Sunday, March 18, 2018

Inner Kingdom of Man

“…… Every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world, and becomes an active entity by associating itself, coalescing we might term it, with an elemental - that is to say, with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence - a creature of the mind’s begetting - for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power, an evil one as a maleficent demon.  And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which reacts upon any sensitive or nervous organization which comes in contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity.” …………..“The Occult World”, by Alfred P. Sinnett, 1884 edition
Alfred Percy Sinnett was an English author and theosophist. He has captured the composition of the subconscious world of an individual in a language that, as best as possible, describes the cumulative process through which every thought from the human mind is either attenuated or amplified to form the building blocks on which the subconscious structure is built up. These building blocks which can be fundamentally classified as ‘Qualia’ or units of consciousness comes with attributes which are generally termed as “a good thought (which is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power) or an evil one (which is described as a maleficent demon), but I would rather use the Vedic attributes of ‘Guna’, namely; sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). Though we may unconsciously and spontaneously conceptualize the nature of a current situation and evolve a suitable response, deep down the base on which these individual positioning happens very much depends on the cumulative state of our subconscious consisting of the admixture of the three gunas. The perfect balance of three gunas leads to a harmonious triad of supreme power that has limitless creative potential.
I would like to add a further analysis of the extended process that continuously takes place in an individual’s psyche. The Jungian construct of the entire world of consciousness has to be called upon to understand this process of the psyche. Individual consciousness is the immediate manifest component of the aggrandized subconsciousness of any individual as described at the start of this article. But this whole world of individual consciousness is the floating iceberg in the field of Universal unconsciousness. The universal unconsciousness is the grand integral of the entire evolutionary history of human consciousness which further extends into the planetary and cosmic consciousness.
From this conceptual view point of the entire structure of the world of consciousness, we can understand that we are connected to the entire creation. This grand unified field being in perfect creative harmony, spontaneously acts on any variations from the perfect state.
The last sentence of the above quote; “ ……. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which re-acts upon any sensitive or nervous organization which comes in contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity.”, is a vital truth, This has further been validated by our current study and understanding of human consciousness and human Biology.
Epigenetics is a new type of science that is growing in popularity and promise in the scientific world. Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes. It works to see the true potential of the human mind, and the cells in our body.
This is a science that even eminent scientists are beginning to see the potential in. Sir Adrian Bird defined epigenetics as the structural adaptation of chromosomal regions that register, signal and perpetuate altered activity states. Another scientists with decades of experience who is also leading the way with epigenetics is Dr. Bruce Lipton, who has written three major books on the field and how it can enrich our own lives.
Every thought we put out is not only has a unidirectional outward flow and influence but is very much a universal flow which also influences our inner world at the genetic level. Today every medical practitioner knows that mental stress is the biggest killer and a cause for a variety of diseases such as hypertension, heart ailment and cancer.
Let me conclude with a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley written by this great cosmic visionary in 1821
'Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light
Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffused
A Spirit of activity and life,
That knows no term, cessation or decay;
That fades not when the lamp of earthly life
Extinguished in the dampness of the grave,
Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe
In the dim newness of its being feels
The impulses of sublunary things,
And all is wonder to unpractised sense;
But, active, steadfast and eternal, still
Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,
Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,
Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;
And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly                    
Rolls round the eternal universe and shakes
Its undecaying battlement, presides,
Apportioning with irresistible law
The place each spring of its machine shall fill;
So that, when waves on waves tumultuous heap
Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven
Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords--
Whilst, to the eye of shipwrecked mariner,
Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,
All seems unlinked contingency and chance--                     
No atom of this turbulence fulfils
A vague and unnecessitated task
Or acts but as it must and ought to act. 
Love to you all

