Raja to the residents in 1938-9.
He became acquainted with one of the sons of the Raja of Aundh, and was well regarded by the Raja himself. According to the Raja's son, Apa Pant, "Frydman had great influence with my father, and on his seventy-fifth birthday he said, 'Raja Saheb, why don't you go and make a declaration to Mahatma Gandhi that you are giving all power to the people because it will help in the freedom struggle.'"
As a sympathiser with the Indian independence movement, the Raja accepted this idea. Frydman wrote a draft declaration, and the Raja and his son, Apa Pant, travelled to see Gandhi in Wardha, where the Mahatma drew up a new constitution for the state. The constitution, which gave full responsible government to the people of Aundh, was adopted on 21 January 1939. This "Aundh Experiment" was a rare event in pre-independence India, where the rulers of princely states were generally reluctant to give up their power. After some initial hesitation among the populace of the state it proved to be very successful, lasting until the merger of the princely states into India in 1948.
While in India, Frydman became a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and lived in his ashram, where he made the spinning wheel that Gandhi himself used. Frydman used his engineering skill to create several new types of spinning wheels for Gandhi, which piqued his interest in finding the most efficient and economical spinning wheel for India.
He was close to Nehru, and was associated with Sri Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti.
A longtime friend to Advaita guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, who considered him a Jnani, Maurice Frydman died in 1976 in India, with Sri Nisargadatta by his bedside. Frydman edited and translated Nisargadatta Maharaj's tape-recorded conversations into the English-language book I Am That, published in 1973.
Frydman helped Wanda Dynowska, a Polish theosophist who came to India in the 1930s, to establish a Polish-Indian Library (Biblioteka Polsko-Indyjska). The library holds a collection of books aimed "to show India to Poland and Poland to India", containing translations from Indian languages to Polish and from Polish to English. During the 2nd World War he helped with the transfer of Polish orphans from Siberia, displaced there by the Soviets after their annexation of Eastern Poland to Siberia in 1939-1941. They were moved from Siberia via Iran (with the Polish army of Gen. Władysław Anders) mainly to India, Kenya and New Zealand. After 1959 he helped Wanda Dynowska with Tibetan refugees in India.
Vedanta is a "non-dual" tradition of Hinduism. It is similar in many ways to other non-dual traditions such as Zen or Dzogchen Buddhism, Taoism, Christian Mysticism (Gnosticism) and Sufism of Islam. The Advaita is a "section" or branch of the Vedanta which says that there is a singularity of reality, a "Unity" or an essence that underlies everything that appears to be.
Advaita means no-dos. This is not a path, nor a practice. The Advaita is a direct description of reality as it is.
Vedanta means the end of the Vedas, the end of all knowledge, unlearning, non-knowing. Through research on the nature of reality, called "knowledge of Being," the seeker comes to the realization of the non-dual nature of Reality.
Vedanta Advaita does not intend to impart a new set of beliefs, but to leave us without the support of all beliefs, all assumptions, including the assumption that there is an individual entity or person that exists, that is born and then will die.
In the direct recognition of Reality as it is, the seeker disappears as the root or foundation of all false translations (of Reality).
Our problem is that we feel limited, we feel isolated and small, temporary and insignificant. So we try to fill that gap, either with things from a material point of view or with states from a spiritual point of view.
However, it is this inherent sense of limitation that we can not escape. The belief I have about me is that I am limited, therefore when I look for the unlimited it is always very frustrating. If my belief about me is true, if I really am limited, if reality is really composed of separate existences, then spirituality is really a fantasy. This means that slavery and suffering is the truth of existence.
However, there is another possibility. That possibility is that, to begin with, I have never been limited, reality has never been composed of separate existences. If this is the case, then the only problem is my own ignorance of myself, ignorance of the truth of reality as a whole. This ignorance can only be corrected by the knowledge of myself, of reality as it really is. Vedanta is a means of knowing to know myself.
The "seeker" and the "realization" can not coexist. As a seeker, I see myself as an individual "part" of the Universe, I have established a situation that has everything to lose. A seeker can never find the Oneness, because it is the same idea of a seeker that automatically excludes the Unity as a possibility. It is the concept of a person who is, by definition, the core of the limitation.
