Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Creation in Egyptian, Hebrew and Vedic Tradition

The Sanskrit “na” means “waters” it indicates the “primal waters” from which everything came. This is also found in the Egyptian scriptures where everything comes from the “primal waters” and in the Bible it says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." …………….Genesis 1:1-2
“That which lies within the “waters” and from which everything comes is known as “Narayana” the “nara” meaning “waters” and the “ayana” meaning “dwells” that which “dwells within the waters”. From Narayana comes a lotus upon which Lord Brahma is born who proceeds to engineer the universe and in the Egyptian scriptures a lotus appears from the primal waters from which “Ra” appears who proceeds to engineer the universe.” ………….. James Robinson Cooper
I am happy to say that I am a friend with J. R. Cooper who is an expert etymologist in Sanskrit which is the proto Indo-European language and deeply connects Greek, Latin and many East European languages. It is his above post in Facebook that inspired me to write this short article.
In the discipline of life science, it is common belief that, the origin of life may be traced to formation of protein and according to major theories, this could have occurred in an ambiance of water. This could have been in the ocean or deep sea vents where volcanic activity provides the right energy for formation of bacteria or a pre-packed extra-terrestrial delivery from a water bearing meteor or comet.
In a recent scientific paper, it has been proposed that when You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.  This is the observation of Dr. Jeremy England, Assistant professor at MIT. Complex self-replicating structures can form given the right combination of initial conditions. This same physics can be used to explain how the right temperature and atmospheric conditions and the presence of an attractor (which is atmospheric dust particles) can create self-replicating patterns such as hexagonal shaped snowflakes. Hence the two basic constituents of creation are matter and energy but a third important player who makes the difference between organized forms of matter and life is the organizing principle of replication and evolution which according to spiritual science is patterns in the consciousness field or Akashic field. Now let us go back to scriptures which tried to address this process through the limitation of language.
In the Sumerian mythology the text ‘Enuma Elish’  also invokes waters from which creation takes place.
Suriya or Agni in Vedic mythology and Ra, the Sun god in Egyptian mythology or more directly, the spirit of God which produces light, the very fundamental first creation in the Universe after the Big Bang are all related to a hyper dimensional energy domain which cascades down in creation to form both matter and the energy, which in spiritual tradition is given various names,
In the mythology of Ra, it is believed that he rose out of the waters or ‘Nun’.  In certain other creation myths, Ra emerged from primeval waters known as Ra-Atum and created Tefnut (Moisture) and Shu (Air). From this first divine pair sprang the entire creation. What should be noted is that ‘Tefnut’ and ‘Shu’ though in common language denote moisture and air, it signifies matter and life giving spirit. There is a better word in Sanskrit ‘Prana’ or life force.
The Hebrew Talmud explains that the letter ‘mem’ represents the word of God through which all creation comes into being or the Torah and the open 'mem' represents the revealed Torah and the closed 'mem' represents the Torah’s secrets. In essence ‘mem’ represents water or the womb. water is the womb of Creation. This is the opening verses of Hebrew Torah and Christian Genesis. What is the waters which the scripture talks of? Since the earth’s waters had not yet been created, the waters mentioned here is the womb from which Creation emerged, the place of gestation before the world came into existence.
We can see the helplessness of the authors of these myths struggling to give meaning to a dimension which is beyond human comprehension.
Perhaps the most appealing and candid enumeration of the creation story in spiritual mythology is from the Rig Veda in Mandala 10 and Hymn 129.
I would like to close this article with the English translation of Arthur Llewellyn Basham which appeals to me as it tracks the cosmic dimension:
Then even nothingness was not, nor existence.
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there were neither death nor immortality,
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

In the beginning desire descended on it -
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is, is kin to that which is not.

And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say
whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows - or maybe even he does not know.

