On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The God Series:Episode 1-Formless

Today as I launch the God series I approach you my readers in the same free flowing formless manner in which I perceive God! I don't know where I want this to go and I don't know what shape or form it will take or evolve or unfold into! ‘Neti neti!’- The famous Vedic Sanskrit two liner that announces ‘I am not this! I am not that!’ comes to mind and my estimation of it seems to suggest if ‘I am not this’ and ‘I am not that’ then perhaps I'm either nothing or everything!

So I launch the God series today with the discussion that God can be perceived as formless. Of the major modern religions I think Islam focuses on this formlessness the most! So much so that there is strictly no use of imagery or iconography what so ever when discussing God or Allah in Islam. However most Eastern religious traditions although on the surface may appear to be shrouded in iconographies also at their core embrace this formless concept or perception of God. My understanding is though that for instance in Hinduism it is believed that not everyone can perceive God as formless as their minds are not able grasp this and so they need more concrete things and manifestations to be able to grasp the infinite. Hence the Bhaktivedantic approaches where for instance God is perceived in the form of Krishna. Here the devotee is asked to focus on God in a particular form to start with but even then the devotee is eventually shown and expected to see when he is ready that God transcends this form.

However, like with most things in life, balance is the key and one can always argue that when is too much too much? Can a devotee on this path never end up seeing the forest from the trees and get lost forever in the world of iconography and fixation on a particular form! Hardly likely though at least in Hinduism since even then the devotee is usually exposed to a myriad of forms and so that alone should give a signal to him that God is not one particular form or shape. And then too in Hinduism the devotee has an eternity of infinite lifetimes to figure it out so what’s the hurry already? LOL!

Yet it can be said perhaps when one becomes a true bhakt they may tend to fixate on the one form and maybe…however the flip side to the discussion is…well is there a risk when we just go with the ‘cold turkey’ approach and see God as formless straight up like in Islam well do we then run the risk of never quite being able to connect with God in that manner as if we had transitioned from form to formless? That will always be an ongoing debate. I don’t see one as better over the other to me it is more for one to choose the path this is best suited for him or her. Or like in my case take a bit from each one and make your own mix!

But now on with the discussion about the perception of God as formless! As I told you I take a bit from this a bit from that and create my own mix. So I consider myself a Shiv Bhakt but in this case I see him clearly as explaining the concept ‘neti neti’ because when you describe the attributes of Shiv you see clearly that he is neither this…neither that…he is everything! So God is formless because he is everything?!

Now on with the dance that is UCP because who says I’m going to launch some academic discussion here without the song and dance after all then it just wouldn’t be this thing or dance I call UCP would it?! So here now in the words of one of my favourite Shiv things – the Rudra Ashtakam if you focus closely on the lyrics you will learn that he is everything!

The God series will continue on Friday when we will discuss the perception of God as the Divine Mother!

Lyrics to Rudrashtakam (Shiva Stuti) :
1-Namaa miisha mishaana-nirvaana rupam
vibhum vyaapakam brahma-veda-svaroopam
nijam nirgunam nirvikalpam niriham
chidaakaasha maakaasha-vaasam bhaje ham

I bow to the Ruler of the Universe, whose very form is Liberation,
the omnipotent and all pervading Brahma, manifest as the Vedas.
I worship Shiva, shining in his own glory, without physical qualities,
Undifferentiated, desireless, all pervading sky of consciousness
and wearing the sky itself as His garment.

niraakaara monkaara-moolam turiiyam
giraa gnaana gotiita miisham giriisham
karaalam mahaa-kaala-kaalam krpaalam
gunaagaara samsara paaram nato ham

I bow to the supreme Lord who is the formless source of “OM”
The Self of All, transcending all conditions and states,
Beyond speech, understanding and sense perception,
Awe-full, but gracious, the ruler of Kailash,
Devourer of Death, the immortal abode of all virtues.

tushaa raadri-sankaasha-gauram gabhiram
manobhuta-koti prabha sri sariram
sphuran mauli-kallolini-charu-ganga
lasad-bhaala-balendu kanthe bhujangaa

