Web Resources

Top Ten Articles at OCOY.org

What pages are the most read on OCOY.org and the Light of the Spirit Blog? Read on, and explore more besides. There are hundreds of blog posts, as well as ebooks and more. And with spiritual writings, they never get out-of-date or loose their value:

  1. Twelve Pointers For Maintaining Brahmacharya
  2. May a Christian Believe in Reincarnation?
  3. How to Choose Your Spiritual Name
  4. The Christ of India
  5. A Brief Sanskrit Glossary
  6. Humans: Are We Carnivores or Vegetarians by Nature?
  7. The Many Advantages of Vegetarianism
  8. Esoteric Christian Beliefs
  9. Yogis Who Saw Jesus
  10. Unknown Life of Jesus Christ

 

 

19 Exceptional Web Resources for Spiritually Minded People

by:
April 12, 2012

The Bookworm-by Carl SpitzwegAn essential part of spirituality is conscious growth and evolution. And an important aspect of growth is the willingness, even a thirst, for learning: what works, what doesn’t work; what helps and what hinders our spiritual life. We can learn from the wise, who have cut paths through the dense forest of ignorance, or who have successfully followed those paths, and make our sojourn easier and more effective.

The Internet is a vast sea of information, and finding what you need to know can be a time-consuming project. Especially when it comes to locating spiritual resources, separating the good from the mediocre and useless can be a frustrating undertaking. So we have put together a list of what we have found to be extraordinary web sites of wisdom which will be a help to anyone striving to grow spiritually.

This site is a freely available archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics, with over 1400 books online. You will find an impressive array of the principal text for the various religious traditions, both mainstream and obscure.

The External Links section for the Bhagavad Gita has links to 10 online translations of the Gita, as well as several commentaries, as well as audio versions of the Gita.  (The External Links section at the bottom of any Wikipedia article can be a treasure trove of resource material if you are looking up a spiritual subject.)

This extensive library contains texts of the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, Shankara’s writings and much more. There is also a considerable library of some of India’s prime religious texts.

Like the Celextel Library, this site has links to translations of the principle scriptures of Indian spiritual thought.

Swami Vivekananda is regarded as the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, and was one of the first to make the spiritual wisdom of India well known in the West. WikiSource has now made available the ten printed volumes of Swami Vivekananda’s writings, lectures, and letters.

Access to Insight has English translations of many of the most important sections of the Pali Canon, as well as books, essays, sutta commentaries, and study guides to Theravada Buddhism. It includes a large section of useful writings by the Venerable Thanissaro Bhikkhu, renowned author and monk of the Thai Forest tradition, and dhamma talks by Ajaan Chah, one of the great modern saints of Thailand.

Another site with great resources Theravada Buddhism is Dhamma Talks, with articles in English and also a good number of other languages by some of the most renowned figures in contemporary Theravada Buddhism.

This is a site dedicated to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, with multiple translations of the Sutras into English, as well as in a surprising number of other languages–a very helpful resource for serious students of yoga.

Paramhansa Yogananda’s classic Autobiography has been the catalyst for spiritual awakening for tens of thousands of people. The original, unedited edition is now available online at the website of Ananda Village. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in spiritual life.

For any student of the Bible, this is a remarkable resource: a searchable online Bible in over 50 versions in numerous languages, with both old and contemporary translatons, including both text and audio versions of some of the translations.

The Society founded by the great Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh has a website full of useful information for spiritual aspirants. Includes spiritual instructions and discourses, as well as a large number of free eBooks by Swami Sivananda. The site also has photos, audio, and videos of this remarkable spiritual giant.

On this page, you can listen to Sanskrit chanting and recitation with English translations for some of the most powerful, holy, and ancient spiritual scriptures from India, including Bhagavad Gita, Shiva Sutras, Spanda Karikas, Bhaja Govindam, Pratyabhijanhrdayam, and more.

Last but not least, we have endeavored to make our own website into a spiritual resource, with features including A Brief Sanskrit Glossary , a Downloads page with a dozen PDF eBooks, and many more website articles, including commentaries on the scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Taoism.

Alas, not all spiritual resources are on the web. To see what we consider the best spiritual reading in print, read our article, A Yogi’s Recommended Reading List.

Meditation and Longevity: New Discoveries

by:
January 26, 2011

Meditation and LongevityLast December in its Healthland section on the web, Time Magazine published an interesting article entitled “Explaining Why Meditators May Live Longer” by Maia Szalavitz. Below we excerpt some of the more interesting sections of the article:

“The image of the ancient but youthful-looking sage meditating on a mountaintop might be closer to reality than you think, according to a new study that found that after a three-month stay at a meditation retreat, people showed higher levels of an enzyme associated with longevity.