Please note the words such as ‘Cosmic water’ and ‘unillumined water’, which have been used in translation. The common denominator is the word ‘water’ which when substituted by ‘consciousness’ gives you a spiritual perspective making it more meaningful.
I have tried to point out the commonality in various mythological tradition regarding the creation story but as long as humanity exists it will continue to probe this great mystery.
Love to you all.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fallacy of Absolute Certainty


“Science does not aim at establishing immutable truths and eternal dogmas; its aim is to approach the truth by successive approximations, without claiming that at any stage final and complete accuracy has been achieved.” ………………..Bertrand Russell, ‘Sceptical Essays’
“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.” …………..Karl Popper
"Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from your views in order to be open to receive other's viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times." ……………….Thich Nhat Hanh
This article comes out of the personal urge to change the mind set of people who have grown entrenched in a milieu of autocratic parental and societal control in all departments of their lives. These especially include their view on religious practices and cultural influences that shape their lives.
There are two areas which had been heading on a collision course throughout history. They are science and religion. In the current times, however, there has appeared a glimpse of a spiritual alternative through the deeper enquiry in science. A cosmic religion which was foreseen by people like Albert Einstein
Purely due to historic reason, religion has stamped its irrevocable authority on individuals and society. The diktats and dogmas of religion have outlived their social, cultural and individual consciousness dynamics that existed when they were formulated. In the last 500 years, science has exploded and expanded its outreach to provide answers to many complex questions which were earlier answered mostly through a religious background with few individual who usurped authority in the name of the Divine. A clear example is the Geocentric view of existence in the west. The freedom to think and formulate one’s own understanding through deep enquiry was denied and the carrot of heavenly reward or hellish punishment was dangled before a hapless society. The east survived this dictatorial domination for a long time until the impact of the founding fathers faded through usurped spiritual leadership which set up sectarian cultural and religious constructs. The west suffered the imprisonment of true spiritual flowering at the level of individuals with the installation of monotheistic religions in Hebrew, Christian and Islamic religions. Any attempt to percolate down to individual experiential revelation and resulting pronouncements were declared as heresy and punished ruthlessly.
The consciousness of humanity is evolving and this is an undeniable fact. Man has moved on from the age of archaic, magical and mythological consciousness into the realm of the rational during the age of enlightenment. In the twentieth century humanity is stepping into the age of integral consciousness. Twentieth and twenty first century philosophers, psychologists and scientists confirm that an integral view of reality is mandatory. Though great spiritual masters like Buddha had pointed out that all that we perceive is a dependent arising from the substratum of non-being or emptiness and the great philosophy of Advaita of Adi Sankara elucidated the non-dual nature of reality, the vast majority of humanity continues to be trapped in the attachment to world resulting from sensory perceptions and their resulting concepts.
The clear difference between true science and religion is the damaging precept of infallibility. Most religions operate from an unsurmountable platform of Divine authority. While the advances in science and the deeper probing is made possible through a process of conjectures and refutation. The first two quotes from two philosophers, Bertrand Russel and Karl Popper, clearly demonstrates the basic framework in which true science operates. There are no immutable truths in science and through this position further enquiry is enabled without fear of condemnation or excommunication from a richly sharable group of intelligentsia or a group of people to whom the resulting truth can be an enabler in their transcendence to a richer existence.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk puts it very aptly by saying "Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth.” The attachment to this state of thought itself is a big blockade to receiving further valuable inputs from around us.
It is very vital to know that truth cannot be obtained purely through the mind. Mind is an instrument to launch a series of experiences. These experiences leads to a incrementally richer state of being. This is an intuitive internal process and our entire life’s purpose is to have a series of richer and more fulfilling experiences so that our consciousness may ascend to a higher level. Let me close this short article with a quote from the great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant:
“But to unite in a permanent religious institution which is not to be subject to doubt before the public, even in the lifetime of one man, and thereby to make a period of time fruitless in the progress of mankind toward improvement, thus working to the disadvantage of posterity - that is absolutely forbidden. For himself (and only for a short time) a man may postpone enlightenment in what he ought to know, but to renounce it for posterity is to injure and trample on the rights of mankind.”
These are very strong words and the thoughts I have tried to open up in this article are not to endorse rampant freedom without recourse to all the knowledge and wisdom that has been unfolding. The seeker must employ his mind in an open enquiry on the canvass of all wisdom that has evolved over the time in the full blossoming one’s own consciousness..
Wish your journey a fulfilling experience.