So to ask what I can do, as a seeker, to realize the Unity, is useless. It will always be useless. We could say that "Seeker" and Unity are mutually exclusive. It is only when the very root concept of the individual, the seeker, the person, is questioned, that opportunity can come for Unity or realization.
The Subject "I"
The Vedanta asks nothing of the seeker except to inquire in the sense of the "I", the subject, the Atma as it is called (in the Vedanta). Is the "I" the world? What is the world made of? How does it appear before you? It is presented through objective experience, as sensory information. However, is not the same thing with the body? Is the "I" the body? And with the thoughts? Are "I" thoughts?
No. The body is not the subject, because the body appears in the subject - "I". The thoughts are not the subject, the thoughts appear in the subject - "I". Any feeling, memory, emotion, sensation, perception, concept, idea - all are objects contained in the subject - "I", which is what you are.
So what IS that subject- "I"? Any sensation is not. Any perception is not. Therefore, that subject - "I" has no form, is not objectifiable through any experience. However, it is always there - without a doubt. You are always there in any and all experiences. That subject- "I" is, in fact, neither a body nor a thought. It is the realization of the body, the thoughts and the world.
Therefore this subject - "I" is pure, without attributes, without form, size, color - without any dimension in space or time. What you truly are, in real experience, is not something that has some objective content, yet it is the most intimate aspect of all experience.
Another word for the "subject" is knowledge [of knowing, realizing ].
The dissolution of the search engine
The goal or goal of spirituality according to Vedanta is not the achievement of the enlightenment of the seeker, but the liberation of the seeker. That Unity or unique essence is really what you are - it's just that you've limited yourself to the idea of being a limited self. By questioning this idea, you get to know yourself as you really are - the whole, the whole, you no longer imagine yourself as limited. This is the only goal.
However, since you are already that totality, this limitation or slavery is only conceptual - the so-called veil or "maya" is only composed of concepts. There is no real separation or limitation in that one essence, even when it appears as everything.
Therefore, enlightenment is simply the recognition that you are already that one essence, and you have never been limited at all. You are only being as you are. Free, perfect and complete.
If I say "I am seeking" I am affirming myself as an individual existence. I take my existence as having begun on a certain day and moment. When I say "I" I really refer to "a separate existence" - I assume as real that existence is separate, that there are "things" that exist by themselves, apart, on their own account. What I really mean is that each "apparition" has its own existence, that its existence began and that it will end. My main idea of reality is that it is composed of an infinite number of existences. This idea is what is called "slavery".
Vedanta calls the Mithyan " appearance " . Mithyan means that which comes and goes, what appears, what has no existence by itself. A "thing" is only one thing from a particular point of view, it is only available through a certain medium of knowledge, a certain means of measurement. If that medium changes, the appearance changes. If that appearance changes, nothing happens to the "existence" of that "thing". Existence is Sat . Sat means that which is . Sat only means "is" . There is what is - Sat - and that appears in various forms depending on the means of knowledge or measurement.
There is only Sat , mithyā depends on Sat although Sat does not depend on mithyā - what seems is Sat . Sat is Brahman - truth and reality, the "only existence," which appears or expresses itself as everything.
Therefore what I am is Sat -that is, that unique existence-a single reality that appears as everything. I can find no fundamental division between what I am and what appears, unless I take mithyã as the absolute reality.
The realization of who I really am is expressed in the equation - Tat Tvam Asi - Tu Eres That. The realization is that what is called "Brahman" is all reality and if I am something , I am Brahman . I am that same unique reality.
The gold chain is suffering — it is seeking peace and happiness — it really tries to know what it is. She meditates, hoping to have some vision or special experience of Gold. Her essence. Visit a Guru , asking for guidance to know what it is.
At the beginning many ideas are formulated about Gold, how it should be, feel. He desperately seeks to know his essence of this unit called "Gold".
However, at every step comes frustration. No vision or experience arrives, or if it always comes through. No lasting realization of Gold arrives.
The Guru says to him, "What you are is Gold, you can not mock it because You are it". The chain is baffled by this paradox, and downplays this wisdom, and continues to seek one Guru after another. One book after another.
