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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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Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
by Acharya S
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.12
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the awesome Ms Murdock publishes another one, April 17, 2014
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I've ordered the book, haven't actually read it yet. [i'll report back] But i've read almost everything ms Murdock has published beginning with her first big hit, "The Christ Conspiracy: the Greatest Story Ever Sold" [1999]., in which she did include a lot of research and reasoned conclusions about good old "Moses." The index tells me Moses appears on 47 pages of that book and it is fascinating stuff indeed. But that book is now 15 years old so i'm very much looking forward to the full treatment of that wily old [mythical?] Israelite in this new and very thorough study.

D.M.Murdock, aka Acharya S, is a very great scholar of antiquites, languages, secular and sacred history, the rise of mythologies, the power of ritual and symbol, etc. I've always found her commitment to truth, wherever it may lead, to be extraordinary and very intellectually refreshing... So thank you, Ms Murdock, for that.

You'll be well rewarded in your reading of this author's work. In a world where people are so quick and easy at believing whatever airy confection is convenient instead of what's actually true, she sets us back down on solid ground. And, really, isn't getting the basic facts right the place where we should begin our deepest searches for truth and meaning?


Talks with Ramana Maharshi: On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness
Talks with Ramana Maharshi: On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness
by Maharshi Ramana
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars What my greatest hero actually said..., March 21, 2014
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I have for some years wanted to 'review' this great book but i never believed i could do it justice. I still feel that way but nevertheless i want to add my trifling endorsement and personal testimony that this really is one of the very top 2 or 3 books i know of in the whole world. i could easily call it number one but i hate to speak of absolutes in a relative realm of being as this our life actually is.

It would be possible to get bogged down in this book thinking about or discussing some of the unfamiliar nomenclature and South Indian cultural oddities you will find here. But it is not possible to totally transcend the folk-ways and deeply entrained ways of whatever community one finds oneself in. Ramana was a very great sage, he knew he had to speak the people's 'language' if he was to be understood. In fact he would often allude to his methodology of recommending spiritual practices 'according to the level of understanding of the enquirer.'

For myself, Ramana is the supreme teacher. There is Ramana and then there is everyone else. I speak for myself here. If you see things differently than i, you should follow the path that your sincere pure heart leads you to follow.

For many years now, over and over, Ramana has been my guiding light, my spiritual hero, my teacher. He speaks to us of that which is just over the horizons of our knowledge and understanding. And thus he gives us glimpses of a light not of this earth. He understood that Consciousness is itself the one true thing and that all these relative ideas we get hung up on are really ultimately unhelpful or even harmful. To see the One Self [consciousness] was his highest consistent advice. He said we should give up the idea that we exist as individuals and that we are the 'doer' of actions. So for me Ramana is the most nearly perfect light we can follow or gravitate toward. He always recommended we ask ourselves, 'who am i?' until we realize our identity with the One Self, [pure consciousness].

Ramana said:

"A higher power is leading knows what to do and how to do it. Trust it."

"The consciousness within, purged of the mind, is felt as God."

"Soul, mind, or ego are mere words. There are no entities of the kind. Consciousness is the only truth."

"Leave God alone. Speak for yourself. You do not know God. He is only what you think of Him. Is he
apart from you? He is that pure Consciousness in which all ideas are formed. You are that Consciousness."

The Divine Life Its Practice And Realisation
The Divine Life Its Practice And Realisation
by Swami Yatiswarananda
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.27
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5.0 out of 5 stars A little known timeless classic..., February 5, 2014
This is a beautiful guide to living the purely spiritual life as taught and practised in the yogas; especially the bakti or jnana yoga paths. Swami Yatiswarananda was a long time close friend and disciple of the great Sw. Brahmananda. Brahmananda was a brother monk of the great Sw. Vivekananda--the two of them spent their youth under the direct teaching and blessing of the famous Indian god-man, Ramakrishna. So you see the pedigree is high-level and the teachings not far removed from original sources.

I have treasured my 1972 hard-back copy of this great book for some decades now. In the early days of my most intense seeking and learning of true God and true Self; this book was always among my most loved and most helpful. My copy now looks old and worn but i still keep it [along with a few other treasured volumes] right next to the reading chair i use most. I say all this in hopes of impressing upon the spiritual-seeker/book-buyer that this is the real deal. This is exactly what its title suggests: a spiritual guide to living and realising [making real] the Divine life.