Friday, March 9, 2018

Understanding the Language of Nature

“If you would learn more, ask the cattle, Seek information from the birds of the air. The creeping things of earth will give you lessons, And the fishes of the sea will tell you all. There is not a single creature that does not know That everything is of God’s making. God holds in power the soul of every living thing, And the breath of every human body.” …………….Book of Job 12:7-10
"You may wonder: Why is nature constructed along these lines? One can only answer that our present knowledge seems to show that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe. Our feeble attempts at mathematics enable us to understand a bit of the universe, and as we proceed to develop higher and higher mathematics we can hope to understand the universe better." ………..Paul Dirac, winner of Nobel prize in physics in 1933
Nature is a Divine creation. It is an autopoietic, self-organizing process through which life comes into being and evolves in complexity. This is billions of years old process creating what we call nature or the ecosystem. Current studies have shown that nature, though it might appear to be the result of a chaotic process. Is fundamentally a well-organized structural pattern. There are patterns conforming to now the famous ‘Fibonacci Series’ and similar mathematical constructs.
Paul Dirac sums up his thoughts on the imperceptibility of the laws of nature with the words: “….One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”
Ever since this statement was made, we have come to ever increasing understanding of the nature of interconnectedness that pervades nature and the Cosmos. Quantum physics and the principles of entanglement as well the hyper dimensions in M-Theory has given us a better grasp but I should warn that we are far from understanding or grasping the true nature of the ecosystem as well as that of the universe at large..
Plant biology, with its advanced tools and experiments, has pointed to what Rupert Sheldrake calls ‘Morphic fields’, ‘Morphic Resonance’ and ‘Morphogenesis’. In his book “A New Science of Life” revised and published in 2009, Rupert Sheldrake proposed this new understanding of how life evolves in plants. He writes:
“Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organizing systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance.”
30 years of research by Dr. Suzanne Simard has revealed the sophisticated communication among trees in the Canadian forest. This is what she found:
 “That’s when I knew that I was onto something big… In the past, we assumed trees were competing with each other for carbon, sunlight, water and nutrients. But my work showed us trees were also cooperators. They communicate by sending mysterious chemical and hormonal signals to each other via the mycelium, to determine which trees need more carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon, and which trees have some to spare, sending the elements back and forth to each other until the entire forest is balanced.
The web is so dense there can be hundreds of kilometers of mycelium under a single foot step. The mycelium web connects mother trees with baby trees, allowing them to feed their young. A single mother tree can provide nourishment for hundreds of smaller trees in the under-story of her branches, Mother trees even recognize their kin, sending them more mycelium and carbon and reducing their own root size to make room for their babies.”
At the fundamental level, all of nature including human beings, are constituent of a set of basic elements which is defined in the periodic table. These elements have evolved in the nuclear fusion of the stars and spread through the universe during the collapse of these stars at the end of their life. The collapse itself is a two way process that we see in all life; namely there is a release of energy through dispensing with all the heavier elements, which form the seed for the next generation of life, and the collapse into the very basic building block of elements which is the neutron or into what cosmologist call a Black Hole or pure gravity.
All these points to a basic substrate of a field of energy or, as I tend to call it, consciousness which pervade the entire universe from which information is tapped in the process of evolution.
In the Book of Job, though the language used is more than 3000 years old, brings out the cosmic dimension of this universal field, which he calls God, through which every form of life evolves both in its physical as well as in its energy of sustenance. The author of the ‘Book of Job’ differentiates the soul and breath in the lower life forms and in human beings. From the foregoing information I have provided we know that all of nature including humans are interlinked and sustained by this cosmic field of consciousness which in the spiritual parlance we call ’GOD’.
If we align with Nature's wisdom then life on our planet will thrive once again. By inculcating a broader dimension of the ecocentric nature of existence a sustainable ecosystem beneficial to all can be established.
All that is required of our species now is that we use our creative imaginations and open our hearts, honour our connectedness to Nature, experience all life as precious and sacred.
Awakening to awareness of ourselves as living expressions of Nature's Dance could transform human consciousness. Nature is calling us back to her now, so that our species once again aligns with the wisdom and security of Mother Earth.
This is the wisdom of Ecospirituality, the wisdom of who and what we truly are in this creation.
Love to you all

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dismantling Religious Fundamentalism