…Researchers led by Tonya Jacobs of the University of California-Davis compared 30 participants at a meditation retreat held at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado with matched controls on a waiting list for the retreat. Participants meditated six hours per day for three months. Their meditation centered on mindfulness — for instance, focusing solely on breathing, in the moment — and on lovingkindness and enhancing compassion towards others.

After the three-month intervention, researchers found that the meditators had on average about 30% more activity of the enzyme telomerase than the controls did. Telomerase is responsible for repairing telomeres, the structures located on the ends chromosomes, which, like the plastic aglets at the tips of shoelaces, prevent the chromosome from unraveling. Each time a cell reproduces, its telomeres become shorter and less effective at protecting the chromosome — this, researchers believe, is a cause of aging. As the chromosome becomes more and more vulnerable, cell copying becomes sloppier and eventually stops when the telomeres disintegrate completely. Telomerase can mitigate — and possibly stop — cell aging.

“Something about being on a retreat for three months changed the [amount of] telomerase in the retreat group,” says Elizabeth Blackburn, a study author who has won a Nobel Prize for her previous work on telomerase…. “A lot of things happened during the retreat. But the interesting thing was that the changes we saw tracked quantifiably with the change in people’s psychological well-being and outlook.”

In other words, people with higher levels of telomerase also showed more increases in psychological improvement.

…”It’s a very good study with interesting results in terms of health implications,” says Alan Marlatt, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington who has studied meditation for decades but was not associated with this research.

…In a study published a few years ago in Lancet Oncology, researchers compared 30 men before and after adopting lifestyle changes following a diagnosis of low-risk prostate cancer. The patients started meditating, switched to a healthy plant-based diet, exercised and attended a support group. Like the new study, the Lancet Oncology paper found increases in telomerase linked with reduced psychological distress.”

Read the original article here.

While, of course, this is not the purpose of meditation, it is interesting to note that the quest for the Divine has its positive side effects.

Proofs of Reincarnation

by:
November 3, 2008

Victor Zammit
Victor Zammit

One of the most impressive collections of information about the afterlife we have come across on the web is on the website of Victor Zammit. He has written a book entitled A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife. One of the online chapters is dedicated to the scientific inquiries into reincarnation. In it he gives fascinating data gleaned from the thorough investigations of leading researchers. Below is a short segment from that chapter.

Of the research I have done over the years, the most impressive hypnotherapist I have come across in showing how past life regression is linked with reincarnation is psychologist and former skeptic Peter Ramster from Sydney, Australia.

The following information is taken from Peter Ramster’s very important book, In Search of Lives Past (1990) and from a speech he gave to the Australian Hypnotherapists ninth National Convention at the Sydney Sheraton Wentworth Hotel on the 27th March, 1994 and from the films he made on reincarnation.

In 1983 he produced a stunning television documentary in which four women from Sydney, who had never been out of Australia, gave details under hypnosis of their past lives. Then, accompanied by television cameras and independent witnesses, they were taken to the other side of the world.

One of the subjects involved was Gwen MacDonald, a staunch skeptic before her regression. She remembered a life in Somerset between 1765-82. Many facts about her life in Somerset which would be impossible to get out of a book were confirmed in front of witnesses when she was taken there:

  • when taken blindfolded to the area in Somerset she knew her way around perfectly although she had never been out of Australia
  • she was able to correctly point out in three directions the location of villages she had known
  • she was able to direct the film crew as to the best ways to go far better than the maps
  • she knew the location of a waterfall and the place where stepping stones had been. The locals confirmed that the stepping stones had been removed about 40 years before
  • she pointed out an intersection where she claimed that there had been five houses. Enquiries proved that this was correct and that the houses had been torn down 30 years before and that one of the houses had been a ‘cider house’ as she claimed
  • she knew correctly names of villages as they were 200 years ago even though on modern maps they do not exist or their names have been changed
  • the people she claimed that she knew were found to have existed?one was listed in the records of the regiment she claimed he belonged to
  • she knew in detail of local legends which were confirmed by Somerset historians
  • she used correctly obscure obsolete west country words no longer in use, no longer even in dictionaries, words like ‘tallet’ meaning a loft
  • she knew that the local people called Glastonbury Abbey ‘St Michaels’—a fact that was only proved by reading an obscure 200 year old history book not available in Australia
  • she was able to correctly describe the way a group of Druids filed up Glastonbury Hill in a spiral for their spring ritual, a fact unknown to most university historians
  • she knew that there were two pyramids in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey which have long since disappeared
  • she correctly described in Sydney carvings that were found in an obscure old house 20 feet from a stream, in the middle of five houses about one and a half miles from Glastonbury Abbey
  • she had been able to draw in detail in Sydney the interior of her Glastonbury house which was found to be totally correct
  • she described an inn that was on the way to the house. It was found to be there
  • she was able to lead the team direct to the house which is now a chicken shed. No-one knew what was on the floor until it was cleaned. However on the floor they found the stone that she had drawn in Sydney
  • the locals would come in every night to quiz her on local history?she knew the answers to all the questions they were asking such as the local problem which was a big bog—cattle were being lost there.

