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Orva Schrock "Author of "Let There Be Light: And Discover Your Real Self"" RSS Feed (goshen, in United States)

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The Truth About Jesus: Is He A Myth?
The Truth About Jesus: Is He A Myth?
by M. M. Mangasarian
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those willing to know the truth will say, Yes, he is..., September 18, 2014
I was born into and raised in a fundamentalist and very strictly conservative sect that taught us vigorously and daily that every word in the Bible is literally true. I was taught that failure to believe any portion of it was all by itself a ticket straight to hell where i would burn for all eternity along with all the other non-believers, and of course those who commited lesser sins such as robbery, rape, and murder.
Now i am gone nearly half a century from that community of ignorance and abuse and have spent most of my life asking the age old question, "What is true?"

This present classic work by M. M. Mangasarian is one of the very best books of the many i have read over many years regarding the historicity of "Jesus." I no longer have any doubt about the matter; the Jesus of the Bible was and is a mythological construct that developed over the centuries to lure the gullible into the fold, and to perpetuate the 'organization'... And it has worked to a remarkable degree. It worked [sort of] because those who bought in were uneducated, fearful, and superstitious; that is to say ignorant- as one should expect at this still early stage of humankind's evolution.

Regarding 'mythology' as a field of human endeavor, it has an obvious and very worthwhile function: to help the limited human intelligence/consciousness to grasp that which lies just over the line of our comprehension. To explain the unexplainable or at least to clarify. 'Myth making' seems universal and timeless and ongoing; obviously it is a natural mostly unconscious built-in human instinct. We should respect it but in the same way we respect dreams and creative imagination. We pervert this natural story-telling function and its great value when we begin to insist on the 'historicity' of what is obviously not historical in the physical linear-time realm of human life. Those who actually want TRUTH and not just some romantic spiritual pacifier will easily, upon a sincere and thorough investigation, determine for themselves that all the 'supernatural' codified religions are man-made myths-- organized. [see Joseph Campbell- The Masks of God, and Carl Jung- Man and His Symbols]

In this small very readable well-done book, the arguments pro and con historicity are put forth in a clear masterful way. Even though i was well aware of nearly all the facts and arguments laid out in the book, i wanted to put in a good word for this book as being among the very best in its field. I see on Amazon there are at least 10 different editions that have been published over the years. Quality has a way of lasting and succeeding.

The christian apologists will rant and rave about the imagined faults of the present book. And why wouldn't they? Once a "believer" buys into something so outrageously "unbelievable" their very soul and eternal security feels to them to be at stake. I get that. I haven't read any of the 1 star "reviews" left by such rabid christians, many of whom, no doubt, never bothered to read the book. I know their contorted arguments inside out; believe me, i was raised on it, force-fed it, and threatened and harrassed by it until reaching the age of legal majority, i escaped from it.

I recommend this book to those who may be struggling with the question the book addresses; Is he a myth? Believe what you want, its none of my business. But when it comes to questions of such monumental consequence, shouldn't a sane rational person also consider the doubter's side of the story?

Is there any religion higher than the truth?

Discourses on Astavakra Gita
Discourses on Astavakra Gita
by Swami Chinmayananda
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.04
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ancient classic with the transcendent commentary of a modern era saint, September 10, 2014
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There are few books of any kind i would consider greater than the Astavakra Gita. I've long loved the various modern translations of it but only recently encountered this one. I love it.

I had also not been aware of Swami Chinmayananda but must say i am a new fan now and will be looking at other books of his. He seems to possess a depth of learning and insight that is rare indeed. Also, even though his life was 'exotic' and unusual by plain American standards, his grasp of the modern age and its tribulations are apparent and his commentary while always simple and direct yet manages to be eloquent.

