Andrew Harvey Quote

     "When you wake up to the Divine Consciousness within you and your divine identity, you wake up simultaneously to the Divine Consciousness appearing as all other beings. And this is not poetry and this is not a feeling, this is a direct experience of the divine light living in and as all other beings. And until this realization is firm in you, you do not know who or where you are. You do not know that you are God in disguise, and you do not know that you have been born into a totally sacred, totally holy creation in which all sentient beings from the smallest flea to the largest whale are nothing less than God Herself. And this has to be the core realization for a future humanity, because only from a realization of the divine identity of all things can grow the kind of humility, the kind of tenderness, the kind of wonder, the kind of awe and the kind of respect that are necessary for human beings to live in peace with each other, for human beings to live in balance with their environment, and for human beings really to work with the divine forces of love and knowledge to recreate the world in the image of God." A.H.

Biography and Book Review

Andrew Harvey is a world-renowned scholar and teacher and is the author of over thirty books, including the critically acclaimed Son of Man and Journey to Ladakh, and coauthor of the best selling The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Born in South India in 1952, he studied at Oxford University and became the youngest person ever awarded a fellowship to the prestigious All Souls College. He has devoted the past twenty five years of his life to studying the worldís various mystical traditions, living in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco, and teaching at Oxford, Cornell, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. Andrew Harveyís book The Direct Path-Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the Worldís Mystical Traditions is a guide to practical spirituality which empowers and challenges each of us to take control of our spiritual destinies. It is filled with easy to follow yet profoundly transformative spiritual practices gleaned from the worldís sacred traditions.

Since first discovering Andrew Harveyís Hidden Journey and Journey in Ladakh I have eagerly awaited each of his literary offerings His passion, eloquence, sensitivity, and deep understanding of the worldís mystical traditions transforms whatever his chosen topic into a sumptuous feast for the heart and soul. Reading the first few pages of The Direct Path I was touched to find that among those listed in Harveyís acknowledgments is his cat Purrball. Delving more deeply into The Direct Path I began to realize that I was partaking of the most beautiful and deeply touching commentary on the spiritual significance of animals and nature ever written. If you have hungered as I have for a spiritual path that included the sacred significance of animals and nature, The Direct Path will leave you feeling as if you have come home at last. Not only does Andrew Harvey include the animals in this magnificent yet profoundly user friendly book, but interweaves them passionately throughout. The friendly wisdom of this book will encourages us to claim our own power and possibilities. 

Interview With Oxford Scholar Andrew Harvey

Sharon: I was very shocked and surprised to hear that your beloved cat Purball died suddenly.

Andrew: Yes, she has and it was a very difficult moment, because she really was our tantric temple goddess. As well as our child and our beloved. She was eight years old, but what we discovered is that she had a big heart and that it exploded very fast. But the miracle was that we were able to spend two days with her before she died, and those two days really took place in another dimension of love. It was very holy and very wonderful and very transforming.

Sharon: In my work with animals I see more heart problems all the time that I believe have far more to do with the spiritual heart than the physical heart.

Andrew: Wouldnít surprise me at all. Itís as if, because of their sensitivity they take in our heartlessnessÖare feeling the impact of our massive dereliction of the soul.

Sharon: Absolutely. I just think of them as being incredible warriors.

Andrew: Great warriors, great transmitters of love, very evolved souls. We have a tremendous task. I hear from my friends who are shamanic and who work with native traditions that all the native traditions are agreed that the animals now are trying to break through to human beings, trying to teach them. And I very much felt that with Purr Ball, she was very much a teacher to me, a very great teacher. Well, I think that animals are much more aware of interdependence and the psychic realities than we are, don't you?

Sharon: Absolutely they are.

Andrew: Many things we have to learn from them. They have a natural sensitivity to the divine.

Sharon: One of the questions I wanted to ask you that just came from my reading of The Direct Path was if you had ever contemplated writing a book on the spiritual significance of animals?

Andrew: I would love to, and itís something thatís coming to mind more and more and more. I want to have a deeper relationship, even, than I had with Purball and I have two new kittens. One called Princess, and one called Puli which is Tamil for Tigress. And what Iím thinking of doing for Sounds True, is a tape on the mystic significance of cats. 

Sharon: That would be so wonderful.