I think the silent majority know that when scriptural texts are literally interpreted and politicized, it breeds unbridled violence, terror and war. This is true across all religions. This is the reason for what Albert Einstein said is so true:
"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity."
There are two main reasons why religion is failing to meet its true purpose as an enabler of harmony in the world today. The saying of the original spiritual masters have been first written down as scriptures or sacred texts (Vedas, Torah, Biblical texts and Koran) which were trying their best to put down mystical inner experiential revelations in the best available language which had its cultural limitations.
In the course of time a set of teachers who had no spiritual inheritance from the Masters, through sheer proximity to the power centres of the time, claimed to be the authority for promulgating the teachings they claimed to have inherited.
They transformed the sacred messages into a set of dogmas, diktats and laws to suit their own private agenda and to ensure organizational sustainability of the religious power centres, they demanded strict control and subjugated their followers to stringent confirmation through societal laws promulgated as of Divine origin (such as the Manusmriti, Talmud, the Dogmas and the Canon Law of Christianity and the Sharia Law and corresponding strict adherence to rites and rituals).
There is a common element in both religious fundamentalism as well as In the operating agenda of terrorism. This is the element of fear. In monotheistic religion it is the reward or punishment through metaphysical realms like heaven and hell. In terrorism, it is the constant fear of death, destruction and disruption of social harmony through an element of surprise.
 The other reason why this disconnect between spirituality and religion is increasingly happening is due to the fact that all sacred events and their corresponding meanings, which were scripted in a mythological context, are increasingly fitted into a historical context under a misunderstood concept that a historical perspective would render an unquestionable authenticity while they are meant to be interpreted in a spiritual and esoteric manner as revealed to individuals through their own inner experience. This is what the ancient Vedic sages, the Kabbalistic mystics, early desert fathers in Christianity, the later Benedictine, Capuchin and Franciscan and Sufi mystics went through and wrote and preached, but they were suppressed and censored as heretics and banished by the power and wealth centres of religious institutions.
Today with the advent of advanced tools in archaeology such as deep penetration radar and improved carbon dating as well as through comparative literary analysis, the literary interpretations of sacred texts fail to withstand any valid conjecture between what is the intended revelation and what is stated in the texts as interpreted in a historical and materialistic context.
My own personnel approach is that the current culture of fundamentalism and violence cannot be reversed through a reactionary mode but rather through inculcation of a cosmic perspective of individual spirituality. We have to become aware of how deeply our reality has been distorted.
As Morpheus says to Neo in the movie Matrix: “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." The term red pill refers to a human that is aware of the true nature of the Matrix or the false reality in which we live.
Today science, especially through discoveries in Quantum physics, biology, cognitive sciences and Cosmology, is coming to our aid and it is high time that many are made aware of the true nature of our real self and the basic purpose of creation.
“The very meaning of the word universe is to “turn around one thing.” There is either some Big Truth in this universe, or it is an incoherent universe. We are hardwired for the Big Picture, for transcendence, for ongoing growth (another name for evolution), for union with ourselves and everything else.” …….Joseph Chiltern Pearce
Karl Rahner, German Jesuit Priest and twentieth century theologian, said:
“We are “pressured” from within to evolve. That pressure is what we have always called the Holy Spirit, Prana or Chi. And the Spirit is creatively at work in this moment, urging us to evolve, to become a new kind of human being such as the world has rarely seen before. But what has been rare must now become commonplace.”
A great message was given by great Indian spiritual master:
“Different people call on [God] by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it 'jal', others at another place and call it 'pani', and still others at a third place and call it 'water'. The Hindus call it 'jal', the Christians 'water', and the Moslems 'pani'. But it is one and the same thing.” ………Ramakrishna Paramahmsa
Love to you all

Friday, February 23, 2018

Myths of Mortal Gods

"Sometimes gods die for the benefit of their people (sacrifice), in which case they're a savior. Other times the god is reborn, actually or symbolically, representing regeneration or seasonal rebirth." ……Alan Watts
In many spiritual tradition that flourished after the onset of agrarian age such as the Indus valley civilization, the Egyptian civilization or the Greek and Hebraic civilization and later the Mayan Civilization, the mythos of sacrificial God and Divine reincarnation was a common theme.
In the various avatars of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of creation, Lord Rama’s story of disappearance from earth happened when he entered voluntarily into the Sarayu River. In the Krishna Avatar he is killed by the arrow of the hunter Jara.
In the Egyptian mythology, the story of Isis, Osiris and Horus in the third century BC was typical of the theme of the virgin birth of Horus, Horus was a redeemer of health and humans in their earthly form; not of souls needing salvation from sin and eternal punishment. Horus the Child was one of a number of so-called 'child gods' of ancient Egypt who appeared in the form known as Shed (Savior) but was a savior from earthly troubles, not eternal ones. The legend of restoration of Horus from death on the intercession of Isis by Thoth is the resurrection theme seen in the Egyptian mythology.
“Examples of gods who die and later return to life are most often cited from the religions of the Ancient Near East, and traditions influenced by them including Biblical and Greco-Roman mythology and by extension Christianity. The concept of a dying-and-rising god was first proposed in comparative mythology by James Frazer's seminal “The Golden Bough”. Frazer associated the motif with fertility rites surrounding the yearly cycle of vegetation. Frazer cited the examples of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis and Attis, Dionysus and Jesus Christ.
In the study of comparative mythology, Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung point to the dying deity motif in various mythologies such as Baldr in Norse mythology to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl in Mayan mythology to the Japanese Izanami.
After having some background on this powerful mythological theme, let us examine some practical understanding of the life process from a cosmological perspective.
When we look at nature, both in our near vicinity or on a global scale, we see that birth and death are universal phenomenon. In our evolving consciousness, humans witnessed this when they moved from being hunter gatherers into settled agrarian societies. The process of growing food and replenishment of all that nourishes the individual and family as the very rudimentary requirement for survival became a vital daily function. In planting and germination of the seed, its growth and harvest as well as in nurturing domesticated animals and feedstock from birth to slaughter for meals was witnessed as purely in an objective mode. At the individual level birth and death was witnessed as something inevitable and not to be abhorred and was integral in nature with the early human’s psyche. With the onset of increased rational thinking and especially with the installation of monotheistic religion, humans were indoctrinated into believing that they have only one life and then we are faced with the uncertainty of eternal reward or damnation. This introduced and increased the fear element into the human psyche when they face death. This is because we have consigned all the deep meanings of mythological symbolisms to a story or fantasy of human imagination deprived of better occupation.
When we lift our eyes to the heavens and look at the stars and how over the ages they have evolved, we can have a more realistic process of thinking about our own existence. Let us see our own Sun. The Solar system and our own Earth is roughly 4.6 billion years old and our Milky Way galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old. This means that our Sun is a middle aged star and it has already gone through three life cycles of creation or birth as well as death. The elements in our body like calcium, Iron and Oxygen are from exploding stars or death of stars. When we eat and nourish our bodies with elements such as Calcium, Iron etc. they come from the very cycle of birth and death. It would be extremely unnatural to perpetuate life and not participate in the cosmic process of eternal revival. What I have written so far is on the physical level but then there is the underlying substratum of vibrating energy of consciousness which is the binding and nurturing force. In truth only through this substratum we receive our individual identity.
The mythology of mortal Gods should evoke our thinking to accept this cyclic process of birth and death or creation and annihilation.
In his book “The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying”  The great Tibetan Buddhist master Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
”When I first came to the west, I was shocked by the contrast between the attitudes to death I had been brought up with, and those I now I found. For all its technological development and achievements, modern western society has no real understanding of death or what happens in death and after death.
I learned that people today are taught to deny death, and taught that it means nothing but annihilation and loss. That means that most of the world lives either in denial of death or in terror of it. …”
Life is cosmic process and let us participate fully by going with the flow.

