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Opening Words: Eastern Wisdom

Author: Alexander Aldarow    (all articles by this author)
Published on: March 30, 2001

Greetings, our beloved readers.

Currently, I'm reading a beautifully illustrated book titled "Eastern Wisdom", a brilliant introduction into Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and Shinto. In fact, Rinor bought this book for me several years ago, I started reading it, but then quit after about a third of it. These days, however, I'm re-reading it from the cover, putting much more thought and absorbing the information given. The following is a spiritual encounter that this book produced yesterday.

I was walking across our University's campus toward the exit, when a guy, around my age, stopped me. He was holding some flyers, and I assumed at first that he was trying to advertise/sell something, like opening a savings account in a bank - something of that league. I'll try to transcribe our dialogue by memory.

Him: Wait, young man, don't rush (he offered his hand for a shake).

I've noticed that he was also holding a stock of small books, saw the symbols on them and everything immediately clicked together.

Him: Have you heard about... (don't quite remember what he said here, but it was related to Hinduism).

Me (as I was reaching toward the bag): Yes, I've noticed the Yoga pictures on your books.

Him (defensively): What Yoga pictures? (He assumed that I was another skeptic, and was already mentally preparing the speech. I've saved him the trouble, as I got my bag open).

Me: I'm in the same "business" as you (and I flashed "Eastern Wisdom" that I was carrying with me. He read the sub-title and his eyes flashed in response).

We've exchanged several other phrases throughout all this rendezvous, reassuring we're transmitting on the same wave. I made him understand that I'm no stranger to spirituality. He proposed the books he held to me (he was selling them for charity), I've recognized the red one among them, "The Science of Self-Realization" by Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedantha Swami Prabhupada, and I've honestly said I found it naive when I read it in the past. I've also immediately rejected a book on vegetarian cooking and held without any interest a thin booklet on reincarnations.

Him: I have in my bag another book, that I usually don't propose to people, but since you are advanced, I'll suggest it to you (Remember this sentence, I'll explain below). Have you heard about Bhagavad-Gita?

This gave me a chance to "show off" with what I picked from "Eastern Wisdom" - in fact, I was just reading about it - and reassured him - yes, the book with the chariot, where Krishna appears to prince Arjuna before a battle, when Arjuna was in a crisis, and explains him about the Universe.

Him: Yes, this is the book I always turn to when in distress, and always find answers among its verses.

I knew and understood the cosmic significance of this event - I even told him that maybe heavens sent him to me. I had to have this book, to expand my knowledge and perception. We walked together toward the ATM machine (yes, we have such on our campus), so that I'll withdraw 40 shekels for the book (about 10$, but the price - not high, not low - is meaningless in this case). He also told me about their movement, "Bhakti Vedantha" and the meetings arranged by them. As I paid and received the book, we briefly went through it, noticing the small vocabulary of Sanskrit words by its end, with my glance immediately noticing the familiar word "Maya" (illusion), to which I pointed out.

Him: Yes, this is the word I have to face 24 hours a day.

I also remember him asking me what I study, what courses, to which I replied "Computer Sciences".

Him: And?

Me (smiling): No, that's it, no "and". I know, doesn't sound quite spiritual, does it?

Him: So how did you find your way to this? Drawing of the heart?

Me: No, more of a destination. Computers are just side means to establish an economical basis - just like in Hinduism, a second phase of one's life, before he "retires" to spirituality.

So, eventually, I've bought the book, and he said by the end that the book will provide a 180-degrees turn for me.

Me: No, not 180...

Him: Well, maybe for not for you, maybe kind of 10-20 degrees.

Me: More like fine tuning.

We've shook hands and I departed.

As I walked away, I was going through this encounter's details. First of all, I was seeing the Universe's cooperation in it - since a day earlier I've decided to dedicate more of myself to spirituality - and spiritual reading foremost, as my mind was finally starving for more enlightening knowledge. And just as I got into the introduction, "Eastern Wisdom", the appearance of Bhagavad-Gita did not delay to come. It is one of the central books, to my knowledge, in Hinduism, and I will be honored to absorb everything it has to offer to me. Understand, of course, that I'm no more specifically into Hinduism then I'm into Magick, or Christianity, or Kabbalah, etc. - I rather combine all of it.

I would like to direct you now to Project X Newsletter #29, of January 14, 2000, the Zohar experience ( The whole scene you've just witnessed, especially the words of holding the book especially for me, a chosen one - this is remarkably similar to my dialogue with a woman at Kabbalistic center's book-selling counter. And now, Bhagavad-Gita joins the book of Zohar in my room.

Third, and last, conclusion. The above scene - meeting a bhakti (a devoted one), who would have the red book I'll recognize and criticize ("The Science of Self-Realization" - sorry to confuse you with multitude of titles) - this scene was played in my head a few times through the past several years. Just like in James Redfield's "Celestine Prophecy", what we see in our inner vision becomes our future reality.

There was one other thing that crossed my mind as I was reviewing this experience. That I have a story for the Opening Words.

And now, on with the newsletter.

Originally published in Project X Newsletter #54

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