Mata Amritanadamayi Devi

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known as Ammachi or Mother (or the Hugging Saint in the world’s media) was born 27 September in a small fishing village in Kerala, South India. Named Sudhamani, she was the third child in family of 8 children. Her early life was punctuated with intense devotion to Lord Krishna, right from very young age.

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Swami Vivekananda

If India were to have patron saints, then perhaps we might say that Swami Vivekananda is the patron saint – or guru – of Inter-religious encounter, or perhaps, in a more modern sense, an advocate for toleration and harmony among the world’s religions. Swami Vivekananda travelled to the Americas and participated in the inaugural Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. We bring you excerpts from his speech on this occasion (in 2016) of the Birthday of Swami Vivekananda. (Vivekananda Jayanti)

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St George

Saint George (AD 275–281 to 23 April 303), according to legend, was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith. As a Christian martyr, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity.

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Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava

(circa 755 -797)

Padmasambhava introduced Buddhist doctrine into Tibet and exorcised its demons. He is one of the historically identifiable founders of Tibetan Buddhism and of the Lamas, as Tibetan Buddhist monks are generally called.

Padmasamhhava (literally, born of the Lotus) was born in the extreme north-west of India, now Pakistan. He was already an accredited Tantric master at the Nalanda university when he was called to Tibet by King Thn-Srong Detsan (740-786). Buddhism had doubtlessly arrived in Tibet one century before, during the reign of the first king, Tri-srong Detsan (c.610-649) who had married two Buddhist princesses, one from Nepal, and the other from China.

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Tenzin Gyatso – The Fourteenth Dalai Lama


Ocean of Compassion

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Born: 1935
Residence: Dharamsala, India
Birth Name: Tenzin Gyatso

Dalai Lama: “teacher whose wisdom is as great as the ocean”; an honorary title bestowed by the Mongolian prince Altan Khan on the third head of the Gelukpa school in 1578. This close connection with Mongolia brought the school of Tsongkhapa into a position of political preeminence, which with the fifth dalai lama (1617-82) was consolidated into rulership over all of Tibet. Since this time, the Dalai Lama has been regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, and the Panchen Lama has been venerated as his spiritual representative. Each Dalai Lama is considered a reincarnation (tulku) of the preceding Dalai Lamas. The Dalai Lamas not only fulfilled their role as heads of state. Among them are also great scholars and poets filled with joie de vivre, like the sixth Dalai Lama. The fourteenth Dalai
Lama, in exile since 1959, combines in his person a spiritual and political authority that is still binding for the Tibetan people.

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Ibn-al-Arabi

Ibn-al-Arabi
born: 1165, Murcia, Spain
obit: Damascus 1240 Abu Bakr Muhammad

 

Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-Arabi was born in Murcia into a very pious and cultured milieu. When he was seven, he and his family moved to Seville, the capital of the Almohades Empire which extended all over North Africa. At 16, having studied with Andalusian spiritual leaders, he‘ entered on the path’. He was so cultured that at an early age he was awarded an important administrative post; it was also at this time that he met and married a young woman whom he considered to be the spiritual ideal. But a grave illness which brought with it powerful visions led him to give up his career and his possessions in order to practise asceticism in strict seclusion. Several long years of pilgrimage followed, during which Ibn’Arabi met the greatest mystics in Spain and the Mahgreb, where he spent some time before a vision compelled him to go to the East. In 1201-02 he travelled to Cairo, Jerusalem, and finally to Mecca, where he was welcomed into the home of an eminent Persian sheikh and his sister.

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al-Ghazali: The Seven Obstacles

The Seven Obstacles

The following brief description of the path that the devotee travels in his journey to Jannah (Paradise) is taken from the introduction of Imam al-Ghazali’s Minhaj al-‘Abidin ila Jannati Rabb al-‘Alamin (The Path that the Devotee has to traverse in order to reach the Garden of the Lord of the Universe). This path to Jannah is no more than the devotee’s actual worship and servitude of Allah, the Almighty. However, in undertaking this journey the devotee is confronted with Seven Obstacles which he needs to overcome if he is to accomplish his goal and reach his destination. These Seven Obstacles are:

  1. the Obstacle of Knowledge
  2. the Obstacle of Repentance
  3. the Obstacle of the Barriers
  4. the Obstacle of the Four Distractions
  5. the Obstacle of the Forces
  6. the Obstacle of the Nullifiers
  7. the Obstacle of Praise and Gratitude

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al-Ghazali

The Alchemist of Happiness

Algazel, better known as al-Ghazali, was born Abu Hamid Ibn Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Tusi al-Shafi’i al-Ghazali in 1058 A.D. in Khorasan, Irandad, in the west of what is now called Iran. He was an Islamic theologian, philosopher, and mystic. He is considered one of the greatest theologians in Islam. Al-Ghazali made a significant philosophical contribution at a time which was important for the continuing legitimate existence of the sufi component of Islam.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century. A Lutheran pastor, he was executed for his resistance on April 9, 1945 at the age of 39 years in a Nazi concentration camp, after a long period of imprisonment. A recognised thinker, he was also a man of commitment. Until the end, out of loyalty and conviction, he became the witness of a love that preceded it.

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Anandamayi Ma of Bengal

Anandamayi Ma is a woman-saint of Bengal who lived from 1896 – 1982. Anandamayi Ma defied all conventions, initiated herself and her husband into the sacred state and often gave signs and displays of a divine incarnation. Ma was not attached to her devotees (she had many) and was honoured and venerated as a divine incarnation toward the end of her earthly sojourn. She wrote no books and gave very simple teachings to her devotees. Her name means “Ever-blissful Mother”.

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FYI – Baba Vangelia, the Blind Prophet

We received an email from an acquaintance who simply sent an “FYI” and a link about Baba Vangelia, the prophetess of Bulgaria, who passed in 1996. There has been a surge of internet articles about the predictions, much of it ominous, and plain sensation seeking. In this article, we take a look at Prophecy, Seers, Clairvoyants and the history of Vangelia Pandeva Dimitrova, known popularly around the world as Baba Vanga. We look to spurious predictions, unsubstantiated predictions and some actual material sourced to Baba Vanga. We then look at how people might use discernment on materials found in the media, be it the newspaper, radio, the evening TV news or the Internet media. The media presents information; it is up to the user to evaluate that information in its context.

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Jnanadeva of Alandi


Jnanadev (also known as Jnaneshwar or Dnyaneshwar or Dnyandev (1275–1296) was a 13th-century Marathi saint, poet, philosopher and yogi of the Nath tradition whose Jnaneshvari (a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita) and Amrutanubhav are considered to be milestones in Marathi literature. Jnanadeva lived during the rule of King Ramadevarao, immediately prior to the Moghul invasions, for an all too brief 22 years and left a rich body of spiritual writings. He is honoured to this day in Alandi, his place of internment.

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Milarepa, Tibetan Buddhist Saint


Milarepa (Mi-la-ras-pa), Tibet, roughly “Mila who wears the cotton cloth of an ascetic,” 1025- 1135; by far the most famous saint of Tibet. After trials of the utmost difficulty imposed on him by his master, Marpa, he received the complete teachings of the mahamudra and of the Naro chodrug. His diligent and exemplary exertion in the realization of these teachings brought about the founding of the – Kagyupa school. The biography of Milarepa, composed in the 15th century, with all the spiritual songs it contains, is still today one of the greatest sources of inspiration in Tibetan Buddhism.

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