Yama is the name of the Hindu god of Death as well as a name for Dharma, which is a Sanskrit word that may be translated as doing what one is allotted to do. It can also mean following the Still Small Voice instead of the loud urgings of the ego. Yama has said in my book, The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death that he comes as Death when we do not listen to him as Dharma. When we are following him as Dharma, there exists no Death for we are in the Eternal Flow of Creation. Yama came to me after a dream that turned into a poem and then into the book. Yama is not a channeled entity. Yama is only a point of focus in the ocean of inspiration. I am fully conscious, and there exists no separation between Yama and me.
You will find excerpts from the book. And then there are post-book writings. In these essays/stories/teachings, I use the term disciple to indicate that I am speaking, for I seek to know the truth of who I am. For without knowing who I am, all is filtered through that ignorance. I wrote it in the format of a play. Why? Because it is a play. A Divine Play, or Leela in Sanscrit.
In the spring of 2000 I had a dream. I have many dreams that I recall, and many of them I find insightful, inspiring and sometimes life-changing. This dream arose most vividly, a dream of death in the shape of a woman holding the rotting head of a child—her child—demanding attention. I awoke, not disturbed, but profoundly moved. Maintaining the Silence of my Being I immediately wrote a poem about it, which subsequently inspired the beginning of this book.
As with many poems I write, new insights arise as they take me to that Secret Place beyond the linear reasoning of the day-conscious mind. After writing the poem new images arose in my imagination. I took them into my meditation, and after abiding in the Silence of Being, the idea emerged that a book was to be born from the dream. It was to be titled, The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death.
I felt thrilled at the idea. Yet no clear image about the book’s content came forth. It was just a notion, similar to looking at a faint star. If I gazed at it directly, the book disappeared; yet if I sensed it out of the corner of my eye, with peripheral vision, the sense of the book would shyly reveal itself.
It revealed that I was just to write about what I love to talk about, what is only worth talking about: the Quest for Truth and how to go beyond the reach of Death; to bring forth the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, A Course in Miracles, and other non-dualistic teachings in a fun story form, that was clear and poetic; to write for myself, to have fun, and not to worry about what others may think. And to give up any concern about whether the ideas in the book were valid or not for those who might read it.
It has been the easiest writing I have ever done. Whenever time permitted, or when I made time, the words simply flowed. What I wrote would often parallel what was happening in my waking life, giving me guidance and insights, encouraging me along the way.
Like a dream this book is a collection of actual personal experiences (whether in waking or dreaming consciousness), imagination, and stories and teachings of others that have become a part of how I express myself in the world. Many of the stories readers will recognize, despite my elaborations, with various ones coming from Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The teachings and teachers who have influenced me and thus this book have been, beyond the aforementioned Ramana and A Course in Miracles, to mention a few, are Joytish Harish and his teachings on the Leela game, The Impersonal Life, Karunamayi, Nisargadatta, Rumi, The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Rudolf Steiner, and his Waldorf education, the Buddha, and Life itself. As I have been synthesizing Eastern and Western teachings with my own experiences and realizations, along with this particular time and space I was born into as an American in the 21st century, so do the teachings of Yama reflect this.
The Teachings of Yama
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