But the real and greatest aspect of his genius, is his thorough understanding of life and the universe and the true identity of Who and What we really are. I am up against the barrier of my own simple inadequacy in giving the Swami and the book the review it deserves so i'll just quote a bit from the book and a little of his following commentary. Those ready for this book will recognize themselves in the following:

chap 2, verse 25; "Wonderful! Marvellous! In Me, the limitless ocean, the waves of individual selves, according to their nature rise, jostle about, play for a time and disappear."
Swami comments; "It is not only the words that are rising in Me, the Consciousness, but all other living creatures are also born from the same Self in Me."

chap 18, verse 5; "The Self which is Absolute, Effortless, Immutable and Stainless is not far away--inaccessable. Nor is it limited--Unattainable. It is indeed ever-attained."
Swami comments; "The Supreme experienced when all equipments are transcended, where the ego surrenders completely and disappears into the vision of the Reality...this Great State is our own Real our delusion we recognize not the constant Presence of this Divine Self."

I should tell the undecided book buyer, the Swami does not claim this text is for everyone. In the introduction he states his case clearly, "To those who have purified their minds and are engaged really in meditation, to such committed students alone, this text book can show light and can serve as a true guide....To Astavakra there is only one goal to be aspired for and reached, and that is Self knowledge through direct mystical intuition....When true knowledge dawns, the misconceptions end and the little ego in the meditator rediscovers itself to be the Infinite Brahman."

From Transplant to Transformation, the Journey of a Mother Who Gave the Gift of Life Twice
From Transplant to Transformation, the Journey of a Mother Who Gave the Gift of Life Twice
by Louise Camilleri
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.97
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A celebration of the human spirit, September 9, 2014
This is a small book but it has a lot to say. It is entertaining while being essentially a guide to overcoming stress and depression and pediatric emergency. It also has the best elements of memoir. It is also a moving testimony to the power and the glory of a mother's love.

When Ms Camilleri gave birth to her first child, Anthony, she was as thrilled and happy as any mother could be. She looked forward to taking him home and enjoying motherhood for the rest of her life. But the universe had other plans. Little Anthony was very soon a very sick little boy. He would need a liver transplant to have any reasonable chance of a normal life or even survival.

Here's where a mother's love and the human spirit burst into full bloom. She immersed herself in every possible way into understanding and overcoming the disaster that had befallen her young family. She did not hesitate to offer a part of her own liver to be transplanted into young Anthony. And so, through many trials and tribulations, her baby began his gradual recovery to a normal happy childhood.

So 14 years after the calamity first began, she decided to share, in this book, some of the important things she learned. While her case involved specific tragic circumstances, the book is geared toward the overcoming of whatever obstacles the reader may encounter. It is a succint self-help book as well as a deeply moving personal story.

Speaking of moving: At the end of the book, young Anthony writes his own statement of his appreciation of his mother and indeed, life itself. He ends his statement with this:
"If there are any parents out there who are going through an experience like this with their child I would just like to tell you to pray to God. Pray and give it your all because God is by your side even in the worst of times. If there are any kids out there going through transplant I would just like to tell you to believe in God and pray for His assistance. Thank you for reading my part of the story and I hope that life treats you well."

Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda: Volume 1
Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda: Volume 1
by Shri Atmananda
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.21
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much emphasis on a physical guru..., September 6, 2014
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There is a great deal to love and admire in Krishna Menon's [Shri Atmananda's] teachings but it doesn't quite fit my INFP personality. For the thinking-judging extrovert type it is probably good but for my own intuitive-feeling introvert type it is too dogmatic and reductionist. ["Put on your lab coats boys, we're going to get spiritual here"]. [regarding the 'types' see the Briggs/Myers test based on Jung's typology].

One thing that always bugs me is the insistence on the necessity of a physical personal human Guru. I simply cannot and will not believe that and i think its a cruel idea to promote to some sincere seeker that picked up this book seeking answers. Just where does our dear seeker go to obtain such a thing? And having found one-- the common experience is disillusionment as the so-called guru's many flaws become impossible to hide any longer. A human guru is not necessary; never was, never will be. I have no doubt that for some people such a teacher would be a very great aid but to keep pretending that a human 'guru' is the only way to 'the real enlightenment' is just foolishness in my view. Kind of sounds like the type of thing a teacher seeking followers would say. Who has not heard of Buddha alone under a tree, Jesus alone in the wilderness, Ramana alone in a cave? So enter into and remain aware of your own Heart. Find there your real identity, the One Self. A physical guru could be a great detriment and distraction in the actual pursuit of the goal. As Ramana always said, "Ask yourself, who am i?" and he provided the one answer, true for all, "You are the Self, abide as the Self."