Andrew: And bringing in all of the amazing stories because Mohammed had a cat whom he loved. Rumi had a cat. Do you know what happened to Rumiís cat?

Sharon: No, Iím not familiar with that story.

Andrew: This is amazing. When Rumi was dying, the cat was howling and jumping around. And then when Rumi died, it starved itself to death and it died a week after. And the daughter of Rumi, said ďRumi so loved creatures that he would want the cat to be buried next to him.Ē So his cat lies in perpetual splendor with him.

Sharon: Oh, how absolutely wonderful.

Andrew: Isnít that wonderful? Have you read Bonaventureís wonderful biography of St. Francis?

Sharon: Not for many years.

Andrew: That is an absolute minefield of glorious stories about animals. St. Francis had a very comprehensive, and I think completely awake relationship with animals. And there are the most extraordinary stories all throughout and the most beautiful statements, too, about his relationship with animals and nature. He is, in the western tradition, quite clearly the key.

Sharon: When I read your wonderful new book The Direct Path, my instinct was that you would write something about animals because what you said in The Direct Path about nature and animals and about Purr Ball was so much more beautifully put than anything Iíve ever read anywhere. It just seems like itís part of your calling.

Andrew: Well, I think it really is. And Iíve been thinking about it ever since my love for Purr Ball started to flower. I realized that something massive was going on a tremendous, really, a very great initiation. She brought me the Mother. She was the Mother. And she initiated me into this tremendous heart-love for all animals and the knowledge of them as sacred and one with me and one with all of life that I never really had before. Iíd always imagined it, but to experience it is so different from imagining it. Itís such a revelation. And with the revelation comes such grieving, such enormous sorrow at what we have done to the animals. Really, a terrible rending sorrow.

Sharon: But we must face that sorrow mustn't we - to make a change?

Andrew: We must face the sorrow. It is essential.

Sharon: At one of our early conferences on animals and spirituality Dr. Michael Fox came and gave a talk. He gave an absolutely beautiful presentation, part of which was showing some video footage of suffering animals in India. I was rather distressed to find that many people got up and left the room and afterwards complained that we shouldnít show such a things. But my feeling has always been if we canít look at it, we canít change it.

Andrew: Absolutely. I think Jane Goodall has the same problem when she goes around because some of her slides are very graphic. But we have to face what weíre doing to animals in laboratories, what weíre doing to animals by burning down the forest, what weíre doing to animals by polluting the seas, what weíre doing to animals by torturing them in cosmetic laboratories, what weíre doing to animals by slaughtering them. I mean, the whole world is nothing less than a massive Auschwitz for all kinds of animals. And we are the drunken, careless, hysterical, crazy, cruel commandants of that Auschwitz. And until we face that it is an Auschwitz and that weíre responsible, that weíre doing untold miserable horror, how can we change it?

Sharon: Yes, my feelings exactly!

Andrew: All of the religions are responsible, too, because in almost all of them you find the most ridiculous, obscene remarks about animals embedded in some of the holiest texts. And this has all got to change very fast because we have absolutely no hope of either human balance or ecological balance without it. Because if animals arenít different aspects of ourselves, as of course they are, how can we ever really achieve peace within ourselves if we donít achieve peace with them?

Sharon: Absolutely. And donít you think, in a sense, itís the next step of our spiritual evolvement as human beings. We certainly canít just go forward and leave the animals behind?

Andrew: Well, I think, as you see from The Direct Path, I have become aware over the last years of what I call ďthe addiction to transcendence.Ē And I think this has disfigured all of the patriarchal religions and all of the patriarchal mystical traditions all of whom stress leaving this world, getting out of the illusion, transcending this reality to go to some other unspecified reality. I think this is garbage, and wicked garbage because the whole point of being here is to arrive here. And arriving here means taking on the radiant burdens of matter and of life and of time and of relationships. It means nothing less than embracing the Mother aspect of the Divine. And without, really, the profoundest return of the Mother, weíre not going to have the revelation of the sacredness of the Creation and the sacredness of all relationship within the Creation. And thatís why I devote so much of my life to trying, in my own way, to come into connection with this Divine Motherhood of God and also trying to bring in the full range of its passion, its outrage, its revelation.