Love to you all

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mythos and Logos

Since I am teaching a course on “Science  & Theology – From Conflict to Confluence”, I thought, for the benefit of my students as well as my blog audience,  I will share two very deep insights. The first from a Nobel prize winning Physicist of the early twentieth century and the father of Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum physics, Niels Bohr and the second from the contemporary Franciscan Theologian Fr. Richards Rohr. OFM, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, promoting universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition.
"We ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far." …………., Niels Bohr “Subjective vs. Objective Reality and the Uses of Religion in a Secular World.”
“The Judeo-Christian creation story is told in the form of a cosmic poem (Genesis 1). The realm of myth, art, and poetry can heal and create coherence, connection, and deep trust for the human psyche much better than prose that “tells it like it is.” Rather than orient us toward solving a problem, symbolic language and images turn our focus toward being itself, toward meaning, purpose, and inner life forces. They evoke the depths hidden beneath the practical, self-centered ego, and speak to our personal unconscious—as good therapy does—and our collective unconscious too—as story and myth often do.
There are several levels of knowing and interpreting reality—a “hierarchy of truths,” as Pope Francis calls it.  Not all truths are of equal importance, which does not mean the lesser ones are untrue. So don’t fight useless battles against them. Something might be true, for example, on a psychological, historical, or mythological level, but not on a universal level. Fundamentalists think the historical level is the “truest” one, yet in many ways literalism is the least important meaning for the soul. Facts may be fascinating, but they seldom change our lives at any deep level. I do believe the “historical-critical” method of interpreting Scripture is a helpful frame, without which fundamentalists create a fantasy that looks a lot like their own culture and preferred class perspective.
Scholars since Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) have been making good use of a distinction between logos, or problem-solving language, and mythos. Logos language includes facts, data, evidence, and precise descriptions. Rob Bell describes how “logos language and thinking got us medicine, got us airplanes. . . . For the past three hundred years we have had an explosion of logos language. . . . But the problem is, there are whole dimensions of our existence that require a different way of thinking.”
Bell rightly says, “The Bible is mostly written in mythos language. . . . Good religion traffics in mythos. . . . Mythos language is for that which is more than literally true. . . . Evolutionary science does an excellent job of explaining why I don’t have a tail. It just doesn’t do so well explaining why I find that interesting!” We need mythos language to express the more-than-factual meaning of experiences like falling in love, grief, and death.
Good religion, art, poetry, and myth point us to the deeper levels of truth that logos can’t fully explain. Early Christians knew this; but the Western Church spent the last five centuries trying to prove that the stories in the Bible really happened just as they are described. For some Christians, it’s imperative that the world was created in six literal days, otherwise their entire belief system falls apart. Christianity came to rely heavily on technique, formula, and certitude instead of the more alluring power of story, myth, and narrative. These give room for the soul, mind, and heart to expand. Ironically, from such an open and creative stance, we can actually solve problems much more effectively.
The whole point of Scripture is the transformation of the soul. But when we stopped understanding myth, we stopped understanding how to read and learn from sacred story or Scripture. Children delight in hearing the same fantastical stories over and over again because they are open to awe, mystery, and discovery. Oh that we could all read the creation story with similar childlike wonder and open-heartedness!” ………….Fr. Richard Rohr from “Daily Meditation – Creation”
The beauty of the advancements in current sciences and new findings and hypothesis proposed in Biology, Physics and Cosmology points to a realm of pure abstraction through the use of new language of higher dimensional manifolds and mathematical concepts which are akin to the language of mythology.
Love to you all