The book starts out with the good swami's 80 page 'introduction' which is itself a beautiful course in the spiritual life according to Vedanta. Then the author quotes from the vast Vedantic scriptures under various subject headings. Roughly speaking i would say the subjects start with basic moral instruction and cultural observations and then forward [upward?] through the primary yogas; karma,raga,bakti,and jnana. I can say now after 40 years that my own spiritual life has taken a similar form and progression, arriving finally at and at peace in, non-dual Jnana.

In those final pages of scriptures in support of jnana, [i.e.knowledge,monistic idealism,advaita] the highest ideals of the greatest divine knowledge are generously quoted. Mostly from the Bhagavad Gita and the various Upanishads. I can hardly adequately say how important this book can be to a sincere seeker in the nondualist path back to our source and goal: the One Self.

Here is a tiny sample of the many gems the holy man chose to share with his truth-seeking reader:

"In Him reside all beings, and He resides in all beings as their supporter. That all-pervading deity I Am."

"In Me, the Infinite, is everything born; in Me, the Infinite, does everything rest; and to Me, the Infinite, does everything return after destruction. I am that eternal, all-pervading Being, the One without a second."

"I am purely of the nature of infinite peace and infinite consciousness. I am purely of the nature of eternal existence. I am the eternal Being."

"That which is realized by the mind purified by penance, worship, charity, and other means, after renouncing everything, even Kingship, as worthless--that eternal, infinite, supreme Being I am."


The Power of Myth
The Power of Myth
by Joseph Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.04
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only read one Joseph Campbell book, i recommend this one..., February 4, 2014
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
J. Campbell was the premier 'mythologist' of our time. He made it his business, over a long professional career, to learn about and teach the wisdom of all the world's mythologies. There are now several dozen books and video series expounding on his great work. This book might be the best possible entry into his vast universe.

Based on the famous PBS series with Bill Moyers from the mid 1980s, the book includes transcripts of those conversations but additionally includes a good bit of information that never made it to video. The book is very user friendly. There are many reproduced photos, some full page, some in color. This is a book [and subject] that should be considered for the shelves of any thinking person.

So really, why study myth? Of what possible use would it be? Well, it would give the inquirer a broader deeper understanding of her or himself and of our common human culture and history. It would add to the deepest glimpses we have of who and what we all each are in our very deepest Self. Yes, that's asking a lot but this book delivers a lot.

In the book Campbell has much to say about the purpose and value of mythology. Here is a little sample of what he says about it:
"...the human psyche is essentially the same all over the world....Out of this common ground have come what Jung has called the archetypes, which are the common ideas of myths....I think what we are looking for is a way of experiencing the world that will open to us the transcendent that informs it, and at the same time forms ourselves within it. That is what people want. That is what the soul asks for....To have some kind of instruction that will enable us to experience the divine presence."

Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Memories, Dreams, Reflections
by Carl Gustav Jung
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.30
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some recollections and insights of a great mind..., January 26, 2014
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Carl Jung is/was a 20th century world treasure. This book is often called his autobiography but is not strictly that. It was written and published in the final few years of his life [he was in his 80s by then] with the help of close associates who were very eager to put together some kind of summation of his life and many discoveries.

There are autobiographical stories but even more interesting is the overview of many of his greatest insights. Here one is spared the relentless wordiness of the many big books he wrote and published over 50+ years. So this becomes an excellent introduction to 'Jungian' thought and theory. The other of his final books, Man and His Symbols, was written concurrently and mostly by other professionals in the field who agreed, of course, with his ideas. These 2 books together would make a very fine introduction to Jung.

There are not many 'Jungian' analysts working these days. The fault is not with the theories and ideas but with the inability and unwillingness of the current crop of mental health 'councilors' to adequately learn and apply the many facets of Jung's great system. But do not let that discourage you. Simply begin reading Jung for yourself and you will easily be able to relate to what he's saying as it applies in your own individual case. It may take some fairly substantial investments in time and effort but it's definitely worth it.

You can learn a great deal about your 'shadow', that is, the hidden or unconscious part of your psyche. You can learn about the unconscious 'other gender' part of yourself and how to be in touch with it. You can learn about the symbols that appear in your dreams and thereby you can gain some knowledge of what your dreams are revealing to the conscious part of your psyche. You can learn about and feel at home in the 'collective unconscious' that every single human being [generally unknowingly] participates in. You can learn a lot about your own unconscious [and also conscious] drives and needs. You can learn about the archetypal energy patterns that you are born with and those that become active in you as your life unfolds. You can see where religious feelings and motivations come from and learn to see that 'imago dei', or 'god-image' working within your own deepest self. And there is a great deal more. Like i said, it's really not that difficult if you just set a course for yourself, keep learning, and see how the details fit and apply in your own life experience. Jung said the unconscious is 90% 'pure gold' and i can testify there are many treasures to be discovered within your own deepest self. To know Jung is to love Jung and to know yourself is to love yourself, too.