Cynthia Henderson, another subject of Peter Ramster, remembered a life during the French Revolution. When under trance she:

  • spoke in French without any trace of an accent
  • understood and answered questions put to her in French
  • used dialect of the time
  • knew the names of streets which had changed and were only discoverable on old maps.

Peter Ramster has many other documented cases of past life regression which in very clear terms constitute technical evidence for the existence of the afterlife.

Read more of Victor Zammit’s page on researches into reincarnation.

The Authentic Christian View on Reincarnation

The Phoenix Rising from the Flames – Symbol of ReincarnationQ: You seem to accept that the Hindu/Buddhist concept of reincarnation is compatible with Christianity. How is this, and how is it that the Chritian churches are apparently ignorant of this dramatic data?

A: Reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu-Buddhist teaching, but has from the beginning been an integral part of Orthodox Judaism. Because this fact would imply that Christ and the Apostles would have held the belief in rebirth as Orthodox Jews, it has become a policy to toss around the red herring of “Hindu-Buddhist” whenever the ignorant have wished to combat the truth of reincarnation. (We met one bishop who thought Edgar Cayce had originated the concept of rebirth and so called all who believed in it “Cayce-ites.” It seems that ignorance compounds itself.)

If you are interested in a historical study of reincarnation in both Judaism and Christianity, I recommend May A Christian Believe In Reincarnation? The British Methodist minister Leslie Weatherhead has also written an article on the subject, but I do not know if it is still in print. I am sure that you could track it down through Interlibrary Loan. There is another book entitled Reincarnation For Christians that you might find significant as well. The three Weatherhead-Cranston anthologies on reincarnation also contain material from Christian writers. Another book is Reincarnation In Christianity by Dr. Geddes MacGregor, who I believe is a Presbyterian.

There is a great difference between what some Christians know and what they say they knows. Some knowledge is simply swept under the convenient carpet of cowardly silence and some is outright denied.

A sad denial

One leading archpriest within a major “canonical” Byzantine Orthodox jurisdiction within this country not only believes in reincarnation, but has engaged for years in research into methods of past-life recall. Our monastery has done research for him on the subject of reincarnation in early Christianity, and that research has been embodied in May A Christian Believe In Reincarnation? I am sorry to tell you that this very priest also publicly denounces reincarnation as incompatible with Orthodox Christianity! This is because of the vicious fear and ignorance which was sanctified and canonized by the Emperor Justinian through his falsification of the decrees of the so-called Fifth Ecumenical Council. (Both Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars have written on the subject of the falsification of the decree, among them being the eminent Catholic-and later Old Catholic-theologian Von Dollinger. A brief discussion is also included in the Nicene Fathers series.)

I well remember discussions with a very learned Greek Orthodox theologian on the subject of reincarnation. Although he knew the truth of the matter, he continually took refuge in the assertion that “at this late date” it would be impossible to speak the truth since it was commonly held that an “infallible” Council had declared the beliefs in pre-existence of the soul and rebirth to be false. (The fact is, reincarnation was not at all mentioned in the interpolated decrees, though pre-existence was.)

Another ploy besides attributing the concept of reincarnation to Hinduism and Buddhism is to attribute it to “the heretic” Origen. This is also quite convenient, as it draws attention from the fact that other Church Fathers also openly taught it.

My favorite comment on the subject of reincarnation is that given by the holy Roman Catholic Capuchin stigmatist-saint, Padre Pio. When one of his spiritual daughters was “told on” for believing in reincarnation, he told her accusers very firmly: “It does not matter what you believe about reincarnation. The only thing that matters is this: Are you seeking for God now?”

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