Love to you all.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Self-Revelation of Future in the Past

"Schopenhauer wrote a wonderful paper on 'An Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual' . . . He says that when you go through life, this character appears, that character appears, and it all seems accidental at the time it is happening. Then when you get on in your sixties or seventies and look back, your life looks like a well-planned novel with a coherent theme. Things have happened, you realize, in an appropriate way. Incidents that seemed to be accidental, pure chance, turn out to be major elements in the structuring of this novel. Schopenhauer says, 'Who wrote the novel? You did.' " ………………Joseph Campbell, "Mythic Worlds, Modern Words
Today I received a notification on my Facebook page from the official Joseph Campbell Foundation Facebook page and the quote is what I have started this article with.
This immediately resonated with two references in scripture. The first is from the Book of Jeremiah:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." …………Jeremiah 1: 5
The second is a verse from the Gospel of Thomas where in Christ when asked “when will the end come” by his disciples, responds with the following saying:
“……………."Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is. Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death." ………….Saying 18, Gospel of Thomas
In the first verse it is the voice of God speaking to Jeremiah and we can see the personality of Godhead being isolated from man and the second verse is purely a self-knowledge. Both are pointing to a fundamental truth
The writing of Arthur Schopenhauer, the German Philosopher, reveals a timeframe of instantaneous perception of events in our lives from moment to moment and how we attach a purely accidental nature of occurrence without assigning a value to the process of emanation. This fallacy is the result of residing in the purely materialist and physical nature of any specific event. The all-important dimension of interacting unitive consciousness and web of life in which all events are played out falls outside our limited perception.
This deeper understanding is possible today if we delve into the discipline of Quantum Cosmology. Do not be perturbed by the invocation of an area of science which most of humanity finds difficult to grasp. I will try to explain in a simple language what is basically involved. In quantum physics, which is increasingly applied to cosmology, any two fundamental particle such as photons (light particle) that are derived from the same source are correlated and their functions are identical but in opposition (here we are talking of a spin of the photon -Clockwise or anti-clockwise). This correlation is instantaneous and is not limited by the four dimensional space-time construct. If all the photons which are the most abundant entity in the manifest world and through which we observe any event and were created moments after (400,000 years after the Big Bang is a very small period) the Universe came into existence (Universe is 13,700,000,000 years old) and could be termed as the first manifest creation (this is coincident with the scripture) then all that is manifest and derived from this first source are entangled and correlated.
It is a misperception in human mind of events in a time frame which causes the classification as past, present and future. In the cosmos the light or the photons we see today coming from a Galaxy or a star from vast distance of millions of lightyears (a lightyear is the distance which the photon has taken to travel in one year, this is equal to 9,500,000,000,000 kilometres) are always in correlation.
This means what we see as something that originated in the distant past, remote in space is the very same thing that is a direct derivative of what happening at the present location and it will be the same that will cause what will happen in the future but we do not have the capacity in our perception to go beyond space-time. The universe does not exist is a four dimensional manifold but in a multi-dimensional enfolded structure.
The fundamental reality in the Cosmic domain is entirely different from the reality in our physical and sensory reality.
It is through an emergent phenomenon that we inhabit a place and time in this cosmos but this emergence is a pre-programmed ‘integral consciousness derivative’ to which we have no access.
The way to gain access to this higher level of consciousness is through spiritual plane which is resident deep within our consciousness which has the same construct as the deeper reality of the universe. Tools that are available are the scriptures, mythologies, contemplative existence and to essentially access the deeper knowledge revealed by science.
In Chaos theory the emergent properties of a system are basically determined by the initial conditions. In order to understand chaotic systems we need to appreciate the interconnectedness of all existence which has been pointed to us by Quantum physics and by the wise sayings of spiritual masters.
Let me end this article with an observation by a leading contemporary thinker, who is both a physicist and a System Theorist:
“Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated "building blocks," but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way. The human observer constitute the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can be understood only in terms of the object's interaction with the observer.” …………………..Fritjof Capra
Love to you all.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Encountering Emotions through Your Authentic Self