Sharon: Yes, yes. You seem to be one of the few writers whoís really willing to face it directly and really write about it honestly. And the only thing else Iíve read in the last few years that really touched me was in James Hillmanís book, "The Soul's Code" when he talks about ďgoing downĒÖ

Andrew: Itís an amazing book, and that particular passage I just read it and read it and read it because it seemed that he was saying a truth that no one else is saying. That it is entirely to do with integration and the acceptance of time and working within time and working with other beings. And that means smashing our fantasies of escape.

Sharon: Andrew, would you say something to our readers about the souls of animals?

Andrew: I am absolutely certain that animals have souls. Itís completely obvious to me that each animal has its own personality, has its own spiritual personality, and is in very often far greater natural connection with the Divine than the vast majority of human beings. I think we could very well ask, ďDo human beings have souls?Ē looking around at the madness. Itís obvious that animals have souls. The denial by many of the great religions and mystical systems of the spiritual nature of animals has been, I think, one of the supreme shames of human thought. 

Sharon: Andrew, do you feel as some people do that references to the sacredness of animals and animal souls and so forth were edited out of the spiritual texts?

Andrew: I donít know, but what I am certain of is that wherever there is a case of being Christed, actually achieving Christ Consciousness, what seems to go with it is a massive revelation of the glory and poigniance and spirituality of animals. Isaac of Ninevah, a sixth century Syrian, says that when your heart is opened by the Christ force you have pity of an immense kind for all beings including even the most poisonous reptiles. And of course St. Francis, who I considered to have been a Christed being, shows us that the Christ really wishes us to embrace that animals are sacred. I believe that Jesus himself had a sacred relationship with animals, and perhaps we have a glimpse of this in the donkey that he rode into Jerusalem. Why would he choose not a stallion that would be royal, but a donkey that would seem so normal and humdrum and broken down to his own people unless he was trying to say to them, ďLook, in the ordinary is the totally miraculous.Ē

Sharon: Yes, yes. As a child, I had such an intense relationship with Jesus and always felt instinctively he was as close to animals as any being ever was. Nothing else ever entered my mind.

Andrew: How could he not have been? I believe that Jesus was the figure in all of human history who achieved the marriage between masculine and feminine, heaven and earth, the Motherhood and the Fatherhood of God more intensely and more acutely than anyone else and best himself into total presence and was total love on earth. I donít believe heís the only Son of God, but I do believe that he was and is the ultimate sign of this possibility.

Sharon: Yes. Andrew, could you say a little bit about how our relationship with and treatment of animals relates to our own spirituality?

Andrew: Well, I think Iíd like to start at the highest level. Iíd like to start by quoting to you something that I really love from the Vedanta Upanishad. ďThe Lord of Love, Omnipresent, dwells in the heart of every living creature, all mercy, turning each face to himself. His face is everywhere. He is the bluebird. He is the green bird with red eyes. He is the thundercloud, and he is the seasons and the seas.Ē I think that when you wake up to the Divine Consciousness within you and your divine identity, you wake up simultaneously to the Divine Consciousness appearing as all other beings. And this is not poetry and this is not a feeling, this is a direct experience of the divine light living in and as all other beings. And until this realization is firm in you, you do not know who or where you are. You do not know that you are God in disguise, and you do not know that you have been born into a totally sacred, totally holy creation in which all sentient beings from the smallest flea to the largest whale are nothing less than God herself. And this has to be the core realization for a future humanity, because only from a realization of the divine identity of all things can grow the kind of humility, the kind of tenderness, the kind of wonder, the kind of awe and the kind of respect that are necessary for human beings to live in peace with each other, for human beings to live in balance with their environment, and for human beings really to work with the divine forces of love and knowledge to recreate the world in the image of God.

Sharon: Do you think that we have time to turn things around as far as the environment and the animals and the Earth is concerned? Thereís so much talk about time running out.