Jung always spoke of individuation or wholeness as the greatest thing to be desired. He is quoted as saying, "I would rather be whole than good." Every step forward in that area is worthwhile. This book is a very good place from which to set out on your Jungian journey of Self discovery.

God Is Not Dead: What Quantum Physics Tells Us about Our Origins and How We Should Live [Hardcover] [2008] (Author) Amit Goswami
God Is Not Dead: What Quantum Physics Tells Us about Our Origins and How We Should Live [Hardcover] [2008] (Author) Amit Goswami
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5.0 out of 5 stars Have you heard the news?, January 23, 2014
I do like the newspaper facsimile cover--kind of makes you want to read about what the reporters have found out...

I have read several of Dr Goswami's books. I'm a definite fan of this combo mystic/physicist. His science is amazing and as far as i can tell it is current and inclusive of all the latest and greatest math and quantum physics theories. I admit i am not trained in science or math, don't even have a very deep understanding of a lot that he presents in this book. But, like Carl says in Sling Blade, "I reckon i understand a good bit of it."

You don't need to be a scientist to reap many benefits from this book. It is obvious the author goes out of his way to make his explanations understandable for a common reader. Even if some of the science leaves you blinking your eyes and scratching your head, it is well worth wading through it. Because you will understand 'a good bit of it' and it will add something to that instinctive intuitive knowledge you already have; at least if, like me, you're one of those who has no doubt that consciousness is primary--is That which traditions call God.

He makes clear early in the book [p.48-49] what he believes and promises to prove:
"I posit that the ground of being is consciousness, not matter....I also posit that as we evolve we move through manifest states of consciousness that are greater and greater manifestations of godliness--the qualities of God, the supramental archetypes....I must emphasize once again that the God for which I present scientific data is quite the same as the God envisioned by mystics and the founders of all the world's great traditions, although the teachings of the great religions have become diluted into dualism in their popular renditions."

If you're like me you may get a little uncomfortable with excessive use of the word 'God.' It doesn't make me uncomfortable because I have anything against 'Him' [Her, It, That?], it's just that so many people, hearing that G word automatically assume their own conditioned view of what 'God' is, is the one and only true right way. There's where the trouble begins!
So--if you want to use this book to bolster your own view, don't forget all the steps along the way Dr Goswami uses to get to any kind of 'proof.' And even then it could still be considered to some extent as a matter of semantics. But i really like this book a lot, i really do believe consciousness is the root and ground of Being. As Carl Jung insisted many years ago, "We are still a long way from understanding what it signifies that nothing has any existence unless some small and oh so transitory consciousness has become aware of it."

The Consolation of Philosophy
The Consolation of Philosophy
by Boethius
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.16
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5.0 out of 5 stars He was celebrating life while awaiting his execution., January 22, 2014
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Boethius was a very successful Roman Statesman, writer, scientist, translator, and philosopher. He was wealthy and a happy family man. He believed that humanity was noble, and that life was good and just. His philosophy was put to the test in the most severe way possible when the King took offense at some of his ideas and sentenced him to death. He was indeed eventually executed but while waiting to die he wrote of the thing most important to his heart and soul; the consolations of philosophy.

This is that book. It has been a great classic of Western Philosophy for over 1,400 years now. And old as it is it still speaks to the most urgent of questions we humans must face-- how should we live and how can we discover and enjoy 'the supreme good.' The book is physically quite small and is easy to read. But the message is as large as the world and life. It is an important text that anyone actually interested in philosophy should probably read. I am an uneducated man but have always loved ideas and mankind's search for meaning and truth. From that very practical viewpoint, this book is an important tool of my search and has been an aid in my long journey, and i can highly recommend it as very worthwhile to the lover of truth and the seeker of meaning now, in these current modern times.

He starts out the book by speaking of his sorrow and troubles, "I who once wrote songs with keen delight am now by sorrow driven to take up melancholy measures....Old age has come too soon with its evils....Death...turns a deaf ear to the wretched and cruelly refuses to close weeping eyes."