Nisargadatta had a guru but often said the real guru is within the seeker. Ramana never had a guru and often said all that was needed is to ask yourself, 'who am i?' until the real self is revealed as the SatChitAnanda [existence-awareness-peace] that we all really are. That One Ramana always spoke of as the Self. That One the Upanishad's often are referring to when they say, "That art thou."

Perhaps long ago in some primitive dusty village of largely illiterate citizens, the idea of going down to the holy man meditating by the river bank to learn of 'enlightenment' made all the sense in the world. But the Consciousness that we are, that consciousness that is the root and ground of all existence, That needs no help from any guru to manifest its purity and perfection within a pure seeking human heart.

For some better books see my other reviews.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Vedanta coming to America--and very well told., August 20, 2014
My congratulations to Philip Goldberg. Here in this great book he has achieved something very impressive: telling the very exciting and comprehensive and true story of Consciousness expanding itself exponentially through the spiritual tsunami, Vedanta; moving in and largely conquering the American philosophical/psychological/spiritual landscape.

Here in this wonderful book are many of those teachers who are my greatest heroes of the past 40+ years: Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Huston Smith, Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, S. Vivekananda, Aldous Huxley, William James, Meister Eckhart, Stanislav Grof, Eckhart Tolle, Krishna Menon, S. Nikhilananda, Nisargadatta, Shankara, and the greatest of all, to me, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

I'm sure anyone interested in this book will have their own favorite characters [there are a great many other notable people in the book that i haven't mentioned] when it comes to the awesome story of Vedanta's coming to America. In this very fine effort by Mr Goldberg we can learn a great deal about the characters who bring Vedanta to life for us. We can read about their individual backgrounds, cross-influences, their approaches to truth-seeking, and their legacies; the deep conclusions they were moved to share with the world.

Oh, and he doesn't shy away from the dark side, the scoundrels, thieves, abusers, liars; they are plentiful and thankfully the author does not spare them from their own foolishness. We live in the realm of maya-- all that does appear is somewhere on the spectrum of 'name and form,' and 'the pairs of opposites,' and so it is in the world of spiritual teachers and teachings, too. Let the seeker beware.

If this whole story of Vedanta coming to the West interests you, this is the book. I have been immersed in the whole Eastern wisdom/seeking scene for over 40 years now and i know of no other book that even comes close to putting the complete story together as well as this book does. I have enjoyed this book very much and give it my highest recommendation.

The Real Is Unknowable, The Knowable Is Unreal
The Real Is Unknowable, The Knowable Is Unreal
by Robert Powell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66
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5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all..., August 14, 2014
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The title says it [almost] all. This is another fine collection from the wise man, Robert Powell. Succint, direct, highly quotable; and highly worthy of being quoted. The author was a devotee of both Nisargadatta and Ramana and brings us here his great communication skills in clarifying their teachings.

This small aphoristic book of wisdom is worthy of initiating the beginner as well as broadening the understanding of any would-be nondualist realizer.

Example from page 142: "...even the idea of non-duality or advaita is ultimately invalid and unreal, and has to be transcended, together with all other concepts! Upon full realization of this truth, there is no longer any entity; There is no more an individual entity that suffers and hopes for deliverance...Once we have had a taste of this real freedom, this limitless realm of the Self, there can be no turning back to illusory entities that defile and threaten our true integrity and peace of being."

Enjoy the read and see again [or for the first time] Who you really are.

The Decline of the West (Abridged)
The Decline of the West (Abridged)
by Oswald Spengler
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.49
61 used & new from $6.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly survey of our historical [and current] human dilemna., August 10, 2014
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When i decided to post a 'review' of this great [very great] book, i came to this site and was amazed at the number of negative reviews. It looks like a lot of that came about from the apparently sloppy Kindle version. Also, some are outraged that such a masterpiece would appear in our midst abridged [grrrr!] . Well, i'm not so easily offended by formats and printing errors and anything else that upsets my sophisticated sense of grandeur and excellence. [i'm kidding about my sophistication; i'm a High School drop-out myself, if you're not limited in that way--congratulations.]