Andrew: Well, I do believe that time is running out, and I think itís very important to really shape all beings now who can hear. And really make everybody as aware as possible that reputable scientists, reputable ecologists and engineers and people who are truly experts in ecology are giving the world between 12 and 15 years to make a major decision in every level. Otherwise weíll create an uninhabitable world and insure the destruction of a great deal of nature and of ourselves. I think the facts really speak for themselves and I think that it is time that this is just accepted. So, it all depends now on how seriously we really take this information. Are we going to lapse into a coma? Or are we going to lapse into despair? Or are we going to do what St. Paul asks us to doto follow love into the nightmare and into the dark, and to endure all things and above all to hope all things? I have chosen, and I think a lot of people are choosing now to hope all things, to believe that with divine power and divine grace we can still at this late hour accomplish everything and anything. And I do believe that because I believe in the miracle and I believe in the Divine Mercy. And I believe that if a sufficient number of people really turn towards God now and really set about certain massive political, economic and social changes then all kinds of extraordinary turnarounds are still possible. That if they do not, and we will see this in the next five years, if they do not, there isnít a hope in heaven of not creating the most abysmal situation.

Sharon: So many of the people that I talk to in my work feel so overwhelmed by the world situation that they end up doing nothing. What would you say to the average person? What would be the thing that they could do or the place that they could start?

Andrew: I think the place that they could start is in their own homes, first. If they have a pet, really practice worshipping that pet as a representative of the Divine Mother, honoring it and loving it and really listening to it. That will afford a great initiation in love. Secondly, I think they can start in their own communities. And a very good place to start is in the pound, to go and visit the local pounds. If the conditions arenít good, make a fuss. If they donít have enough money, give them some money. If there are things that you can do for these abandoned and abused animals, give time to them so that you can really savor the joy of being with animals and helping animals. And thirdly, I think everybody needs to look at their eating habits. And everybody needs to decide not to eat meat or only eat meat in exceptional circumstances and really honor the animal world by so doing and therefore breaking down the kinds of corporations that keep alive on the killing of animals. Fourthly, I think people should really take seriously an investigation to try and find out if the products they are using are in any way influenced by torture of animals. If the cosmetic companies say that they are using animals in their laboratories, then absolutely boycott all goods that come from them or write to them and say that this is a disgrace and an abomination and must stop. Fifthly, I think anybody who now can buy any animal product thatís made from the death of animals like furs, for example, is really crazy.

So thereís a great deal that you can do. You can start by adoring your pets at home. You can start by looking at the actual fate of animals in your communities. And then you can look at the kind of products that youíre eating. And then you can really find out if the cosmetic companies you are using are torturing animals. And that, I think, is extremely important on a large scale to make yourself acquainted with the facts of the dissections and the facts of the use of animals in medical experiments. And really to write to your local senator or local congressman that you really wish for a massive investigation of these practices to see if they are useful in any way, to see if they can be superceded by modern techniques and technologies and to make a tremendous to-do about it. Weíre not at all impotent. People have this absurd idea that they are. Think of the new powers opened up by the Internet, for example. And think of the ways that by getting in connection with the various animal organizations on the Internet that you can make a tremendous difference because you can get properly informed and you can start being, allowing with all the other people who feel like yourself.

And eventually I think what we should do is to really make up together, all of us, a charter for animal liberties. And I think we should present this in the name of the animal world to the United Nations. And really get everybody behind it - the Dalai Lama, all of the major spiritual leaders. Get them to agree on ten essential points which really must be put into practice by every civilized nation and every religion. Because itís obscene that animals have no rights. You can torture an animal and nobody will put you in jail for it. Itís ridiculous, itís blasphemous, itís obscene, itís horrific! I think we should take the most sacred document of democracy and translate it all into animal tongues. And actually use some of the formulations of the Declaration, but for the animals.

I think weíll have a fantastic reception because wherever I go and talk about Purr Ball and about animals I find there are hundreds of people who are beginning to have this great experience. For many people, itís their way into a whole new spiritual understanding. And those are the people who are really going to make a differences. We should in the end have a march like the Million Mothers. The Million Animal Lovers. Why not? And everyone can bring their pets and show the world that this cannot go on.

Do you know that Oren Lyonís address to the United Nations in 1977? Where he says, ďI do not see a delegation for the four-footed. I see no seat for the eagle. How crazily arrogant can we be?Ē

Sharon: Yes, I do. Really magnificent.