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Humanity as Cosmic Pilgrims

In Bhagavad Gita lectures Srila Prabhupada defines the Supersoul as Adhiyajña, and the soul as Adhibhūta.
The Adhiyajna or the Logos is the perennial source from which a human being is breathed into or breathed out of a cosmic body or vesture. Each is a blessed beneficiary of the ceaseless cosmic sacrifice, from dawn to dusk, from birth to death. The meaning of sacrifice must be understood here in its proper context. The word ‘sacrifice’ comes from two Latin words meaning ‘to make holy’. Hence the material manifestation of man is made holy through the investiture of Adhibhūta. At the initiation of manvantara (the end of man) and pralaya (the cosmic dissolution), it is through gratitude and devotion to the Logos as Adhiyajna (the concept off true worship), maintained over many lifetimes and ascending through ordered levels of manifestation, that human beings fulfill the true purpose of their cosmic existence. This gradual ascent is the work of the whole of evolution, and in the end it takes the host of immortal souls to the great day of 'Be-With-Us', which is not a fixed locus or final epoch but a sublime state of spiritual consciousness or in human terms Krishna Consciousness.
In Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky puts the above concept in her own illustrious way:
“It must not be supposed that the Logos is but a single centre of energy manifested from Parabrahmam; there are innumerable other centres...and their number is almost infinite in the bosom of Parabrahmam.' Hence the expressions, 'The Day of Come to us' and 'The Day of Be with us,' etc. Just as the square is the Symbol of the Four sacred Forces or Powers – Tetraktis – so the Circle shows the boundary within the Infinity that no man can cross, even in spirit, nor Deva nor Dhyan Chohan. The Spirits of those who 'descend and ascend' during the course of cyclic evolution shall cross the 'iron-bound world' only on the day of their approach to the threshold of Paranirvana.” …..............Secret Doctrine i 134
For the information of Christian believers, this resonates with the evolutionary trajectory proposed by Teilhard de Chardin as the Omega Point culminating in the Divine Logos. Teilhard argued that the Omega Point resembles the Christian Logos, namely Christ, who draws all things into himself, who in the words of the Nicene Creed, is "God from God," "Light from Light," "True God from true God," and "through him all things were made." In the Book of Revelation, Christ describes himself thrice as "the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." The Divine manifestation in the human nature of Krishna or Jesus must be referred as Krishna consciousness or Christ consciousness (Teilhard called this as Cosmic Christ). We dilute and distort this beautiful and spiritually empowering concept when we assign only the historical and physical dimension of a Divine manifestation.
In his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy “ Pope Benedict XVI, wrote:
“And so we can now say that the goal of worship and the goal of creation as a whole are one and the same—divinization, a world of freedom and love. But this means that the historical makes its appearance in the cosmic. The cosmos is not a kind of closed building, a stationary container in which history may by chance take place. It is itself movement, from its one beginning to its one end. In a sense, creation is history. Against the background of the modern evolutionary world view, Teilhard de Chardin depicted the cosmos as a process of ascent, a series of unions. From very simple beginnings the path leads to ever greater and more complex unities, in which multiplicity is not abolished but merged into a growing synthesis, leading to the “Noosphere”, in which spirit and its understanding embrace the whole and are blended into a kind of living organism. Invoking the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, Teilhard looks on Christ as the energy that strives toward the Noosphere and finally incorporates everything in its “fullness’. From here Teilhard went on to give a new meaning to Christian worship: the transubstantiated Host is the anticipation of the transformation and divinization of matter in the christological “fullness”. In his view, the Eucharist provides the movement of the cosmos with its direction; it anticipates its goal and at the same time urges it on.” (emphasis added by the book’s author)
Let every moment of our lives, which is a Divine gift for restoration of our true Divine nature, be spent in constant endeavor towards a sacrificial worship, making holy, through every thought, word and deed.

