Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

Hilda Charlton – a tribute

(Hilda Charlton was a spiritual teacher who taught meditation in New York City from 1965 to 1988. In her teachings Hilda stressed the importance of a life of giving and forgiving, unconditional love and remembrance of God. She Hilda Charltonuplifted the lives of thousands of people who sought her spiritual guidance. She was born in London and moved to United States along with her parents and two elder brothers when she was four years old. As a young student she learnt classical ballet dancing and from the age of eighteen for the next two decades she performed and taught dancing in the San Francisco area. But right from her childhood her real quest was spiritual. From 1947 to 1950, Hilda toured India and Ceylon as a dancer. After that she lived in India and Ceylon for fifteen more years, pursuing her studies of Eastern mysticism and meditation under the guidance of many great spiritual masters.

This story of Hilda is based on her autobiography, ‘Hell bent for Heaven’. All phrases and sentences in quotes are Hilda’s own words unless otherwise mentioned.)

Hilda was direct, simple and filled with life1. The then president of Gold Mountain Entertainment, Danny Goldberg said of Hilda, “When Hilda talked about saints, she began with a gushing enthusiasm I would normally associate with a teenage girl contemplating her latest heartthrob. Almost imperceptibly her tone altered from one of girlishness to a solemnity manifesting the holiness of the saints’ lives to the jocular familiarity of a next door neighbour. Only gradually, subtly, and with the utmost concentration did it dawn on me that she herself was one of them.”

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I am Sitting on a Mountain

I am sitting on a mountain.
I am casting shadows into the sky.

I did not invite it but the sun has come
And is now playing tag with my feet.

I am whispering to clouds today,
“Watch out for my shoulders,”

For I wish no harm
To all my soft friends.

Where do you think you will Be
When God reveals Himself
Inside of you?

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Love Your Enemies

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
47 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, pray for them that persecute you;
48 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
49 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the tax-gatherers the same?
50 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles so?
51 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what gain have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
52 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Most High: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
53 Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful.


– Love Your Enemies, The Life and Morals of Jesus. The Jefferson Bible

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World Festival of the Heart

world festival of the heart

The World Festival of the Heart is an initiative to promote a world of peace and understanding through a variety of different programs. The World Festival of the Heart seeks to celebrate the best aspects of life.

“The program is designed for anyone who has a passion for life, the world and our future. We have chosen three major themes for the Festival to explore the interplay and convergence of these disciplines:

  • The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
  • The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
  • Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life

World Festival of the

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On Atheism

When I enter bookshops, I often see books discussing atheism.

As a spiritual seeker I don’t have much interest in these books. Whether others believe in God or not is not of any concern. I rather like the quote of Thomas Jefferson:

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

Also, through practising meditation, one realises that there are many states of consciousness that can not be described and explained by reason. Therefore, to discuss the existence of God, through reason and the mind only, inevitably has to be unsatisfactory.

I have no interest in proving God’s existence to others – I feel this is a fruitless and unnecessary task.

However, these are a few random thoughts, ideas and quotes on the subject of atheism

Characteristics of a Liberated Soul

1. Humility

A liberated soul knows that he is not the doer. He knows and feels that he is a mere instrument for the higher power. It is this awareness that enables him to be a channel for divine light. A liberated soul does not deal with his own individual will and individual freedom; he seeks only to be a channel for the Divine Will.

"Because I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me." – Jesus Christ [1]

This humility is only possible when a person has subdued his ego. When our ego is predominant we feel that we are the doer. But, if we transcend the dominance of the ego, we learn true humility. This state of consciousness gives does not give us a sense of superiority, but oneness with others. Because of his sense of identification with others a liberated soul will never feel better than others.

"A real spiritual Master will never think that he is superior to anybody. He will feel that it is his bounden duty to be of service to the divinity, to the Supreme in humanity."

  • Sri Chinmoy [2]

2. Equanimity

A liberated soul has made a permanent connection with his inner reality, the Universal Source. He sees through the ephemeral nature of the outer world; he knows that what happens in the outer world does not affect the real in us – our soul. Thus, whatever may befall a liberated soul on the outer plane, nothing affects his inner poise and inner peace. At the same time, a liberated soul is not bound by any outer rules; some spiritual Master’s may display outer emotions for various reasons. Yet, even if they display anger outwardly, inwardly they retain a perfect inner peace. Their show of anger may merely be an outer emotion necessary for the well being of others.

