The book is a journal of a series of thirty group-participation meditations conducted by Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati in February and March of 1980 at the East West University branch in Fernhill, Ootacamund in the Blue Mountains of South India. The meditations were based on the first thirty chapters of the Tao The Ching of Lao Tzu.
Lao Tzu, who wrote the verses upon which the present meditations were based, was a sage who lived twenty five centuries ago in China. It is miraculous how his passing thoughts can reach through so much time and space to shed light on the unique meanings embodied in each of our lives today. The sage is one who can encapsulate Truth in seed-form, and those seeds can centuries later still be planted in the fertile field of any searching mind.
Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati, who conducted the meditations, was a living Guru, a teacher not primarily in the sense of transmission of information, but in the sense of having a rare ability to awaken and inspire others to a discovery and cultivation of the wisdom within themselves. A living Guru is like a benevolent gardener tending to each plant according to its individual needs, excesses, and potentialities.
Dear friend, the book you are holding in your hands is
very special, not just because of what those of us, who
contributed, put into it, but because of what you, yourself,
can add to it and make out of it. If there is such a thing as
"wisdom," it is only real to the extent that it is recognized
and becomes dynamic within each of us individually. The
dynamism of wisdom is that it ceaselessly conduces to the
happiness of oneself and to the enrichment of the community
of which one is a part. This, indeed, is the distinction between
wisdom and mere knowledge.
The source of wisdom is not anywhere to be found in
the outside world. It is an innate factor within each person,
though its "still small voice" is often drowned out or ignored
in the bluster and bustle of transactional life, which when
lived un-contemplatively tends to degenerate into a knee-jerk
series of stimuli and responses, conducing more toward
anxiety and frustration than toward peace and fulfillment.
When Socrates voiced the truth that "an unexamined life is
not worth living," it was not his intention to fill the coffers of
academic institutions but to awaken each of us, wherever we
stand and in whatever path or "walk of life," to the rich source
of transformative wisdom within ourselves which has the
power to illuminate our own particular inmost goals and values
and to guide us along the surest paths to their attainment.
It is the grand paradox of wisdom that it is rooted in a
truth which is universal, and yet it never flowers in the same
way twice. At the sight of the rising of the oneself same
sun, countless birds each burst forth into their own unique
songs. Similarly, inspired by the drawing of the universal and
eternal light of wisdom within, each of us weaves brand new
patterns into the fabric of our common life.
This, indeed as you shall see, was the process through
which the meditations documented in this book unfolded, and
this, in turn, is how you, in reading them, can take them still -
one step further through your own insightful interpretation
and application. I only wish the book itself could grow and
reflect the contributions which each careful reader will
wittingly or unwittingly add to it.
The book is a journal of a series of thirty group
participation meditations conducted by Guru Nitya Chaitanya.
Yati in February and March of 980 at the East West
University branch in Fernhill, Ootacamund in the Blue
Mountains of South India. The meditations were based on
the first thirty chapters of the Tao Teh Ching of Lao Tzu.
The translation used was that of D. C. Lau (Penguin Books,
Middlesex, England,!967). There are other excellent
translations, such as by Lin Yutang (Modern Library) and Gia
Fu Feng (Vintage Books). The text of the verses are numbered
and indented for easy identification within each meditation.
Lao Tzu, who wrote the verses upon which the present
meditations were based, was a sage who lived twenty five
centuries ago in China. It is miraculous how his passing
thoughts can reach through so much time and space to shed
light on the unique meanings embodied in each of our lives
today. The sage is one who can encapsulate Truth in seed-
form, and those seeds can centuries later still be planted in
the fertile field of any searching mind.
Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati, who conducted the meditations,
is a living Guru who is a teacher not primarily in the sense of
transmission of information (though he also represents a
wealth of that), but in the sense of having a rare ability to
awaken and inspire others to a discovery and cultivation of
the wisdom within themselves. A living Guru is like a
benevolent gardener tending to each plant according to its
individual needs, excesses, and potentialities. Such treatment
is also evident in the following pages.
Those of us who participated in the six month semester
of the East West University, of which these group participation
meditations were a part, come from several countries (U.S.,
Australia. India, and Belgium), make our livelihoods in a wide
range of occupations (carpentry, teaching, fire-fighting,
interior design, auto-mechanics, educational administration,
parenting, gardening, and a mysterious though perhaps all-
inclusive category which can only be called Divine
Dispensation), and represent several different religious
affiliations and preferences (Christian, Moslem, Hindu.
Buddhist, and Taoist). Yet each of us felt directly spoken to
and personally benefitted by hearing the words of Lao Tu.
sharing our images, impressions, and interpretations with each
other, and listening to the reflections of Guru Nitya.
Very early on in this series of medications, the line of
division between the three above-mentioned roles of Sage,
Living Guru, and Participating Student, all became very fluid
and eventually non-existent. Like Chuang Tzu, who awoke
from a dream of being a butterfly with the plausible doubt
that perhaps he was actually a butterfly dreaming it was
Chuang Tzu, similarly we could not ascertain if we were
reliving the thoughts that illuminated the life of Lao Tzu or if
Lao Tzu was coming again to life as our thoughts. In previous
classes we had awaited the comments of Guru Nitya in order
to hear the "final word" on some matter of concern or doubt.
But through these meditations we discovered that same
unfaltering Word of the Guru arising within ourselves and
realized that it is and always had been this inner Guru which
ultimately interprets and registers assent or dissent even when
we listen to the words of a Guru outside.
Listening to each other as well as to ourselves revealed
how sometimes radically different interpretation can be given
to the same idea or situation, each of which has a great validity
within its own frame of reference. We began to look to
ourselves and each other with a new appreciation and
openness. Although the specific content of each meditation
is a treasure in itself, the greatest benefit of participating in
these meditations was the intimate familiarization they
afforded us with the Sage, Guru, and Seeker within ourselves
and each other.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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