Love to you all

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Divine Dancer

"The mask, the costume, and the living of the role through to the end: by this device man detached himself from his personal pains and joys—just as a dancer does in a dance. Human life was literally sublimated, and man's body became, as it were, the vehicle of a god; that is to say, a symbol of the play of eternity in time." ………The Ecstasy of Being, Joseph Campbell
Only a person who could feel the emotions induced by mythology  deeply within himself could write these beautiful words.
This also resonates with what William Shakespeare spoke through the mouth of Jaques in “As You Like It”:
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”
It is Joseph Campbell who identified that In narratology and comparative mythology, the monomyth, or the hero's journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. a framework for all the life journeys of heroes in mythological stories.
Our life purpose is this adventure. We come to be victorious and to be transformed to return to our home.
Each one of us in this world are in a monomyth in our spiritual journey. The physical body is only a vehicle. This theme is common in many spiritual traditions.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the chariot as the body, the horses as the senses and the Divine charioteer clearly symbolizes the Divine instructions and guidance we receive in our physical and spiritual life through the path of Bhakti, Karma and Jnana to return to the Godhead.
The Merkabah mysticism of the Jewish mystic tradition signifies the vision of Ezekiel where he witnesses the glory of God carried in a chariot by four angels, four beings, four faces and driven on four wheels all signifying the four dimensional existence of the vehicle which is the manifest image of God. The image of the ‘Seraphim’, the angels that are in the images of flashing fire ascending and descending signifies the life force in the body of creation. The chariot itself is driven by the ‘likeness of man’ sitting of jeweled throne, signifying God as the prime mover.
Like the vision of Ezekiel, the duration of the human life is but brief. We do not see with the wisdom of Ezekiel the true revelation of life but get rooted in the outward sensory perceptions which reside in surface realities. As Campbell says; we devote our attention to the mask, the costume and the role that we take on that dominates our life. We do not pay attention to the inner self which is playing the role.
I have had the personal experience of how impressionist we can become. Once I was travelling on a flight from Chennai to Tiruchirappalli, which is a very short journey of forty minutes. One of the greatest film actor of the time, Sivaji Ganesan, was sitting in the front row. The plane, being a turboprop, had only about twenty rows of seat. Being a very illustrious actor many people struck up a conversation with him. I was amazed how his normal conversation was almost fully theatrical. I think this is what acting various roles for over 300 films can do to you. Imagine the roles we play every moment of our lives.
We forget who we are in reality and what is our origin and what is our destination. To illustrate this let me close this article with the quote from the sixth chapter of one of earliest Assyrian myths; “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. This chapter is aptly named “The Return”
“Utnapishtim said, ‘As for you, Gilgamesh, who will assemble the gods for your sake, so that you may find that life for which you are searching? But if you wish, come and put into the test: only prevail against sleep for six days and seven nights.' But while Gilgamesh sat there resting on his haunches, a mist of sleep like soft wool teased from the fleece drifted over him, and Utnapishtim said to his wife, ‘Look at him now, the strong man who would have everlasting life, even now the mists of sleep are drifting over him.' His wife replied, ‘Touch the man to wake him, so that he may return to his own land in peace, going back through the gate by which he came.' Utnapishtim said to his wife, ‘All men are deceivers, even you he will attempt to deceive; therefore bake loaves of bread, each day one loaf, and put it beside his head; and make a mark on the wall to number the days he has slept.'”
Utnapishtim is the man of wisdom and his wife symbolizes the prompter, our inner voice and she says: “…………., Touch the man to wake him, so that he may return to his own land in peace, going back through the gate by which he came.”
The gate through which we come is the entrance to our physical realm and our true waking up is the return to the land from where we came.

Love to you all

Monday, January 15, 2018

Metaphor of the Promised Land

Today the whole of America celebrates the “Martin Luther King” day.
 “And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out, or what would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers.
Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life–longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man.” ………..Martin Luther King, a few days before he was martyred
Promised land is a metaphor for ecstatic spiritual experience.
Ecstasy comes from the Greek word ‘Ekstasis’ which means to "to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere". Let me digress a little here into Existential Philosophy where the sum total of one’s consciousness is the result of the exterior world through one’s senses and hence we always stand outside of ourselves. This then provides us with a situation where in to stand outside of oneself means outside of one’s objectively modulated consciousness. This is in contrast to the term ‘enstasis’ which means from "standing-within-oneself" which relates to contemplation from the perspective of a speculator. This therefore means that in ecstasy  one has to undertake a subjective experiential journey away from our usual psychic space. There is a double negation from a logical perspective. Hence we may conclude that in ecstasy, the removal to elsewhere, one has to move away from dualities.
This ‘elsewhere’ is the promised land. In our lives we are given glimpses of the promised land from time to time from mountain tops of spiritual experience. We ignore these wonderful moments thinking that the promised land lies in the future, in some heavenly reward.
When we read the Bible, we always attach the metaphorical reference to God’s promise of the promised land to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses and the children of Israel to a geographical location. But this level of thinking comes from a low level of spiritual consciousness. If we examine the situation at various context we can see that Abraham, who was son of an idol maker, is taken to new land which is symbolic of new level of spiritual consciousness. When Abraham sets out from the land where he lived, the land was struck with severe famine, this is spiritual starvation, and he moves to the land of Egypt, which is a symbol of spiritual wisdom and abundance.
Why I make this claim is that the great depth psychologist, Carl Jung, assigns Egypt as the place of spiritual wisdom. In his book “The Seven Sermons to the Dead”, which is he writes in the name of Basilidas of Alexandria, he says,; Alexandria is the city where the East meets the west”. His very first lines of the first sermon says:
“The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought. They prayed me (Basilidas) let them in and besought my word, and thus I began my teaching.”
Jerusalem was notorious for a place desired by the worldly powers and has a materialistic significance.
The vision of the promised land is always from the mountain top, signifying a very level of spiritual consciousness. Moses was shown the promised land from Mount Nebo before he died.
It is apt for Jesus to manifest his Divine consciousness, through transfiguration, on mount Tabor.
Martin Luther King says: “………... I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”
In everyone’s life we are shown the promised land. The experiences we have when we touch someone’s inner wellbeing, when we experience love and compassion, when we bestow an act of kindness without any expectations or when we behold the creation of the Divine on a clear dark night with millions of stars and the Milky Way arching on the vault of the sky, these are the glimpses of the Promised Land.
Fr. Richard Rohr, a great contemporary Franciscan theologian says:
“Even Pope John Paul II said at a Vatican conference on June 28, 1999 that heaven and hell were primarily eternal states of consciousness more than geographical places of later reward and punishment. We seem to be our own worst enemies, and we forget or deny things that are just too good to be true.”
Let enjoy heaven on earth like Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela and many other souls who had the vision of the promised land during their lives.
Love to you all.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Esoteric significance of “Rāsa Līla”