3. No Fear of Death.

Sri Sarada Devi said that we can always tell the difference between a spiritual person and an ordinary person.

"The difference between a spiritual man and an ordinary man is very simple. Easily you can know the difference between the two. An ordinary man cries and sheds bitter tears when death approaches him; whereas a spiritual man, if he is really spiritual, he will laugh and laugh when death approaches him, for to him death is fun, nothing else" [3]

Even in the face of death, a liberated soul will not lose his inner peace, because he knows that death is merely an inevitable process of transition. For a liberated soul, death is like going from one room to another. The soul may lose a body, but it retains the quintessence of its life experiences in the soul’s world. Furthermore, in many ways liberation is akin to gaining mastery over death. For real illumination to occur, a seeker must lose his sense of little "I" ness. It is only through losing the sense of ego, that a seeker can gain liberation. When Jesus Christ said:

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."" [4]

He meant that the sense of ego must die, to enable the divine consciousness to enter.

4. Purity

A liberated soul is the embodiment of his own inner realization. If we have a little receptivity, we will feel in the spiritual Master a sense of peace, purity and inner joy. Outwardly the liberated soul may be ugly. But, if we look into their eyes, we will definitely see that they have attained a consciousness far beyond the ordinary. The liberated soul may say or do nothing; but, just being in their presence may give an inexplicable and unexpected sense of inner peace and well being.

By: Tejvan Pettinger,

Oxford, Sri Chinmoy Centre

4th August, 2007



[1] John 6.38

[2] Can You Tell How Spiritual Masters Differ..

[3] Is Death the End?

[4] John 3:3,

Science and Spirituality

Traditionally science and spirituality have been at loggerheads. Science is concerned with man’s material success, spirituality, on the other hand, is interested in man’s inner realities. Is this conflict inevitable, or can the different arts of science and spirituality be complementary?

"Science has the capacity to show mankind the full development of the mental life. Spirituality has the capacity to show mankind the possibility and inevitability of the life beyond the mind, the supramental life."

Sri Chinmoy [1]

Science deals with the finite, material world; it examines the functioning of matter. Spirituality considers the inner reality, a consciousness that cannot be explained by mental reasoning. This creates a division, the scientific mind says, "only what can be proved on an outer level is meaningful." In response the ancient spirituality of yoga suggests; "the material world that we see is actually maya, an illusion."; the underlying reality of the universe, is what we feel in our silent meditation. On one level, science and spirituality deal in seemingly mutually exclusive methodologies

Science argues that progress comes from improvements in our material well-being. In this regard, science and technology have been of great help in developing better living standards for man. However, although science has helped increase material well-being in society, this has quite often, not led to increased happiness. Spirituality states that, what is important is not the accumulation of material comforts; real abiding happiness comes through living in harmony with our soul. Thus science and spirituality offer 2 very diverse approaches to the meaning of life and human happiness.

However, to expect the same thing from science and spirituality is perhaps a mistake. They offer different truths and explain different aspects of creation. There is no reason why science and spirituality cannot be harmonised.

Science creates material power. With the technology of science we can destroy the world, or we can harness its power for the betterment of humanity. If spirituality is the guiding force behind science, technology can be used to transcend the poverty and ignorance of man. If science is used only as an instrument of power, its results can lead to destruction and suffering.

Spirituality believes in the inner life, but spirituality does not involve just a retreat from the world. Real spirituality involves the manifestation of spiritual ideals. Both, the inner and outer world, are aspects of God’s creation. For its manifestation spirituality requires the help and knowledge of science. In this regard, science is an invaluable mechanism for the dissemination of spirituality’s message.

"Let us listen to the message of Matter through the voice of science. Let us listen to the message of the Spirit through the voice of spirituality. Finally, let us not forget that spirituality is the soul and science is the body."

Sri Chinmoy [2]

Article by Richard Pettinger

Oxford, Sri Chinmony Centre,


[1] Excerpt from Eastern Light For The Western Mind by Sri Chinmoy.

[2] Excerpt from Songs Of The Soul by Sri Chinmoy.