But he does not dwell long on his troubles. For purposes of telling us his thoughts and truths, he writes that the Lady Philosophy appeared to him in his prison cell and he now records their conversations. Near the middle of the book we come to the part that was a great eye-opener for my own understanding when i first read it and contemplated it:

"...It is the common conception of the human mind that good....we have already established that perfect good is true happiness; therefore it follows that true happiness has its dwelling in the most high God....and surely there can be nothing better by nature than its source; therefore, i may conclude with certainty that whatever is the source of all things must be, in its substance, the highest men become just by acquiring integrity, and wise by acquiring wisdom, so they must in a similar way become gods by acquiring divinity. Thus everyone who is happy is a god and, although it is true that God is one by nature, still there may be many gods by participation."

Later on in the book, Lady Philosophy has presented her case that good is for our happiness and the misfortune that visits us has value in that it reminds us to live right and seek the good, "A wise man ought not to regret his struggles with fortune any more than a brave soldier should be intimidated by the noise of battle; for difficulty is the natural lot of can make of your fortune what you will; for any fortune which seems difficult either tests virtue or corrects and punishes vice."

Later still she continues her advice on how one might best pursue success and happiness in life, "...all things strive to attain the supreme good as their end or goal....All those then who fix their desires on God aspire to true happiness by seeking it at its source."

The Tenth Man: The Great Joke
The Tenth Man: The Great Joke
by Wu Wei Wei
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.85
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Joke is on you. [and on 'me', too], January 16, 2014
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Among the most well known teaching stories in Eastern Wisdom is the story of the 10th man: A group of 10 simple fellows are traveling together and after fording a river they seek to confirm all are still present. Several of them do a count but each forgets to count himself...

We do forget ourselves or the Self. We believe in a world and other people 'out there' while all the time they would not appear at all without the observer here. Who is here? The 10th man. Focusing here at the present source of all thought and cognition we are at the true center of the universe. Not in the sense of a person here among other people but in the sense that our true identity is the awareness/space where all and everything can happen and appear or disappear. So the joke is our belief in the 10th man. We count him and believe wrongly in his existence. In reality there is no one here.

Wei Wu Wei [Terrance J. S. Gray, 1895-1986] wrote a lot about nothing. He was a very productive producer of books in the general field of Taoism, Buddhism, and Vedanta. But he cared nothing for labels of any kind and simply sought truth while realizing all along there is no one really here to comprehend 'truth,' much less put it into words. So why write? Why does the wind blow and the sun shine? Nature just does what it chooses to do.

In this wise book he writes, "It is only with total humility, and in absolute stillness of mind that we can know what indeed we are."

"We are the nature of the cosmos, and it has no other. There is nothing religious about the cosmos, because there is nothing religious about what we are."

"I have only one object in writing books: to demonstrate that there could not be anyone to do it. As long as there is a 'you' doing or not-doing, thinking or not thinking, meditating or not-meditating, you are no closer to home than the day you were born."

"Form or appearing is a functioning...whereby 'mind' objectifies itself by means of subjective and objective alternation. Basically there is only perceiving and cognising, which are this 'functioning' which is all that we can be said to be."

Wei Wu Wei was a fine educated gentleman, world-traveler, mystic, philosopher, poet, writer. He quotes from a variety of great sources but primarily draws words of wisdom from his own seemingly bottomless well. I have read elsewhere that he traveled to Arunachala to see the great sage, Ramana Maharshi. Ramana was a wise master and always spoke to visitors in a way they could relate to and understand. He encouraged everyone to follow the path that appears to them while also seeking the Self within and always asking, "who am I?" In this very excellent book Wei Wu Wei quotes Ramana, "There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free-will, neither path nor achievement: this is the final truth."

Centenary Souvenir Commemorating the Advent of Bhagavan Sri Ramana at Arunachala
Centenary Souvenir Commemorating the Advent of Bhagavan Sri Ramana at Arunachala
by Sri Ramana Maharshi
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great book! The next best thing to having been there., January 9, 2014
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I recently learned of this great book's existence. It is conveniently available through Amazon via a third-party seller that ships it direct from India. It is available as a limited edition--only 2000 copies were printed. It was published on the occasion of the centenary celebration [1996] of the boy Ramana's arrival at the holy mountain. He never again left the immediate vicinity of Arunachala but, though he never sought fame, the world 'beat a path to his door.' So now his fame and message continue to grow and spread all over the world. Though he achieved MahaSamadhi in 1950, more people visit the ashram now than they did when he was still there in the physical body. I have spoken with several people who have been there. They all enthusiasticly spoke of the special aura and 'spirit' that still exists there today. It seems a fulfillment of the promise he made to a devotee who sorrowfully begged him not to die and leave the people who loved him. Ramana said, "They say that I am dying. But I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here."