(Lord Krishna’s blissful dance with the 10 Gopīs)
“Go” (cow) in Sanskrit also stands for the 10 senses.
Gopīs refer to the devotional inclinations of the mind (citta-vtti in Yoga) that control, guard, protect, nourish and herd our senses. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord of the senses (Hṛṣikeśa).
Rādhā Rāni (personified love and devotion) and her 9 attendants direct all our 10 senses away from the impermanent world towards the Lord of the Senses, the only Eternal Blissful One. When every sense is directed towards the Lord, who is the supreme abode of ultimate bliss, “rasa” (nectar of bliss) starts to flow from our heart into our life. This is the esoteric significance of Rāsa Līla (the Divine Play). This divine play is being played in everybody’s heart (vaikuntha), but only the devotees can partake in the bliss after becoming aware of it.” ………….The Great Upanishads - FB
Citta-vtti occurs in the very beginning  of Patañjali's  Yoga Sutra. This stanza says: “Yoga citta-vtti nirodhah” which means the essence of Ashtanga Yoga is the removal of the modification of consciousness. The method is defined through the eight limbed path in the Yoga Sutra of Patañjali. In the above passage the very attributes that are needed to modify the mind or consciousness is illustrated through a symbolism of the “Rāsa Līla”. Lord Krishna is seen dancing simultaneously with Radha as well as with all the nine Gopīs. This is because Radha and the Gopīs are an integral part but different dimensions of the very nature of the Divine. The symbolism of these attributes is explained below.
Rādhā, is the personification of devotion and worship which signifies a deep personal bond between the creator and the manifested. This is the reason that she is the primary escort of the Lord and dances in the very centre of the manifestation of consciousness in the created world. This also denotes the all-pervasive nature of the Divine consciousness as an integral part of the manifested consciousness.
Gopālī  is the personification of the authentic nourisher of the senses. In this world, we are constantly nourished and fed by maya or illusion through various perceptions which are rooted in purely the external objective attributes of a deeper consciousness. If we remain rooted at this level we are not in a position to appreciate the holistic and interconnected and integral nature of every objective manifestation.
Pālikā is the guardian, protector, nourisher and signifies the constant vigil and protection that is needed to lead us into the deeper nature of the manifest world to seek the Divine union.
Dhanyā is the personification of the blessed one who has been bestowed with Divine Grace or wisdom. To ascend from the Muladhara or the earthly domain to the Sahasrara or the cosmic domain, not only our personal effort of elevating our consciousness through sadhana or spiritual exercises is needed but the assistance of the Divine in drawing up our intention into its own bosom is very much needed.
Viśākhā is the symbolism of a branchless, singular and focused attribute. It is the laser sharp intensity that penetrates the thick koshas or covering in which the supreme consciousness lies buried within us.
Dhaniṣṭhikā is the symbolism of spiritual wealth which is acquired through various spiritual exercises and constant practice of any form of Yoga, namely; Bhakti, Karma, Jnana or Raja Yoga.
Anurādhā  symbolizes the one that follows in worship. This is the qualification which opens up the path which lies hidden to the lower levels of consciousness.
Somā  is the attribute of the reflected radiance, soothing like the moon light. This is the first stage of the living a Divine presence in one self. As the moon, which though in direct contact with the Sun, provides the soothing light to lovers in the world, when one reflects the Divine presence he or she becomes an instrument of bond of all creation to the Divine.
Ābhā is the personification of a spiritual adept who has gained the radiance to illuminate the spiritual path which leads to the portal of eternal bliss and
Tārakā is the one that leads to the other side of the river. She symbolizes the boatman of Siddhartha who tells him:
"The river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere, and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future...Siddhartha the boy, Siddhartha the mature man and Siddhartha the old man [are] only separated by shadows, not through reality...Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence." …………Hermann Hesse in “Siddhartha”, Chapter 9.
Let this beautiful symbolism lead us to deeply understand the impermanence of the world and our own eternal nature.

