Repeatedly dwell on the swiftness of the passage and departure of things that are and of things that come to be. For substance is like a river in perpetual flux, its activities are in continuous changes, and its causes in myriad varieties, and there is scarce anything which stands still, even what is near at hand; dwell, too, on the infinite gulf of the past and the future, in which all things vanish away. Then how is he not a fool who in all this is puffed up or distracted or takes it hardly, as if he were in some lasting scene, which has troubled him for so long?
— Marcus Aurelius – Meditations – Book V – 23 (Translated by A S L Farquharson)
All that we have invented,
the symbols in the church,
they are all put there by thought.
Thought has invented these things.
Invented the savior.
Invented the temples in India
and the contents of the temples.
Thougts has invented all
these things called sacred.
You cannot deny that.
So thought in itself is not sacred.
And when thought invents God,
God is not sacred.
So what is sacred?
That can only be understood
or happen when there is
from fear, from sorrow,
and when there is this
sense of love
with its own intelligence.
Then, when the mind
is utterly still,
that which is sacred
can take place.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
O Beauty, find thyself in love, not in the flattery of thy mirror. --- Rabindranath Tagore - Stray Birds
Now, what is beauty? This is one of the most fundamental questions, it is not superficial, so don’t brush it aside. To understand what beauty is, to have that sense of goodness which comes when the mind and heart are in communion with something lovely without any hindrance so that one feels completely at ease – surely, this has great significance in life; and until we know this response to beauty our lives will be very shallow. One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti – Think On These Things
In what manner do we accept this world, which is a perfect gift of joy? Have we been able to receive it in our heart where we keep enshrined things that are of deathless value to us? We are frantically busy making use of the forces of the universe to gain more and more power; we feed and we clothe ourselves from its stores, we scramble for its riches, and it becomes for us a field of fierce competition. But were we born for this, to extend our proprietary rights over this world and make of it a marketable commodity? When our whole mind is bent only upon making use of this world it loses for us its true value. We make it cheap by our sordid desires; and thus to the end of our days we only try to feed upon it and miss its truth, just like the greedy child who tears leaves from a precious book and tries to swallow them.
In the lands where cannibalism is prevalent man looks upon man as his food. In such a country civilisation can never thrive, for there man loses his higher value and is made common indeed. But there are other kinds of cannibalism, perhaps not so gross, but not less heinous, for which one need not travel far. In countries higher in the scale of civilisation we find sometimes man looked upon as a mere body, and he is bought and sold in the market by the price of his flesh only. And sometimes he gets his sole value from being useful; he is made into a machine, and is traded upon by the man of money to acquire for him more money. Thus our lust, our greed, our love of comfort result in cheapening man to his lowest value. It is self deception on a large scale. Our desires blind us to the truth that there is in man, and this is the greatest wrong done by ourselves to our own soul. It deadens our consciousness, and is but a gradual method of spiritual suicide. It produces ugly sores in the body of civilisation, gives rise to its hovels and brothels, its vindictive penal codes, its cruel prison systems, its organised method of exploiting foreign races to the extent of permanently injuring them by depriving them of the discipline of self- government and means of self-defence.
— Rabindranath Tagore – Sadhana – Realisation in Love
Die in this love!
If you die in this love
your soul will be renewed
Don’t fear the death
of that which is known
If you die to the temporal
you will become timeless
Cut off those chains
that hold you prisoner
to the world of attachment
Die to the deathless
and you will be eternal
and come out of this cloud
When you leave the cloud
you will be in the effulgent moon
Die to the din and the noise
of mundane concerns
In the silence of love
you will find the spark of life
— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Rumi) – Love Poems of Rumi (edited by Deepak Chopra)
In a man’s life, his time is but a moment, his being a mere flux, his senses a dim glimpse,
his body food for the worms, and his soul a restless eddy …
the things of the body pass like a flowing stream;
life is a brief sojourn, and one’s mark in this world is soon forgotten.
— Marcus Aurelius
You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen,-the seven masks I have fashioned an worn in seven lives,-I ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, “Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.”
Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.
And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, “He is a madman.” I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”
Thus I became a madman.
And I have found both freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.
— Khalil Gibran – The Madman – How I Became A Madman