At some point the chain has exhausted all the routes, it has consumed all the concepts about Gold. Gold can not be found, no matter what efforts it makes. No concept brings the desired Peace and Happiness. The chain is lost without any point of support, Gold is nowhere to be seen.
However, the Guru only smiles. Because there was never actually a chain form out of the same Gold. There was never a chain searching. The chain was a form of Gold, a manifestation of Gold itself. The unique existence of the chain was only a concept - the reality is that it was always Gold itself. The chain could not find the Gold after all.
It was not the chain that realized that it was Gold. It was Gold that realized that it was never "chain".
At this point, you are the whole itself, the only essence - which has taken itself as a limited entity, just like the chain. As that entity you feel limited and you need to search the totality. However, that entity you believe to be is only a name, only a form, only a manifestation of that One Essence.
Therefore, this "I" can never find anything. The "I" can never find that essence. It is that essence that realizes that it was never that limited "I".
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Category:John A. Sanford
We have already seen that the kingdom is within all of us. But paradoxically only a few among the multitude will find their way to the kingdom. The many will pass by and not notice its reality, and even some who have been expressly invited to enter will not accept God’s invitation. So Jesus declares
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14)
Those who do enter the kingdom are those who have come to recognize the reality of the inner world and to respond to its demands upon them for consciousness. This must always be an individual act of recognition; it cannot be accomplished so long as we are identified with a group. Yet most of us find our sense of identity only in our membership in the Church, the nation, the political party, or the gang on the street corner…
In contrast, entrance into the kingdom requires the dis-identification with the group and the assumption of the burden of being a person. It is often painful to no longer identify with outer collectives. Often our dreams reflect the pain of finding ourselves no longer identical with those around us. In such a dream we may have just found something unusual, or have taken a little- traveled turn in a path or road. The dreamer is filled with a sense of wonder at the new turn of events, but there are many other people around who pass by and take no notice. The dreamer is surprised that no one else seems to feel the discovery is important, or to recognize what the dreamer feels is so unusual. Inner reality is discovered, and already the dreamer is no longer identical with the collective spirit; the dreamer finds, with surprise, that he or she is different. The differentiation of personality has begun.
Because those who enter the kingdom must enter as individuals, the way to the kingdom is never the path of least resistance, but a narrow, difficult, and winding way that requires us to “go against nature.” As long as a person is identical with a group consciousness, he or she follows the easiest road, inclining to those instincts, attitudes, and mass movements that are the easiest to follow at the time. An individual set against the group consciousness, however, begins to swim up the stream instead of down and suffers the pain and difficulty of becoming conscious, no longer able to hide from anxiety in a mass identity.
Anxiety is inevitable for those who enter into the kingdom. There is, of course, such a thing as sick anxiety, the sign of a pathologically disturbed personality. But there is also divine anxiety, the anxiety that is inevitable because entering the kingdom calls for the individual to differentiate from the group, accepting the consequences and responsibilities of choice. All of this is stated by Jesus in his saying in the Sermon on the Mount,
“Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14/Luke
The wide road is the way through life that we travel unconsciously, the road of least resistance and mass identity. The narrow road requires consciousness, close attention, lest we wander off the path. Only the few take it because of its individual character and because it entails the hardship of becoming conscious. The narrowness of the gate suggests the anxiety of this part of the process of finding the kingdom, for narrowness and anxiety have long been associated…
Those who are called upon to enter the kingdom of God may not always recognize what is happening to them. At first the approach of the kingdom may seem like a violent attack from something dark and dreadful, for when the kingdom descends upon us, the first experience is often a darkening of our old state of mind in order that a new consciousness may emerge. Psychologically this is a necessity. Entrance into the kingdom means the destruction of the old personality, with its constricted and un- creative attitudes. If the kingdom is to come, this old person must die. The fortress behind which the ego has been hiding must be torn down, and as these defenses are battered down forcibly by the movement from within, it may seem at first like a violent assault. Whenever this upheaval in personality occurs, it is important that one realize its religious overtones, for if this dynamic inner process is viewed only clinically its spiritual significance will be lost, and the kingdom will not be revealed.
