WELCOME TO TORAH-VEDA

Torah and Veda are two ancient sources of spirituality still vibrant today. Torah is conveyed through the sacred language of Hebrew and Veda is conveyed through the sacred language of Sanskrit. The focus here is on meditation, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and the underlying spirituality that has been incorporated into religions, and not as much on the religions themselves. Your comments and posts are welcome.

Torah-Veda
An Interspiritual Journey
Find Your Inspiration and Follow It



Quote of the Week 378 - Core Teaching of Buddhism


The core teaching of Buddhism is to help people become less self-centered and learn how to give love to others.


--Lama Surya Dass, as quoted in Spirituality and Health magazine, September/October 2017 issue

CURRENT TEACHING SESSIONS

I will be making a presentation at the Atlanta Southeast Limmud this Labor Day weekend, with the following title:

Job’s Second Daughters and the Kabbalah of the Unicorn.

There has been much existential hand-wringing discussion over the centuries about the Book of Job. However, there has been little focus on the significance of the concluding verses and his second set of daughters. Come explore these interesting passages and the mystical significance of how one daughter’s name relates to a single-horned creature, sometimes associated with a unicorn.



Interfaith/Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Groups

Please check out the following, which is an ongoing activity that may be of interest:


http://www.interfaithci.org/contemplative.html


Or


http://www.neshamainterfaithcenter.org/specialevents/#contemplation










Monday, June 2, 2008

Spiritual Connections: Yoga and Judaism

[The following is an article originally created for Aquarius Magazine, published in their June 2008 issue]

Spiritual Connections: Yoga and Judaism
By Steven J. Gold

There has been a growing recognition in our culture of a distinction between spirituality and religion. Recent polls indicate that there is a sizeable segment of our population who acknowledge that they are “spiritual”, but not necessarily religious. I jumped on that bandwagon a long time ago, and have been merrily riding on it ever since. I have sought out spiritual elements from many sources, but I have had a particular focus on the equally ancient traditions of yoga and Judaism, from which have sprung forth many of the world’s other spiritual and religious traditions. Just as there is much more to yoga than the common conception of a system of physical exercises, there is also much more to Judaism than just a religion practiced by a small minority of the world’s population.

A close inspection and understanding of the texts and teachings from both traditions yields an incredible amount of commonalties and connections. The common conception of the story involving the much-maligned serpent in the Garden of Eden can be seen in a different light when the insights of yogic mysticism are applied. This serpent is representative of the Kundalini serpent-power described in yoga, whose energy and activity is essential for the existence of life as we know it. Adam and Eve were not intended to remain in the Garden. The serpent served as the instrument to get them out and get on with life. The exchange between Moses and Pharaoh was a confrontation between this serpent power properly employed in the service of the Divine, as depicted by Moses’ walking stick/staff turning into a serpent at his beck and call, versus the serpent power gone astray, placed on a pedestal and idolized as the headdress of Pharaoh, regarded as a flesh and blood God on earth, beholden to no superior power. Yoga and Judaism both teach that the purpose and goal of life is to yoke (same root as “yoga”) our inner power potential in service for the good of humankind, and to never forget its ultimate Source beyond all image, manifestation and understanding, to which we should surrender in awestruck praise and gratitude.

The book of Genesis in the Bible describes a river flowing out of the Garden of Eden and dividing into four major tributaries, one of them named the “Pishon”, which surrounded the land of “Havilah”, containing “good gold” and the “shoham stone”. Some Jewish commentators maintain that the “Pishon” is the Ganges and “Havilah” is India, to which the Bible pays homage by referring to it as the land containing “good gold”. Later on in the Bible, in the book of Exodus, these same mysterious “shoham stones” (which I believe are likely “Shiva lingams” described in the yoga tradition) are incorporated prominently in the vestments and breast plate of the Jewish High Priest.

Many are familiar with the Biblical story of Abraham and his two prominent sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Abraham is considered the originator of the Arab race through the lineage of his first-born son, Ishmael, and is also considered the first Jew and first Patriarch in the Jewish tradition, generated through his second son, Isaac. However, there is also a lesser-known story contained in the Bible about six more sons of Abraham born later in his life, whom he sent away to the East bearing his “gifts”. Some Jewish commentators maintain that these six sons sojourned to India, and the “gifts” they bore were mystical gifts for spiritual development and meditation. In India, they became what the yoga tradition refers to as the ancient Rishis, the originators of the Vedas and Eastern meditation practices and yoga. Proponents of the yoga tradition maintain that such practices originated in India and emanated out from there. And even the Bible acknowledges that Abraham was born somewhere East from the land of Palestine, to which he journeyed in his early adulthood. It was in the Eastern land of his birth that he received his basic revelation of an ultimate Divine unity underlying the diversity of manifest life, consistent with the teachings of Indian yoga and Vedanta.

It is quite clear in reviewing the writings of mystics from yoga, Judaism, and other varied traditions across all times and cultures, that there is a fundamental common recognition of this underlying unified Source of All. The distinctions and difference arise on more external, emotional and intellectual levels, all of which fall away as the realm of pure unadulterated Spirit is approached.

Bio

Steven J. Gold is author of the book, Yoga and Judaism (sub-titled Om Shalom: Explorations of a Jewish Yogi) available at http:/stores.lulu.com/yajc, and at major online retailers. Author’s blog: http://yajcenter.blogspot.com.

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