Andrew:. It must be done in such a way that we really do implicate all the forces that are not doing it. And make it very, very clear that it is simply spiritually and humanly now unacceptable at every conceivable level that these practices continue. And weíve got to insist at the highest levels that these ways of testing get implemented by law, and that nobody should be allowed I mean, this is something thatís so obvious but itís never been stated. But it must be stated in the most forceful imaginable way and we must do so. And I think we should bring together leading spiritual leaders to renounce it. And do a series of events, one in Hollywood, and then others. All of the different worlds involved.

It can be translated to every language. We can make it the focus of all kinds of actions on behalf of animals. Because once itís put into words, into beautiful and breathless words, then it can be printed in magazines. It can be printed in newspapers. It can really go out as a statement of the human relationship to animals. And I think very important to bring in the Native peoples.

Sharon: Thatís a fantastic vision. I can see it happening.

Andrew: Well, weíve got to get out there now. Itís got to become active. Itís got to become real. And weíve got to get more programming on television about it too. I would love to make a set of three or four documentaries on the sacredness of animals.

Sharon: You certainly have a start with The Direct Path. I have read selections from The Direct Path at during several of my presentation and I have used the circle meditation from the book as well.

Andrew: Thank you very much. The Direct Path is an important book, I think, donít you?

Sharon: Itís so important. Just absolutely so important. It empowers people. It contains so many wonderful practices and is so practical.

Andrew: If people have animals that are dying, and are suffering, why not use the practices for dying people on animals. Thatís certainly what I was doing with Purr Ball when she was dying.

Sharon: Much of my own work is with dying animals and with people who have dying animals. And I really feel that one of the greatest gifts that the animals have for us is at the time of their death. If weíre brave enough to stick in there with them, to be with them through their death process we learn so much.

Andrew: Yes, and one of the things that we learn is fearlessness of death. Theyíre not scared. They know that itís part of the unfolding. And they have absolutely no fear. Theyíre extraordinary solicitors of us, I noticed. Theyíre much more concerned about how weíre going to take it than they are about themselves. Itís an extraordinary lesson in fearlessness, a lesson in selflessness and a lesson in true abandon.

Sharon: One other thing I loved so much about The Direct Path is the lovely section in the book on Feng Shui and talking about the importance of an animal in the home, and I wanted to ask you to comment on the value of creating a sacred environment for an animal. I am writing an article on Feng Shui for animalsbecause it occurred to me that few people think of getting down at cat or dogís-eye level and looking at their house. And itís quite a different view.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Sharon: Iíve taken to making little altars and things at catís-eye level, and the cats very much appreciate that. I just wondered what comments you would have on things like sacred music for animals, how theyíd benefit from our creation of a sacred home.

Andrew: Well, first of all, I think that in the new world, if we get there, all homes will be what I call ďtantric temples.Ē And the animal, your pet, should be worshipped as the representative of the creation and as the representative of the Divine Mother. So they are at the very center of the mandala of the home. And anything that you can do to make them happy, making special altars for them or finding out where they most like to rest and be, and making that as comfortable and sacred environment as possible, and playing the kind of music that they love because you can find out very quickly the kind of music your cat loves is all to the good because it only increases their joy. And the deeper and the greater their joy, the happier the home. I think that especially in my experience, cats are extraordinarily sacred. And theyíre very sensitive to when you are in a sacred space. When Iím at my most loving and open and off to meditation, very often, it was when Purrball would suddenly appear and come to me and sit in my lap as if she was seeing whatever was going on in my aura. Iím certain that cats see auras.

Sharon: Yes, this is my experience as well. They absolutely see auras.

Andrew: I believe they must. And they quite clearly see other entities. They see angels. They see spirits. And they react to them. And you can see them chasing them or looking up to them or inspecting them. Itís amazing how weíve ignored this all this time. How can people have been so blind?

Sharon: And I find that animals often are aware of what Iíve termed the personís divine blueprint. And that they can often sense when the person is out of alignment with that divine imprint. Itís a very, very profound thing.

Andrew: Well, I believe that because animals through their great power of love come into a profound psychological and spiritual union with those whom they love. And that isnít just a dependent relationship, itís a visionary relationship. I found with Purr Ball that she became, in a sense, the guardian of my deepest self. And she loved me because of what she saw in me, but she also helped me grow that faculty. And she and I grew together in our growing of it, because human beings have a great conscious love to give to animals which help animals themselves develop their own powers. Itís a mutual feeding. Think of it, weíre invited to this creation as to a great feast. And our partners at the feast are the animal creation. And unless we learn how to respect and honor their extraordinary powers and to see that theyíre already at the feast and to want to sit down at the feast with them how will we ever, ever get to the feast?