I worship Shankara, whose form is white as the Himalyan snow,
Radiant with the beauty of countless Cupids,
Whose head sparkles with the Ganga
With crescent moon adorning his brow and snakes coiling his neck,

chalatkundalam bhru sunetram visalam
prasannaa-nanam nila-kantham dayaalam
mrgadhisa charmaambaram mundamaalam
priyam sankaram sarvanaatham bhajaami

The beloved Lord of All,
with shimmering pendants hanging from his ears,
Beautiful eyebrows and large eyes,
Full of Mercy with a cheerful countenance and a blue speck on his throat.

pracandam prakrstam pragalbham paresham
akhandam ajam bhaanukoti-prakaasam
trayah-shula-nirmulanam shula-paanim
bhaje ham bhavaani-patim bhaava-gamyam

I worship Shankara, Bhavani’s husband,
The fierce, exalted, luminous supreme Lord.
Indivisible, unborn and radiant with the glory of a million suns;
Who, holding a trident, tears out the root of the three-fold suffering,
And who is reached only through Love.

sadaa sajjanaa-nanda-daataa purarih
prasida praslda prabho manmathaarih

You who are without parts, ever blessed,
The cause of universal destruction at the end of each round of creation,
A source of perpetual delight to the pure of heart,
Slayer of the demon, Tripura, consciousness and bliss personified,
Dispeller of delusion…
Have mercy on me, foe of Lust.

na yaavad umaanaatha-paadaaravindam
bhajantiha loke parevaa naraanam
na taavat-sukham shaanti-santaapa-naasham
praslda prabho sarva bhutaa-dhivaasam

Oh Lord of Uma, so long as you are not worshipped
There is no happiness, peace or freedom from suffering
in this world or the next.
You who dwell in the hearts of all living beings,
and in whom all beings have their existence,
Have mercy on me, Lord.

na janaami yogam japam naiva pujam
nato ham sadaa sarvadaa sambhu tubhyam
jaraa janma-duhkhaugha taatapya maanam
prabho paahi apan-namaamisha shambho

I don’t know yoga, prayer or rituals,
But everywhere and at every moment, I bow to you, Shambhu!
Protect me my Lord, miserable and afflicted as I am
with the sufferings of birth, old-age and death.

rudrastakam idam proktam viprena haratosaye
ye pathanti nara bhaktya tesam sambhuh prasidati

This eightfold hymn of praise was sung by the Brahman to please Shankara.
Shambhu will be pleased with whomever heartfully recites it.

karpoora gauram karunaavataaram samsaara saaram bhujagendra haaram

He is white like camphor and the very incarnation of mercy and compassion,
The only good thing in this world, wearing a king cobra as a garland

sadaavasantam hridayaara vinde bhavam bhavaani sahitam namaami

It is always springtime in the lotus of His heart I bow down to Bhava (Shiva), as well as to Bhavani (Parvati) who accompanies Him

An Apology on a Wednesday...


Oh dear! We’ve not done as we planned or promised last week and that cannot be a good thing or a reader’s treat! We’ve not blogged on Tumultuous Thursdays about dreams and dreaming nor made fun of them on Funtastic Fridays...to be honest we really don’t know what to say…

But we aren’t almost even here this week too…the muse the muse always blame the muse…the Purple Elephant and the Little Mouse they are firmly planted though-Thank you! But the muse he is actually flashing right now as I speak or type! Not flashing as going naked after all he is a manicou so already au naturel so no…no…I mean he seems to be here for a second and then disappears another but he slips back and forth from here to not here so quickly that he almost appears to be going on and off like a blinking light! Oh dear!…I’m told it happens when you travel too often and in close succession across parallel worlds…there comes a time when you are neither here nor there or anywhere…oh dear! Unless perhaps you’re everywhere!

Luckily as of this morning… the Little mouse came to my door…he was perched on the shoulder of the Purple Elephant so he could reach up to the level of my ears so I could hear him. “Aaaaww!” was my first cry when he incredibly bashfully bestowed onto me a bouquet made of four purple flowers and three sunflowers with sprigs of this twig or the other all wrapped together in a bow and said,

“Miss Dubay this will make him stay for sure!”

then the Purple Elephant trumpeted unfortunately waking the whole house up! You see we have guests, not as many as last Christmas but quite a few monkeys are with us but they luckily weren’t in bad spirits and instead decided to have an early breakfast scratching their heads while they peeled their bananas as they also tried to solve the problem of my manicou muse for me! Mouse, elephant and monkeys all poured over the ‘Book of Words and Light’ where they read of the use of purple flowers, sunflowers but more so that the use of love and light and yep UCP-Universal Collective Prayer could help me! So we followed the book and then ‘poof’ and as I looked up from where I knelt with sunflower pollens glistening from my cheeks…there it unfolded before me…and Lo and Behold there was my muse again fully formed standing all solid, not blinking, safe and sound before me!