The violent nature of the entrance into the kingdom is reflected in may of Jesus’ sayings, and is the proper explanation for Jesus’ seemingly enigmatic remark,
“Up to the time of John it was the Law and the Prophets; since then, the kingdom of God has been preached, and by violence everyone is getting in” (Luke 16:16/Matt. 11:12)
as well as in the familiar saying
“Anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39)
The Law was a protection against a direct experience of the kingdom of God. By fulfilling the Law, people hoped to achieve their proper relationship with God without having to relate to the inner world. But it was, as Nicholas Berdyaev said in The Meaning of the Creative Act, an ethic of obedience, not of creativity. The kingdom, however, is dynamically creative, and the ethic of the kingdom is a creative ethic based on consciousness and love, not on legalism. Now that the kingdom has come, the old rigid outlook embodied in the Law will be violently assaulted so that the new and creative person may appear…
This brings us to the next paradox of entering into the kingdom of God: it is those who have recognized that they have been injured or hurt in some way in life who are most apt to come into the kingdom. There is no virtue in our weakness or injury as such, especially if this leads to self-pity, which completely defeats the creative purposes of the kingdom. But only a person who has recognized his or her own need, even despair, is ready for the kingdom; those who feel that they are self-sufficient, those whom life has upheld in their one-sided orientation, remain caught in their egocentricity.
This is why Jesus so often associated with sinners and tax collectors and was generally unable to have a relationship with the Pharisees, for the latter, as a rule, were upheld in their egocentricity by their privileged position in society and by their conviction of their own righteousness. But the sinners and tax collectors, if they turned and confronted themselves, could be receptive to the kingdom.
This paradox of the kingdom is expressed in the parable of the wedding feast, in which the kingdom of God is likened to the king who gave a wedding feast in honor of his son. First he invited those who were the most respected members of the community, but they were all too busy with other things, too engrossed in their own affairs, and did not heed the king’s invitation. Finally the king became angry and declared,
“The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find.” (Matt. 22:8-9)
In Luke’s version it is stated even more forcibly:
Then the householder, in a rage, said to his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame... .Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and force people to come in to make sure my house is full.” (Luke 14:21, 23; italics mine)
Precisely those who seem the least fit for the kingdom are those who come to enter into it. Those who are forced by life to concede to themselves that they are psychologically crippled, maimed, or blind can be compelled to enter into the great feast. But those who are convinced that they are self-sufficient do not enter because they remain caught in their own one-sidedness.
But even then there are dangers and demands, and not everyone called to come to a feast belongs to the kingdom; one man came without a wedding garment, and he was cast into outer darkness. According to K. C. Pillai in his little book Light Through an Eastern Window, it was the custom in the ancient Orient for a nobleman who invited someone to his house for a special occasion to send with his messenger a special garment to be worn by the guest. To wear this garment was both an honor and a badge of protection to the person as he traveled on the way to the court. To arrive without the garment was the height of carelessness and rudeness. Similarly, if we arrive at the kingdom having carelessly and rudely neglected to recognize the divine author of the feast, we are cast into outer darkness; that is, we are banished to the realm of the unconscious.
To many people this ruthless punishment seems cruel, but we must remember that there is no sentimentality about the kingdom of God. Christianity is a feeling religion; it must deeply involve our emotions as well as our intellect, or it will not be real. But it is not a sentimental religion, and the sentimentalizing of the feeling aspect of Christianity has been a disaster for the Christian spirit. In the kingdom of God we are dealing with hard spiritual facts, and there is no room for sentiment. If we jump off a cliff, we may kill ourselves or break a leg; this is a physical fact, and we have no right to expect God to interfere with our fate if we flout the physical facts of his creation. But there are spiritual facts that are just as objective and real as physical facts. One of these is that if we come to the kingdom of God and act unconsciously, despising the things of the inner world, we can expect to be ruthlessly treated by the unconscious, for in our refusal to become conscious we have flouted the spiritual facts of creation.
A parallel to the parable of the wedding feast can be noticed in counseling. Few people come to counseling who are not driven to do so by some injury. Others, who can maintain the illusion of self-sufficiency, will avoid contact with the inner world. They are too content and absorbed with outer things to pay attention to inner things. But those who first come to the inner world because tey are forced to do so often remain to enjoy the feast. Though they are first motivated by some injury or failure in life, they may, through their contact with the inner world, not only be healed but also find the springs of creative living.