Sharon: Well, we wonít, will we?

Andrew: No, and we wonít have this sublime experience of adoration and protection.

Sharon: Andrew, if youíre comfortable doing so, would you say a little bit more about your experience when Purr Ball died?

Andrew: Yes, I would love to share the experience with others. First of all when we came to understand that she was dying, she was very, very calm and incredibly loving. And during the last hours, really all that she wanted to do was to exchange love. It was as if she had refined her whole being to the point of being pure love. In fact the last thing that she did with her last energy was to reach to Eryk, who was holding her, with her paw as if to touch him. And that was so symbolic of everything of her nature, this amazing nature which she had which was serene and profoundly tender and so sweet and so soft and so strongly soft. I think that the great revelations really came after she died because I was plunged into very deep grief because I realized that I would never have such a profound and transparent relationship with anything as Iíve had with her. And I realized, too, how absolutely I had loved her and how absolutely she had loved me. But something very strange happened then which is that in the very depth of the grief, in the very intensity of the absence, came a presence and a joy greater even than anything that had been there when she was alive. Itís as if the love that youíve experienced when your pet is alive I hate the word ďpetĒwhen your friend is alive, this loving animal friend is alive, is the beginning of an intense inward love that goes on beyond space and beyond time. And I feel I know that she and I will always be one with each other in all of our different incarnations. She is no longer separate from me. I feel as if sheís living in the very heart of my heart. And whenever I think of her, the flame inside my heart lights up and I know that she and divine love and my love for her and her love for me are now one beyond space and time. And thereís nothing that can defeat this love. And the gift that she came to give me which was all this love has been given. Itís as if she had a task to love. I hoped to realize that task by loving her, and she gave me this great initiation into this divine love. And she left at the moment when it was complete, and at the moment when into the tremendous hole left by her absence, the Divine could pour deeper and deeper revelations from this love. And Iím sure that they will go unfolding for a very long time I feel that she was a mystical being, you see. Tremendously initiated already and very, very wise who totally loved me and from that love gave me an initiation which cannot help going on whether sheís in the body or not. A. We have her buried in the garden. We buried her on rose petals. We took all the roses in our garden and broke them into petals and she rests on rose petals.

Sharon: The ďRose of Glory.Ē

Andrew: Yes, The Rose of Glory. And she has a Chinese ideogram on her grave that means ďEternal Friendship. We now have two little kittens because weíve taken them in. And I look at them all the time as her daughters, as emanations of her.

Sharon: Of course they are!

Andrew: They are. Because she, to me, is the great Cat Mother and they are her daughters and Iím going to love them in her and for her and (at/after?) Princess is like her mother, Purr Ball, serene and languorous and tender and Pule is a wild thing who also has an exquisitely sweet and baby-like joy. They are the most extraordinary creatures. But itís so strange. It wasnít an ordinary relationship. Even an extraordinary relationship with a friend, I donít think apart from Eryk, my husband, I donít think Iíve ever loved anyone as much as I loved her. Nor been loved as completely. And I think that if I was to die now or tomorrow, I would through Eryk and Purrball have known divine love on the Earth. And I think that many, many human beings have this experience but donít articulate it because theyíre scared of rejection from others and theyíre scared of being thought of being crazy or animal-crazy. And itís time that all of those beings who have had this initiation speak out because here we are surrounded by the greatest imaginable and humblest teachers because theyíre not asking us to pay thousands of dollars for intensives and to take Sanskrit names and to obey their crazy injunctions. Theyíre just being pure love which is the highest state.

Sharon: Thatís why I felt it was so important to do these interviews that if by example I could have a number of prominent people from different fields, people who are well-respected and well thought of, really speak out about animals then maybe other people will feel comfortable doing the same.

Andrew: I feel thatís very important. Itís very important in the spiritual movement because again itís so anthropomorphic, isnít it?

Sharon: Yes, it is.