"..............as soon as you are conscious of your Self as separate from the mood, the Self helps you to protect yourself against dismemberment by the following fact: you are confronted with two things, the mood or the emotion or whatever it is on the one side, and the Self on the other. You must be conscious of two things, of what you are and what the mood is. You can say: "This mood is myself, it belongs to me," and then you lose sight of the Self, you are identical with the mood and you are gone, you are away, and quite unprotected. Or you can say: "Yes, this mood belongs to me, it is part of myself, but I am also conscious of the Self," and then you are protected. So it is a subtle mental operation in that you are conscious of two things." …………………..C.G. Jung
The ills that plague the world, especially the youth and adults, is the trap of getting hooked to a negative experiential situation in life that results in a negative emotion or mood. The more we reside in this state and not identifying this mood inducing experience as something external to your inner self, the ego sees this experience as threat to its dominance and assumes the guise of the mood or emotion as your own authentic self. This is a clever ploy used by the ego to construct a shield around the self  so that it can keep its dominance over your authentic self.
But negative emotions are very much needed to respond to life situations so that a healthy psychosomatic status can be maintained. Humans naturally and automatically desire what inherently feels good, and recoil from what feels bad, including emotions. This is a normal thing to do as we have evolved from our primal nature as anthropoids through a process of survival where the fight or flight response to any physical threat was essential. This evolution of survival response has evolved into a flight response in our current level of civilization and consciousness as the external threats no longer lie in the physical domain but in the psychological arena. Hence we do not desire difficult emotions like sadness, embarrassment, anger or anxiety? As the hunter and the prey were vying for the state of survival in our early ancestors through fight or flight,
in this information age we inevitably abhor any negative emotion without trying out the exercise of using these emotions to our psychosomatic betterment.  The problem emerges when we get so good at avoiding our emotions, we lose the access to the important function they serve. This response to owning up to negative emotions happens only through the ego. When faced with situations which generate negative emotions, we should train ourselves to step aside from our ego and allow the self to analyse the situation and respond. A few moods or emotions and their evoked response from the ego and the needed action from the Self are illustrated.
Ego response to situations which have been categorized by Dr. Mario Martinez, an expert on the discipline of Biocognitive Medicine:
  • Shame – There is something wrong with me – this can be countered by honouring ourselves
  • Betrayal – the value and relation attached to something or someone has been violated  – this can be countered by commitment
  • Abandonment – Lack of a reciprocal response to any trust attached, especially with people. – this can be countered by Loyalty
Resulting moods or emotions:
  • Guilt – I have done something wrong
  • Sadness – The immediate communication to our ego is that there is a loss.
  • Fear and Anxiety – There is a perceived danger
  • Anger – A feeling of being manipulated or wrongly assessed
There are two essential purposes for which emotions arise in us and they are signals for action and a need. These are intimately connected with our biological functions, especially the release and action of hormones (steroids, peptides, or amines). The needs lie in the hierarchy as described by Maslow which are basically psychosomatic in nature. When the need is taken to the level of craving and attachment and stagnating at one level of the hierarchy, then there is resulting hormonal imbalance.
I would like to point out one example which is very common in people today. Adrenaline and cortisol normally are secreted in response to a perceived threat in the environment. The effects of stress hormones on blood glucose, heart rate and respiration increase oxygen and nutrient supplies to muscles and temporarily shut down the maintenance of the body's other systems. This so-called fight-and-flight response to perceived environmental threats gives organisms an evolutionary advantage in making them better able to survive.
In the modern world, with increasing stress due to ego imposed expectations and not from the physical environment, we do not utilize the adrenaline or cortisol release which leads to high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. Prolonged release can result in healthy cell mutating. Stress happens to be the most common cause for cancer.
What I am getting at is the emotions themselves are utilitarian inputs but we tend to anchor them in the ego domain. The psychic conditions of individuals which operates in a constant and increasing mode of ego affirmation builds a false self. What Jung and other spiritual masters who have given a deep thought advise us to learn to evoke our authentic self in response to any emotional input, positive or negative, and listen to its prompting. This mindfulness has to be practiced over a long period of time.
Let me conclude with a beautiful quote which is the prescription for awakening our authentic self.
“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.” …………………….Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
Love to you all