—BUY THE BOOK:
Becoming present is remarkably simple. However, remaining present is not so simple. Even if we are present for a short time, most of us are quickly pulled back into the past and future world of the mind. There are a number of obstacles that we must become aware of if we are to awaken fully into Presence, and remain fundamentally present in our daily living and in our relationships.
The first obstacle is the ego itself. The ego wants to become more spiritual. It wants to acquire spiritual knowledge. It would love to become enlightened. It will have you visiting many spiritual teachers and reading many spiritual books. But it will back off very quickly if you find your way into the truth of life through the doorway of the present moment.
This is because the ego needs to be in control of your life. It is addicted to its position of power and control. But it can only be in control of what it knows. And it only knows the past, which it remembers, or the future, which it imagines. It does not know the present moment, and so it will desperately resist your entering into and remaining in the present moment. In fact, as you begin to awaken into the present moment, it has a bag of tricks to seduce you or tempt you back into the world of the mind.
The second reason that it is difficult to remain present, is that most of us have a lot of emotions repressed within us from the past, particularly from our childhood relationship with our parents. These emotions are continually being activated or triggered, which brings the past flooding in, making it impossible for us to remain in the truth and reality of the present moment. To the extent that you are caught in the emotional pain and traumas of the past, you cannot be present.
The third reason that it difficult to remain present is that there are a number of very powerful hooks that pull us out of the present moment into the world of the mind. Looking to others for acknowledgement, approval or acceptance is an example of such a hook. Fearing rejection or judgment from others is another hook. Anything that entangles you in the mind of another, is a hook that pulls you out of Presence. To awaken fully into the present moment involves disentangling yourself from others so that you are fully with yourself.
To free yourself from the above obstacles and hooks, there are a number of steps you must follow.
The first is that you must awaken to the dimension of Presence within you. It opens up the possibility of true healing.
Then you must come into right relationship with the ego, so that eventually it surrenders its need to be in control of your life.
From a state of Presence, you bring the ego and all its so-called negative aspects into the light of consciousness, in a way that is acknowledging, loving and accepting. All judgment of the ego and all attempts to annihilate the ego must cease. As long as you judge or reject any aspect of yourself, the ego will prevail as the dominant inner force, simply because the ego thrives on judgment, condemnation and rejection.
The only thing that will bring the ego to a place of surrender is the energy of love and acceptance. If you love and accept every aspect of yourself at the level of mind/ego, particularly those aspects of yourself that you have been hiding, judging or trying to change, the ego will eventually surrender.
The next step is to allow into conscious expression, all those emotions repressed within you. In my private sessions, workshops and retreats, I offer very clear guidance and support in accomplishing this. It does not mean that you are identified with the feelings. You are simply allowing them to surface into conscious expression.
The fact that the emotion is arising is of this moment, and so you must be present with it as it arises and expresses through you. But the story associated with the emotion is not of the present moment, and so it is important that you do not become identified with the story. You will have to express the story as a part of expressing the emotion, but the story itself is not the truth. It is of the past or future. It has nothing to do with this moment. Do not believe in it and do not act upon it as if it is true.
The third step is to clearly identify the hooks that pull you out of Presence. These hooks only have power over you to the extent that they are allowed to function unconsciously. If you bring these hooks to conscious awareness, then they have no power over you. You can gently disengage from them as they are activated.
These steps will liberate you from the world of the thinking mind into the world of NOW. I do not mean to imply that you will always be present. But the present moment will become the very foundation of your life. You will come to know yourself as the one who exists in the moment of NOW, and only in the moment of now. This is the truth of who you are. And your life will be transformed. God and Heaven on Earth will be revealed.
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Leonard Jacobson is an awakened spiritual teacher, mystic and gifted healer, who is deeply committed to helping others break through to the joyous experience of living in the NOW.
For more than 30 years, Leonard has been teaching people how to become fundamentally present and how to arise in mastery of the mind and ego, making awakening available to everyone. He is the author of five books and travels throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia offering inspiration, healing and guidance to those on the path of spiritual awakening. For more information visit www.leonardjacobson.com