Andrew: Fundamentally, most people get their highest teachings from Buddhism and Hinduism. And Buddhism and Hinduism, although classic Hinduism doesnít have it, but they in practice been very obsessed with the human consciousness. And of course Christianity has developed and just has created a tremendous ignorance about the spiritual presence in animals. They go to the position where they says things like animals have no emotions, which is fantastic rubbish. Well, itís worse than rubbish. Itís really kind of blasphemy.

Sharon: Still somehow like you I donít despair. I have hope that lots is going to change.

Andrew: Anything is now possible. We must hope for everything. I think that in a truly dangerous time, despair is a luxury we cannot afford. We have to attend with our whole being towards the light, towards joy, towards inspiration and towards grace and make of every moment of our lives an offering for a possible future.

Sharon: Yes. One of the interesting things about the interviews is that there hasnít been even one person who hasnít been just delighted to share their stories and feelings about animals. So, people really do want to tell their stories.

Andrew: Well, I think that one of the most beautiful things that we could do is to encourage people to send in their stories. If we came ever to write a book on the spiritual significance of animals, then there we would be with these wonderful stories there. And to really ask people to meditate deeply on what theyíve learned, and not just the stories but what really happened to them. Because I think when people plunge consciously into their relationship with their animal friends, theyíll discover all kinds of miracles. Moments when they really, when perception shifted. Moments when they understood that the animals understood them better than they understood the animal. Moments when they felt totally loved and blessed. And really meditating on these moments will reveal a whole possible relationship which weíre just at the beginning of.

Sharon: Exactly. I think itís important to do a book on the spiritual significance of animals and our love for them.

Andrew: Well, youíve convinced me how necessary this is. And I just, I feel overawed by the work of someone like Jane Goodall, for example. I mean there are people who have worked for so much longer with animals in serious scientific ways than I have. But I think that what I can offer is the mystical perspective, and the personal perspective.

Sharon: Yes, I feel it too. What prompted me to contact you is that I feel in some way that writing about animals is part of your calling that the animals want you to do it for them.

Andrew: Oh, I do too. I feel that especially through my relationship with Purrball, that she was really their representative as if she was the ambassador and the sweetest ambassador. The Mother sent perfect, perfectly tailored to break my heart open. And through her and through my love for her all of these comprehensions are coming.

Sharon: Andrew, would you like to say something about your next book?

Andrew: My next book is going to be about South India and the vision of the Divine that that world has given. Itís a vision very much related to what weíre talking about because I believe that South India has really preserved the vision of the sacred marriage the union of masculine and feminine which sanctifies and blesses the Earth and sees and knows the divinity of the Earth. And thatís what Iím trying to restore.

Sharon: Yes, how wonderful.

Andrew: Because I think the more human beings can relate to the idea of this world being the child of the sacred marriage between the Mother and the Father aspects of God, saturated by the juices of their lovemaking, the more we can rejoice in being human, rejoice in the relationships that theyíre given in the Creation. And through the great joy that unfolds through these relationships, do everything in our power to preserve the Creation and honor it and protect it. Because quite clearly weíre not going to protect the Creation if we believe itís an illusion. Unless we see that itís an epiphany of the Divine and that it has unspeakable joys for us to enjoy, how are we going to summon up the kind of sacrificial intelligence that weíre going to need to preserve the planet?

Sharon: Well, it is the issue that needs addressing right now, isnít it?

Andrew: Well, I wish there were more people doing it. Matthew Fox, of course, is doing it. But I feel that so many of the spiritual teachers are really just parroting the old transcendental line and not seeing that itís a very one-sided vision of the truth.

Sharon: I agree.

Andrew: And very male-centered, and itís fundamentally a rather psychotic version. Itís so un-centered in the feminine and so un-acknowledging of the holiness of all things.

Sharon: Thatís right. And really, I donít think that thereís anyone alive that could touch the animal issue the way that you could because, you see, it stirs things in people that they havenít been able to talk about. And your way of writing is so beautifully passionate that I think youíre the one to whom the task has been given. The reason why I didnít do it which is about three months ago was that I didnít know that I was strong enough to face the horror. There is a moment when to do it properly, you also have to face whatís been done to animals. And thereís a part of me, especially now going through Purballís death, which is just reeling at it all.

Sharon: But you know you can.