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cosmology of the Vedas

“Just as a spider weaves its web from the heart by its orifice, the breath of the Lord [the prâna] from the ether is manifesting the sound vibration through the mind in the form of the different phonemes. Full of nectar comprising all the shapes that branch out in thousands of directions, the Master, decorated with consonants, vowels, sibilants and semivowels, has expanded from the syllable OM. By the elaborated diversity of expressions and metrical arrangements - that each have four more syllables -, He Himself creates and withdraws again the vast, unlimited expanse [of the Vedic manifestation of sound,” ……………….Srimad Bhagavatam 11.21.38-40
“Residing in the heart of all beings they have from Me remembrance, knowledge and reasoning; I am certainly knowable by the Vedas, I am its author and the one who knows its meaning surely too.” ………………..Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15:15
The verse from Srimad Bhagavatam is perhaps, to my understanding, the best way to express in a metaphysical language the reality and process of creation which now science is struggling to grasp. The elements of expression of creation can be mapped to the findings in Physics and mathematical constructs of cosmology.
Let me explain the expression of the Vedic texts in the verse and their correspondence to current cosmology andis described physics.
The ‘breath of the Lord [the prâna]’ is the ‘Quantum perturbation’ or the ripples in the ‘false vacuum’, which is called ‘ether’. This is the eternally present vibration whose average amplitude and power cancel out and maintain a perfect potential and kinetic balance of non-manifestation. But when the fluctuation reaches a particular potential, it is released as a creative potential with its own vibration (known as sound vibration) leading to a local spacetime with its own existence in isolation until it is drawn back in to the substrate of ether or false vacuum. The emanation of manifestation is described as 'nectar comprising all the shapes that branch out in thousands of directions, the Master, decorated with consonants, vowels, sibilants and semivowels, has expanded from the syllable OM'. Which is an analogy of how construction of words and sententences that finally leads a meaningful set of linguistic information construct, so also through various fundamental forms of energy vibration, matter evolves into existence. This 'metrical arrangements - that each have four more syllables' symbolizes the four dimensions of spacetime in which we perceive all manifestations in this universe.

This is the scenario of a cyclic universe existing within a multiverse which is receiving more acceptance in the scientific community. Though this isolated existence, as our universe in which we live, runs into vast volumetric space and trillions of years of time, in the dimension of the multiverse, it is but a mere momentary perturbation in the vastness of the creative potential. The vastness and longevity are the limited perception of the human consciousness.
This mapping of science and metaphysics can be better understood through an analogy.
In a vast expanse of water where constant ripples are being formed, as shown in the attached image, any contact and withdrawal with the surface can cause a bubble to rise up through the surface tension and hover over the surface as a self-existing bubble unattached to its source and if this happens in perfect vacuum then the bubble floats for a certain amount of time until it comes in contact with the surface. Though this is an analogy in two dimensional surface, this can be applied by extrapolation and stretch of intuitive imagination to a multi-dimensional space. The individual bubbles have a closed potential domain but would have the tendency to migrate to the plane of zero potential substratum as the bubble expands and loses its sustaining energy. The relation that defines the bubble volume is inversely proportional to the net creative potential. The net potential of the ether being zero its volume is infinite and hence the Divine potential is infinite with an orchestrated symphony of creation and annihilation thus maintaining the Divine equipoise,
This Divine equipoise of potential is the Divine consciousness which is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
It is important that this great truth which revealed in the Vedas has to be grasped in the very core of one’s being. This is the essence of what Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita verse 15 of chapter 15.
Let me close this short article with another wonderful quote from the Nasadiya Sukta (after the incipit ná ásat, or "not the non-existent"), also known as the Hymn of Creation, is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda (10:129). It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe.:
"Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?" ………………………..RV, 10:129-6

I am very grateful for this understanding which I deeply feel within myself and this is my personal perception and if you are benefitted by this exposition, I am indebted to you.

Love to you all

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Liberation at the Point of Death

“Let us prepare, and let us study Truth in all its aspects, trying not to ignore any of them, if we do not wish, when the hour will have struck, to fall into the abyss of the unknown. It is useless to rely on chance, and to await the approaching intellectual and psychic crisis with indifference if not with total incredulity, saying to oneself that if worse comes to worst, the tide will carry us quite naturally to the shore; for there is a strong likelihood of the tide stranding but a corpse! The battle will be fierce, in any case, between brutal materialism and blind fanaticism on the one hand, and on the other, philosophy and mysticism - that more or less thick veil of the Eternal Truth. It is not materialism that will have the upper hand.” ……………H. P. Blavatsky, “La Revue Theosophique,” March 1889

“Faustus is gone; regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise,
Only to wonder at unlawful things
Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits
To practice more than heavenly power permits.” …………………Christopher Marlowe in “Faustus”

Today, 2nd November is the All Souls Day in the Christian tradition. This day remind us of the end of the journey in this life. Life has to be a continuation preparation. This is so important that Tibetan Buddhism gives top priority to the contemplation of death.
“The Tibetan Book of the Dead” – or the “Bardo Thodol” is the English translation of the famous Tibetan death text, Bardo Thodol means “liberation by hearing on the after death plane”, it was originally written in the Tibetan and is meant to be a guide for those who have died as they transition from their former life to a new destination.  Life has to be a an excellent preparation for death.