I think of this great book as the next best thing to visiting the Ashram itself. Once a devotee commented to Ramana that it was unfortunate that some people would never have the privilige and blessing of being in Ramana's presence. Ramana replied, "That's what books and pictures are for." So here we have a special book detailing his life and teachings and with a number of fine photos in it, too.

There are over 40 short chapters or articles written by a great variety of people who know or knew and loved Ramana. Mostly the writings are collected pieces written decades ago by a variety of notable people. For example:

G. V. Subbaramayya, "Indeed Sri Ramana was Arunachala's Self in human shape incarnate; and Arunachala is Sri Ramana himself in mountain-mould. In essence both Sri Ramana and Arunachala are one and the same--that is, the Supreme Self."

Ramaswami Pillai, "After realizing our real nature, as it is, we are in an infinitely better and more advantageous position to lead a pure and peaceful life, simple and blessed in every way in every sense. We see things as they really are, one united undivided whole, not separate as individuals as they appeared before."

A. C. W., "Though Bhagavan constantly reminds us to go beyond form, I find that in coming to the Ashram, there is a sense of coming to the very heart of Him. Every moment that is passed in this awareness, every step trodden on the holy ground, brings inspiration and an opportunity to awaken."

Nome, "The Maharshi revealed the secret of bliss, the real source of deep, lasting happiness. He showed the source, the nature and experience of happiness to be one and the same...happiness is within. What is within is the Self."

Mouni Sadhu, "When many religions and sects were quarrelling with each other, there was a need for presentation of truth which would transcend all the enclosing walls of particular faiths. This was given by Maharshi. His teachings can be accepted by anyone sincerely seeking God and the light of Maharshi's teachings, the truths contained in the sacred scriptures of every religion can be easily understood...."

The whole amazing story of Ramana and his great liberating message always reminds me of the words from the Bhagavad Gita, "When goodness grows weak, when evil increases, I make myself a body. In every age I come back, to deliver the holy, to destroy the sins of the sinner, and to establish righteousness."


Note: There is another similar book, "Golden Jubilee Souvenir, 1896--1946" available from the online book store at Arunachala Ashrama, New York

Both books are high on my list of favorites and would be of much value to the new inquirer as well as the seasoned devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Message from the Black Swan: A medical doctor's journey to healing Truth through cancer
Message from the Black Swan: A medical doctor's journey to healing Truth through cancer
by Marina Wassermann
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.91
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's good to see your doctor, but healing begins with you., January 8, 2014
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Someone working for the author asked me if i would read and review this book. After taking a quick look at it online i agreed to do so. It appealed to me right away because here we have an MD who is highly skeptical of the very methods she practised and was trained in and she was determined to find a better way. She quickly sensed that her path to healing was going to be found within herself. She sought a state of clarity and connection to the All that she calls love.

The first half of the book follows her adventure in great detail as she learned that she had cancer. At that point she went on a very deep and wide search of the 'alternatives' or uncommon techniques that might help her to fully recover her health. She used a very large number of things including, diet, meditation, body detox, visualization, study, forgiveness of herself and others, the list goes on.

The author describes the very necessary steps that anyone facing any kind of great crisis or serious problem must take. That is first and foremost a total all encompassing honesty and a deep willingness to change. She writes, "How often do we hide or ignore what we feel in our souls, finding thousands of excuses and following standard behavior patterns, because of our fear of seeing the truth and making changes in our lives? ...we feel safe in the prison of our mind and don't want to hear anything that could shake our convictions....the symbol of the black swan suggested that what seemed impossible for the logical mind can be possible if you believe in it, listen to your inner self, and follow your heart....and finally the answer to my questions about love just came to me and it was...WOW...."

In the second half of the book she then goes more deeply into a variety of things one might investigate and act upon on the road to self-healing. I believe her ideas are based on the 'healing power of the mind' philosophies of people like Caroline Myss, Deepak Chopra, and Wayne Dyer. These are writers i've read a good bit of and i do think they have much to tell that could help one to fully heal and/or deal with a seemingly impossible situation. She also mentions a number of other healers and metaphysicians that i am not familiar with.

Whether it be cancer or any other trauma of body or mind or spirit, i think a reader could find lots of insight and encouragement in this book. In fact, i believe if someone truly reached the levels of inner awareness and purification she recommends, the final outcome of what happens to the body would no longer be as important as we first thought. That is to say if one truly reached that deep connection with the true Self, one would see that the Spirit (Consciousness) is what we really are and that nothing worth worrying about could ever damage that or change it at all.

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