You see in all seriousness and reality I recalled that all my words and speech come from the Divine Mother upon whom I ought to surrender! It’s not like I’ve not done so time and time again in the past as I’ve often shared on UCP but of lately I think I needed to be reminded…reminded that she is the speech…in the form of the Vedic Goddess Saraswati she rides a swan and is the ‘vac’ which translated from the Sanskrit means the speech, the word…the spoken word…the voice… However she is also the Goddess of learning and so really one cannot have even any writing without her since when we type it comes forth from an inner voice…so I had lost my voice both inner and outer…but me and all the animals sat in UCP and surrendered onto the Divine Mother in the form of Saraswati who according to this lovely Vedic prayer sits in the middle of our palms…she was always there… if we only had looked to see! …with the Goddess Lakshmi at our finger tips and Govinda at the base of the palms...

So too in the words of Don Henley in the movie Michael…it came through our hands!

Don Henley - Through Your Hands Lyrics
"You were dreamin'
On a park bench
'bout a broad highway somewhere
When the music from the carillon
Seemed to hurl your heart out there
Past the scientific darkness
Past the fireflies that float
To an angel bending down
To wrap you in his warmest coat

And you ask
What am I not doing
He says
Your voice cannot command
In time you will move mountains
And it will come through your hands

Still you argue for an option
Still you angle for your case
Like you wouldn't know a burning bush
If it blew up in your face
Yeah, we scheme about the future
And we dream about the past
When just a simple reaching out
Might build a bridge that lasts

And you ask
What am I not doing
He says
Your voice cannot command
In time you will move mountains
And it will come through your hands
Through your hands

So whatever your hands find to do
You must do with all your heart
There are thoughts enough
To blow men's minds
And tear great worlds apart
There's a healing touch to find you
On that broad highway somewhere
To lift you high
As music flyin'
Through the angel's hair

Don't ask what you are not doing
Because your voice cannot command
In time we will move mountains
And it will come through your hands"

So I post to you really today on a Wednesday but I will back track the blog post I’m about to do on Meady’s Musings and it will read as a Maniac Mondays post to keep with the format of the blog. While on UCP, I will be publishing as of today. So now I am all good thanks to the Goddess Saraswati and will continue my dreams and dreaming series on Meady’s Musings and today on UCP will launch that God series! Shiv it is as we launch that series! And on Meady’s Musings get those pillows out…it’s dream time! (Of course this post will appear as if it was done the Monday before)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Buddhist Treat!

As promised today on the prayers before we start our 'God' series we share some of the sights of two Buddhist temples we visited while in Shanghai. Both famous...but one more visited than the other...Jing'an Temple is highly visited by tourist and has its own Shanghai metro bus stop...while Longhua Temple is less visited and a bit less central...

The first five pictures are of Jing'an and the second five of Longhua. Over the next few weeks we promise to share more pics from these temples and other places of worship visited in the Shanghai from other religions!

All pictures copyright of Meady's Musings Production 2010.

Monday, July 12, 2010

UCP will finally be back soon...

What could be up to a 1,000 Buddhas we think!
Longhua Temple, Shanghai CHINA June 2010.
Copyright Meady's Musings Production 2010.

We come in the company of what could be a 1,000 Buddhas to apologise so you have to give us a chance! We had expected to restart our journey here into this thing we call UCP-Universal Collective Prayer at the end of June...however our production house...Meady's Musings Production seems to be in some difficulty...read their tale here! As a result we hope to be back in full swing over here on UCP by this Wednesday as we plan to share some Buddhist cheer and then launch later on as planned into the quest to find out who is God to you and you and you and I or me! Yes my fellow travellers and dancers into UCP we shall finally be launching our talks on the God concept!Yes indeed we will finally be starting the 'God' series as promised! Inshallah! See you then!

Copyright Meady's Musings Production 2006-2013