Despite any real or imagined imperfections, this is a very good book. [Joseph Campbell gifted it to friends] Oswald Spengler was an early 20th century German intellectual and writer and professor. He died in 1936 but his book lives on and will long continue as the truly great books tend to do. He writes here of the history and philosophical/psychological/spiritual development of our Western beliefs and ideas. Money, Time, Politics, Power, War and Peace, Religion and indeed our best and worst traits and development as human beings.

Here's a [very brief] example of the kind of style and content this author and this book have put on offer: --from chapter XVI--
"Religion may be described as the Waking-Being of a living creature in the moments when it overcomes, masters, denies and even destroys Being. Worldly life and the pulse of its drive dwindles as the eyes gaze into an extended, tense and light-filled world...nevertheless, liberation is a fundamental word in every religion and an eternal wish of every waking-being. In this general, almost pre-religious sense it means the desire for freedom from the anxieties and anguishes of waking-consciousness; from the tensions of fear-born thought...the prospect of old age and death....religious knowledge is power--man is not only ascertaining causations but handling them. He who knows the secret relationship between microcosm and macrocosm commands it also, whether the knowledge has come to him by revelation or by close attention....If there were truths independent of the currents of being, there could be no history of truths. If there were one single eternally right religion, religious history would be an inconceivable idea....Religion starts like a great shout. Gloomy apprehension is suddenly dispelled by a fervent wakening that blossoms plant-wise from mother earth and at one glance takes in the depth of the traverses the chosen spirits of the time like a grand light, which dissolves all fear in blissful love and lets the invisable appear, all suddenly, in a metaphysical radiance."

The Making of Reality: How Consciousness Creates the World
The Making of Reality: How Consciousness Creates the World
by Jörg Starkmuth
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.9 Stars...., August 2, 2014
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I have long been interested in, and working on, the primary 'problem' Mr Starkmuth sets out to explore and explain in this book. That is; exactly how and in what sense do we participate in the making of our own reality?

This book starts out with the scientific theories regarding time, space, the universe, consciousness itself, etc. And the last half of the book is more of a pivot toward subjective and 'esoteric' beliefs and practices and speculations. I cannot claim expertise in these areas, especially in the 'hard science' theories where he seems most at home. In the first part he uses great quotes and discusses some of the ideas of people like Einstein, Kepler, Bohr, Schrodinger, Hawking, Wolf, Planck, et al, and adds his own observations and insights in a very useful and interesting way. I'm not competent to judge all this scientific theory myself, but he seems comfortable with it and, i would say, competent. So if this is an area of interest for you i can highly recommend this book.

The last half is where i feel more at home; the spiritual and philosophical, direct perception and the creative roots of happiness. Here i got the impression the writer was still more or less feeling his way forward and his theories may be less complete. For one thing, he refers to certain 'experts' as if they are truly reliable ultimate sources and there i must disagree. Jane Roberts? Paramahansa Yogananda? Neale Donald Walsch? Byron Katie? Please. Why expend so much time and space and effort on the 'B' Team? Perhaps the fault is simply my own inability to see clearly but i could not and would not give the glowing references he gives these people. Also, he forgot to include an Index. And the hardcover book price is too high. I know i could use my Kindle but, (gack!), I still very much prefer real books!
So i offer these complaints but still give the book 5 stars? Yes, there is a lot of good that i most sincerely do compliment Mr Starkmuth on. His choice of heroes and wisdom sources and book pricing is his business.

Near the end of the book the author refers [as i see it] to his own highest aspirations, yes, but also his lingering doubt:
"If there is something like an 'evolutionary goal' of humanity on a higher spiritual level, I assume the next major step on this path, which the first individuals are currently beginning to realize, is to overcome our dependence on the biological programming of our earthly vessels to such a degree that we can create the next level of human society on this planet out of free creativity and without ostensible compulsion.
No matter whether some 'oversoul' of mankind actually pursues such a goal--I consider it a worthwhile goal anyway, because in a society based on free decisions and not on compulsions, everyone has a better chance to experience and enjoy the positive side of our survival computer--pleasant emotions--for as long as we still choose this material form of existence for ourselves. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not in any hurry to give it up and ascend into higher spheres of consciousness, because I think that there are still lots of exciting adventures to be experienced on our self-created four-dimensional stage."