When I first read the quote of Madame Blavatsky in an article by Sri Raghavan Iyer, this immediately took me to the final farewell sung by the choir in the play “Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe. This play is very familiar to me as I played the part of Faustus in the play during my younger days.
This is the journey of almost the entire humanity.

Faustus' contract with Mephistopheles, the devil or evil incarnated in an attractive form, is that he will sell his soul to the devil for exchange of all knowledge and the possession of all power and beauty of the world. Faustus is totally immersed and intoxicated with this new found power of his ego that he forgets that his time of the contract is about to end and his soul will be lost forever. The last act is the soliloquy of Faustus appealing to the universe, Christ and Helen, his consort, to save him. But the lament is futile and  Mephistopheles comes and claims his soul.

This is an excellent portrayal of every human being as they are engaged in the pursuit of worldly pleasures and power but fail to realize that the purpose of human life is elevation of one’s consciousness towards the higher echelons of Divine plenum.
The raison d’etre of this deluded nature of existence is that we assume that we are in a raft called life and it carries us from birth to death and we need not exercise any control over the direction of this journey. This river on which we float has innumerable branches but most of them discharge into a unfathomable chasm of destruction. There is only one true tributary of this river which leads us to Eternal Truth or Bliss.

The philosophy and Mysticism which Blavatsky speaks of, as the thick veil covering the soul, is the reference to intuitive language and abstraction that can be used to unlock the Eternal Truth which is the very composition of the Soul. Every task we are appointed to do in this life whether it be hard toil, tending the soil, teaching, nursing etc., must be performed keeping in mind the very ethical basis on which they have to be carried out without any self-deception, leave alone exploiting the world around us for our self-benefit. There is a wonderful word in the Bhagavad Gita “Nishkamakarma” which is action without any desire. As in the case of Dr. Faustus his entire life was devoted to self-aggregation of knowledge, power, wealth and pleasure until the point of crisis.

Many spiritual masters like Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Mohamed came into this world and warned humanity of the need to direct our path towards soul nourishment. The teaching of the wise masters provided the necessary fodder for strengthening us to face the challenges of the course.
Jesus said: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” …..Mark 8:36

It is unfortunate that the very philosophies that were expounded by these masters to the common man in stories and to their close followers in a more esoteric manner have been taken at the literal level without any significance attached to their deeper and mystical dimension.

Clear examples are how the parables, puranas, mythologies and rituals which were told to touch the deeper layers of the self through a mystical dimension, have been fossilized through a historical attribute of a physical and material worldly character.

In a beautiful parable, Jesus told of the importance of being awake and vigilant when we will be called for the Divine Banquet which the day of our death.

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”…………..Matthew 25: 1-13

Let us always be aware of the ultimate destination lest we be caught unprepared for the transition into the next stage of our soul. The teachings, philosophies and mysticism of the spiritual masters is oil that keeps our soul lamp burning awaiting the bridegroom in whose chamber there is the ultimate union of the human and the Divine.

Love to you all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Seeking the Creator in the Created

“When it starts to rain we do not ask “Who is making it rain?” because we know that rain is caused not by someone but by something—natural phenomena like heat, evaporation, precipitation, etc. When we see smooth stones in a river, we do not ask “Who polished those stones?” because we know that the smooth surface of the stones was caused not by someone but by something—natural causes like the abrasive action of water and sand.
All of these things have a cause (or causes) but this need not be a being. It is the same with the universe—it was not brought into being by a god but by natural phenomena like nuclear fission, gravity, inertia, etc.” [1]

I have a problem with this logic as the obvious question that follows is what causes fission, gravity, inertia, etc. If we classify them under a set of processes, the question that we have raised is still not answered.
Is there a way around this seemingly regressive analysis of seeking a creative agent for all that we see as manifest creation.
There are two converging pathways one in the realm of esoteric philosophy and the other in the arena of modern science which can be merged to arrive at an answer.

