We have subscribed to a newsletter of “Blue Mountain Center of Meditation” which is established by Sri Eknath Easwaran. He was a professor of English Literature in India and came to University of California, Berkeley in 1968 on Fulbright Scholarship. Subsequently he established “Nilgiri Meditation Center”, which then took its English translation, “Blue Mountain Center of Meditation”. His Eight Point Meditation technique is a powerful one as experienced by many of his disciples and followers. As I understand from the newsletter, it consists of meditating on a powerful passage which inspires and motivates us towards divinity by eliminating the base nature.
What impressed us very much is the simplicity of his articles – his examples are simple and similies are very apt. It is very encouraging to read the spiritual experiences of several people who have benefitted from following his meditation technique. In the recent newsletter (which we received a week back), Sri Eknath Easwaran wrote about the significance of “The Prayer of St Francis” and it touched me very deeply. Hence, I want to share with you some details about St Francis and his prayer.
Francis Bernardone was his earlier name. Born into a prosperous family in Assisi towards the end of 12th century, he grew up to be an ambitious and dreamy young man – like all others. His passionate ambition was to form his own band and sing beautiful ballads to his lover. One day he happened to enter a little church called “San Damiano”. Here, his inner voice called out to him and his material, mundane and superficial existence has dissolved and his divine nature shone through. To quote Ramachairtmanas, whoever has the grace of the merciful lord, Rama, can escape this Maya and feel the divine presence in and around him. This was the case with the young Francis. He left his wealth and became a poor wandering monk. He realised God within and it is said that he is the friend of the animals – so compassionate and loving. It is through this divine saint, that this wonderful prayer has comeforth.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.