Love to you all

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Giving Birth to a Deeper Wisdom

When the new Sufi master came to Baghdad from his native Nishapur, in Khorasan, his fame had long preceded him. He had a great reputation for his high spirituality and his own approach to ‘Ishan’ (“perfection”), but also a reputation for his unorthodox methods of teaching. A small group of aspiring disciples, all well dressed and well behaved, and with pious demeanour, had gathered at the inn to welcome him, but also even teachers and students from the nearby university gathered at the inn. As time passed, the crowd was growing impatient. The sheik certainly took his time.
As always on such occasions, among the expectant crowd there were also beggars and bums and other bystanders. One of them turned out to be particularly annoying. All in rags, unkempt beyond description, and smelling badly of wine. The bum inching his way closer to the pious-looking, anxiety-ridden disciples. Taking his time, between hiccups, he examined them intently, one by one, which made the boys even more nervous: the last thing they wanted was to be found out by the great master in such unholy proximity.
Thank goodness, it now appeared that the bum was drifting away. As he was doing so, however, he addressed himself to the embarrassed youth, in such sober, educated Persian that their prayer beads suddenly froze in the palms of their hands: I’ve come for nothing, methinks. What am I to teach you? By the looks of you, you’ve all reached a state of purity compared to which I am nothing. My ways are messy, my teachings tentative, and my quest, far from pure, always gets entangled with my flesh, with my earthiness and my complicated commerce with the world. I am a failure, whereas you — just look at you! — you seem to dwell with the angels already! Now, if you will excuse me … And, with that, he slipped out of the inn. It was then, the story adds, that people at the inn realized that the sheik they had been waiting for had just left them.
A beautiful story to celebrate Christmas. When Christ was born he had no place even in the inn and his place on earth was in a stable within the proximity of animals and as the Bible says he was wrapped in whatever ragged clothe that was available. While Christ lived on this earth, he was not seen with the Pharisees, who were considered wise, but he was seen with the poor, tax collector, the sick, the out castes of society like the Samaritans and people who needed his touch and wisdom.
Today, we live in a world that celebrates surface values, the clothes we wear, the makeup we apply, the degrees that we acquire, the position and power we hold etc. But the most important thing always slips our attention. Namely acquiring wisdom. This wisdom is not the wisdom of the books or intellectual mastery but wisdom of a meaningful life rooted in humanity and in Divine image
There are two types of intellectual knowledge one can acquire. The first, which predominates in the world today through science and technology, is knowledge which exploits the ecosystem and human beings. This type of knowledge has resulted in creating extreme inequality and destruction of the ecosystem.
The second type of knowledge can be acquired through a deeper understanding of the biodiversity, the interrelationship between all existence and the responsibility that we have through our evolved level of consciousness to safeguard, protect and enrich the life of all creation.
In his path breaking encyclical Pope Francis has brought out this very well:
“In this universe, shaped by open and intercommunicating systems, we can discern countless forms of relationship and participation. This leads us to think of the whole as open to God’s transcendence, within which it develops. Faith allows us to interpret the meaning and the mysterious beauty of what is unfolding. We are free to apply our intelligence towards things evolving positively, or towards adding new ills, new causes of suffering and real setbacks. This is what makes for the excitement and drama of human history, in which freedom, growth, salvation and love can blossom, or lead towards decadence and mutual destruction.” …………Laudato Si - Chapter 2 section 79
Jane Goodall studied the Chimpanzees in Congo most of her life and she says:
“Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.”
Dr. E. O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University and called "the father of sociobiology" and "the father of biodiversity" Is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author who spent nearly 40 years in the Amazon forest researching on the leaf cutting ants writes:
"I think we ought to have another go at the Enlightenment and use that as a common goal to explain and understand ourselves, to take that self-understanding which we so sorely lack as a foundation for what we do in the moral and political realm. This is a wonderful exercise.“
Let our celebration of Christmas take on a new meaning - as a celebration of a new birth of this holistic awareness and our responsibility as the empowering consciousness and truly as a creation which is in Divine image.
Love to you all