In the path of esoteric philosophy, Kashmir Saivism is a good source wherein the deeper wisdom of reality is expounded. The following first three verses of Pratyabhijnahrdayam, which comes from the Sanskrit roots formed from prati – "something once known, now appearing as forgotten", abhi – "immediate" and jna – "to know". So, the meaning is direct knowledge of one's self-recognition.

“The absolute Citi (consciousness) out of its own free will is the cause of the Siddhi of the universe.
By power of her own free will does She (Citi) unfold the universe upon her own screen.
This (i.e. the universe) is manifold because of the differentiation of reciprocally adapted objects and subjects.
The individual (experiencer) also, in whom Citi or consciousness is contracted has the universe (as his body) in a contracted form.
Citi (universal consciousness) itself descending from (the stage of) Cetana becomes Citta (individual consciousness) inasmuch as it becomes contracted in conformity with the object of consciousness.[2]

The first five verses of this deeply esoteric text explains the nature of all manifestations and the created observer. It is necessary to explain some of the Sanskrit terms. ‘Citi’ means ‘Universal consciousness’ and ‘Siddhi’ means ‘bringing into existence in this universe, organizing, and finally annihilating or withdrawing’.
‘Chetana’ is the female gender of consciousness as at the manifest level it is endowed with the capacity to co-create. And finally ‘citta’ means ‘individual consciousness’.
The undifferentiated nature of the source, the process and end product are beautifully illustrated in this wisdom document.
The artist, the canvass and the artwork are all basically a derivative and different manifestations with different forms and names, such as artwork, canvass and artist, of the single mind which is the source.

The second pathway is the route through modern science and cosmology. Especially the deeper study of Relativity, Quantum physics and the unification of the four forces of nature. Modern cosmologist are in a major agreement that we live in a multiverse and our own universe may have a total of ten spatial dimensions apart from time. New theories are questioning the ‘Big Bang’ process of the universe creation and one of the latest paper to be presented proposes a cyclic universe in which the birth and death of the universe is an eternal process. There is also a theory of ‘Big Bounce’ in a multiverse scenario.

The following reference from the dawn of postmodern thinking is an earnest appeal to reposition our thinking.

“We can and should leave modernity behind - in fact, we must if we are to avoid destroying ourselves and most of the life on our planet… [Constructive or revisionary] postmodernism … by contrast [to deconstructionism] … seeks to overcome the modern worldview not by eliminating the possibility of worldviews as such, but by constructing a postmodern worldview through a revision of modern premises and traditional concepts. This constructive or revisionary postmodernism involves a new unity of scientific, ethical, aesthetic, and religious intuitions. It rejects not science as such but only that scientism in which the data of the modern natural sciences are alone allowed to contribute to the construction of our worldview… Going beyond the modern world will involve transcending its individualism, anthropocentrism, patriarchy, mechanization, economism, consumerism, nationalism, and militarism. Constructive postmodern thought provides support for the ecology, peace, feminist and other emancipatory movements of our time.” [3]

This insight is the basis for our new understanding of the process through which the recent findings in science can reposition our thinking from the classical view of analysis by deconstruction and fragmentation to one where a synthesis can be arrived at through our deeper probing of the plenum of all existence and the laws that govern them.

Spiritual wisdom of sacred writings such as Pratyabhijnahrdayam and an open mind to deeply probe and accept findings in modern science would be the way forward. The rational mind is an inadequate tool to probe the relation between the creation and the creator but this same mind is the key to open the inner layers of wisdom.
Let me end this article with a deep insight:

“Self-creation never ends. You are continually creating yourself from the field of infinite possibilities. You are, in every moment, born again. And so is everyone else.”[4]

Love to you all


[1] A.L Silva “A Buddhist Critique of Christianity”
[2] Jai Deva Singh. Pratyabhijnahrdayam: The Secret of Self-Realization (3rd revised edition). Motilal Banarsidass. Delhi, India - (1980).
[3] Griffin, David Ray (ed.), The reenchantment of science, New York: State University of New York, 1988, pp 1-3.
[4] Neale Donald Walsch

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Importance of Rituals in Our Lives