For what it's worth, [if the gnat may address the elephant] i have this suggestion for this author: Like Herman Hesse's Siddharta, you can--when the time is right and you are ready--sit down at last in solitude beside the river and finally hear and realize everything worth knowing--in the rushing water's sounding of the Eternal Aum.

LORD NATARAJA Dancing Shiva Statue, Real Bronze Powder Cast 10 1/2-inch
LORD NATARAJA Dancing Shiva Statue, Real Bronze Powder Cast 10 1/2-inch
Offered by LifeAlign
Price: $79.95
4 used & new from $79.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shiva-- the destroyer of ignorance..., July 14, 2014
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"The entire universe is Shiva's dance of infinite variety," so declare the ancient Vedas.

Here is a very beautiful and affordable artistic rendering of that eternal dancer dancing his ever balanced alternation of creation and destruction. We love creation! Want more: life, growth, becoming, Being. Meanwhile we simultaneously remember death is the other side of the coin of life. Among 'the pairs of opposites' this is the big one.

This Shiva image, first rendered in antiquity and now a classic symbol of That-which-is, reminds those who view it that the cosmic dance of which we partake is unlimited, eternal, beyond ultimate accurate description...

So i added this particular reiteration to my household pantheon of the great archetypes that underlie who and what we are. This particular example is a beautifully made statue that will add life and brightness to any room or setting. The size and quality are perfect, the price seems very fair, and i think any buyer will be glad to own this gorgeous statue for sure once they see it. Highly recommended!

The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-Brain Plays Unending Games of Self-Improvement
The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-Brain Plays Unending Games of Self-Improvement
by Chris Niebauer Ph.D.
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.96
14 used & new from $12.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting to know you--getting to know all about you..., July 3, 2014
Some people love sports cars, beautiful machines to take us from here to there in exciting style. I could enjoy taking one for a spin and never even think of looking under the hood. Some other folks would wonder what's wrong with me? How could i not be interested in the engineering marvels that make this exquisite machine go? For those who want to know, the owner's manual is pretty important, along with a thorough visual inspection, and the ideas of our fellow enthusiasts, etc.

This fine book by the distinguished professor, Chris Niebauer, Ph.D., is to some extent the owner's manual of our very own physical and emotional-mental selves. What is it that creates our individual reality? How do you see something as almost exactly opposite from the way it is seen by another apparently 'normal' person? What are the processes and actions/reactions that create what we see and think--that makes us the particular 'who and what' we see ourselves as being?

This book is a very good look 'under the hood.' There are many examples of the way we trick ourselves into believing our own vision of reality is The true one. The book reminds me very much of the ever insightful and entertaining approach the great Alan Watts is known for. And indeed there are a number of Alan's quotes and some references to the visions of reality Alan could playfully create for us. So from just these points of view the book is a good read.

But there is so much more here for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. The author quotes Robert Persig, "We take a handfull of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call this the world." The author also writes about the 'tip of the tongue' consciousness, where we know a thing but can't articulate it, can't even fully get it straight within our own so-called minds, but there is something of consequence there and we don't doubt that.

My own teacher, if i have one, is Ramana Maharshi. I don't believe the good doctor mentions that name in the book but i kept being reminded of Ramana's teachings as i enjoyed reading this book:

Dr Niebauer: "To believe that patterns exist on their own is the ego illusion, which, we could say works but even the idea of something working as opposed to not working is also just another interpretation. Psychology has a history of breathing more and more life into interpretations, which is like trying to give life to a reflection in water, a representation rather than a real thing....From Corinthians to John Lennon, there have been hints on how to see the world using something other than the egoic mind....we are the perfect players in this cosmic game....So when you find yourself...anxious, stressed, depressed...remember you are playing the game in a most exquisite way. And it could never play without you."

Ramana Maharshi: [from his book 'Talks'] "The mind obstructs the innate peace. Our investigation is only in the mind. Investigate the mind; then it will disappear. There is no entity by the name 'mind.' Because of the emergence of thoughts, we surmise something from which they start; that we term 'mind.' When we probe to see what it is, there is nothing of the sort. After it has vanished, peace will be found to remain eternal."

So my friends, i say, read the book, lose your mind, don't worry, be happy.

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