Andrew: Of course I can. I mean, my God, Iíve faced most other things why not that? And if you canít face that, how can you help?

Sharon: I know that I can, too. Iíve had most of the major tragedies happen like the loss of my only child, but I feel so incredibly blessed at this point of my life in a grace-filled state. I like to inspire people that we can handle it. We can handle anything that life dishes out.

Andrew: Well, I feel certainly that is true. Terrible suffering is an important crucible, isnít it?

Sharon: Yes.

Andrew: It makes you very strong at some level. You realize that the Divine is real and will give you the strength to go through it all. And thatís something that you canít know until youíve done it until itís been done in you rather.

Andrew: In The Direct Path I was trying to get the highest, deepest, most intense, clear vision out of what weíre here for and then give the practices for everybody to get to that then.

Sharon: The practices are just wonderful. Youíve really distilled them down there in a way that is so accessible.

Andrew: Well, they are accessible. Itís just that these wretched mystical systems have been protecting them all these years.

Sharon: Yes.

Andrew: Give them away to the people. People are quite capable of being initiated by the Divine. The Divineís creating five million universes every second. Why canít it initiate us? Why do we need some potbellied old guru to do it for us at the outtake?

Sharon: Thatís right. Well, itís so heartening to me to talk to you. I mean weíre really of like mind.

Andrew: I think the animals brought us together.

Sharon: I do, too. I think Purrball brought us together.

Andrew: And letís do wonders for the animals. Let us help listen to them and ask them to help us because I think if we create a crucible for it, they will help us. I think itís very important to turn to those traditions that have been doing this for centuries and ask them to help.

Andrew: Sharon, thank you so much for you honoring my work and your belief in it. It means a huge amount to somebody who feels as deeply as you do about these things would recognize what Iím trying to say. It means a lot to me.

Andrew: I would love to open a small animal sanctuary. My great love is for cats. Not that I donít love every animal, but I think cats also have a tremendous dark history with human beings. Because they were tortured and broken and beaten, and God knows what, they still are. The whole concept from the very beginning will be the honoring of the animals. So it would be built for them, not for us.

Sharon: Well, thatís what a sanctuary is, isnít it?

Andrew: Exactly, because itís a place in a dangerous world where they would be treated beautifully, allowed to have a life that is theirs. I donít think anything has been done on that level from the very beginning because weíre really talking about a mystical and practical concept.

Sharon: Yes.

Andrew: Weíre talking about a sanctuary which is at once a temple of the Mother, a temple for the worshipping of nature, and a place of healing for human beings who want to work with animals to heal their own divisions and to be initiated by the animals. So, everybody who goes there is going there in a spiritual prayer. And weíll get old tigers from circuses and lions and baby cats of all kinds. It will be a sanctuary which is a temple dedicated to cats, and dedicated to abused cats and so we can take all the abused cats from all areas and really honor them. Oh my God, I canít think of anything more wonderful. Even if itís a small sanctuary, the fact that it exists will be an inspiration to other sanctuaries.

Sharon:. And Purrball, Iím sure, will oversee it all. I have this vision of her up there with a little notepad. Sheís taking notes.

Andrew: Taking notes lying on her back, I should think - In that relaxed pose of the enlightened. Knowing that all will unfold. I suspect sheís working away already, that wise one. Thatís why she left early. She said, ďOkay, well I can do more now on the other planes.Ē

Sharon: I feel that as well. When I heard that she had died, I really did get the immediate feeling that she simply felt that she could assist you more from the other side. She gathered all of the love and the information that she needed.

Andrew: I think that may very well be the case. And it makes sense because when I first thought, ďMy God.Ē I mean, Iím in the middle of getting this last book out, wearing myself to the bone trying to get it out. And I thought, ďMy God, why are you putting me through the death of my beloved at this particular moment when I need absolutely every ounce of strength that I can to go forward?Ē And then it occurred to me that it was because a deeper love and a deeper transmission was now going to come through. And thatís what it is really.

Sharon: Itís all perfect.

Andrew: Yes, itís grueling, ruthless, but perfect.

(laughter)

Sharon: Thank you so much for giving so generously of your time, Andrew.

Andrew: Oh, Iím honored. Any time of mine thatís dedicated to helping animals is time sacredly spent.God bless.

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