"Spiritual practice is a direct experience. When we follow our breath in the Zen tradition, or repeat the names of God in Islam, or kindle the Sabbath candles and welcome the Shekinah on Shabbat, or offer the light of a butter lamp to Mata Durga, we are harnessing timeless technologies precisely engineered to open the heart and transform consciousness. Practice knocks on the door of the soul and it opens to the presence of the sacred. It shifts us from the intellectual realms of theology into the embodied space of spirit as it pours into and animates all that is." ................................Mirabai Starr, author and adjunct professor of philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos, on practicing a tradition and what it brings [1]
Many times I have confronted people asking the question as to why I go to a Catholic mass or participate in any ritual when I write and speak so much about the need for an intuitive journey and believe in spirituality which has a unique personal character. I think the above quote on the role and power of ritual in spiritually empowering us.
First of all we have to understand the evolution of rituals which had a survival bias and slowly evolved into the psychological space as the human consciousness evolved from magical character in the hunter – gatherers into the rational sphere in the post-modern human beings. Underlying the entire spectrum of human consciousness evolution is always a belief system. 
In the early homo sapiens, before he went out on a hunt, they used to gather around and draw the rough picture of the animal they intended to hunt and the leader of the hunt would shoot an arrow into the heart of the drawn figure and this ritual was rooted in the belief that somehow this act would transpose itself on the prey when they go on the hunt. Later when man settled down near the source of water as agrarian society, the fertility of the soil, the nourishing rain and the warmth giving and heat from the fire to cook and ward off animals were symbolized as Mother Goddess, Rain god and the God of protection and transformation. These gods were then worshiped in the hope that they would be bountiful and provide the seasonal flooding of the river, the timely rain and the life enabling food. The ancient worship of Agni and copious reference to it in the Vedas is an example. Recent archaeological investigations have revealed that the figurines of mother goddesses unearthed reveal that Mother Goddess worship dates back to more than 20,000 years.
It was the practice of the Nile valley civilization that in every process in the agricultural operation, from breaking or ploughing the ground , the planting of the seed to harvesting was celebrated with singing and dancing. The breaking of the ground and planting of the seed was symbolic of the burial of the god Osris and the sprouting of the grain a symbol of resurrection of Osris  and final the harvest festival was the symbol of Osris, his consort, thanking Isis for reviving him from the dead. This was celebrated by singing and dancing while a sheaf of corn was raised towards heaven. Can you see the similarity between this ancient practice and the raised offering of the host to ask Christ to resurrect back into the material realm. (I had written an article on the symbolism of the Holy Mass earlier [2])
“Archaeologically, the earliest evidence for Indo-Iranian fire worship is found at the transition from the Sintashta-Petrovka to the Fedorovo culture around 1500 BC, together with first evidence of cremation. While cremation became ubiquitous in Hinduism, it came to be disavowed in Zoroastrianism. However, even earlier evidences of Vedic fire altars have been found at the Indus Valley sites of Kalibangan and Lothal, giving rise to speculations towards earlier assumed the geographical location of the early Indo-Iranians.”[3]
The ritual of fire sacrifice or yajña is a worship of transformation which is the continuous process in all manifestation. The ingredients fed into the ritual fire such as Sandalwood, Clarified butter, incense and other millets produce a specific sensory smells and together with the Vedic chanting induce a transformation of consciousness.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad hymn 3.1.6, states that the mind is the Brahma of yajña and the goal of yajña is complete release and liberation (moksha).
The spiritual significance of Hajj is the elevation of the faithful to a cosmic dimension. There is a parallel to the movement of cosmic objects and sub-atomic particles orbiting around a central Black Hole, which is an entity beyond human comprehension and hence representing the unknowable and unnameable power which is expressed as a common act of worship in the language man. While electrons ceaselessly orbit the nucleus of an atom, the earth and planets tirelessly traverse space in an orbit around the sun. In turn, the solar system becomes the whirling dervish orbiting the centre of the Milky Way. It seems that circling a central point of reference is a universal act of worship. Muslims join in this cosmic mode of worship and synchronize with the whole universe and all existence by circling the Ka'bah as the reference point of the oneness of Divinity.
It is important to realize that rituals evolved from a purely mind-body matrix to its current state at the stage of mythological consciousness of the homo sapiens (from 5000 B.C)  through the wisdom of those who codified and formatted these processes of spiritual exercise. The aim was elevation of consciousness by symbolically appealing to the higher mind that lies beyond the rational domain.
Love to you all



[1] Parabola Magazine July 28, 2014
[2] http://blog.livingspark.net/2010/01/communion-and-confirmation.html
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_worship