Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gunas in Right Balance

In Samkhya philosophy a guṇa is one of three "tendencies": tamas, sattva, and rajas. Each of the three gunas is ever present simultaneously in every particle of creation but the variations in equilibrium manifest all the variety in creation including matter, mind, body and spirit.
The following story illustrates the process of attaining this balance.

“Shiva wished to teach a lesson to the Rishis who were proud of their learning. Shiva took the form of a mendicant with a begging bowl in hand, accompanied by Vishnu disguised as Mohini. The rishipatnis (wives of the Rishis) were attracted by the sight of this beautiful pair. While Mohini enticed the sages by her voluptuous dances, the Mendicant appeared before their wives and started teasing them. The wives fell for the Mendicant and the sages went crazy over Mohini and forgot their wives for some time. When they saw their wives completely bowled over by the Mendicant, the sages got angry and scolded the Mendicant for his behavior. The Mendicant stated that he only wanted to lead an ascetic life along with his wife, Mohini, like the sages. He can’t help if the sages and their wives fell for them.
The Rishis grew angry and tried to destroy the pair. They performed a sacrificial fire and raised a tiger from the fire, which sprang at Shiva. Shiva pealed off the skin of the tiger and wrapped it round his waist. Then again the Rishis sent a poisonous serpent and Shiva tied it round his neck. Then the Rishis sent against Shiva an Apasmara Purusha (dwarf), Muyalaka, whom Lord Shiva crushed by pressing him to the ground with his foot.”

This story told many times has a deep significance to our own journey in our human life.
Shiva as the mendicant represents the transformative element of the unsullied human body and Vishnu as Mohini represents divine wisdom which always accompanies the human in this earthly manifestation.
The proud rishis and their consorts symbolize the worldly trappings, both in the physical and intellectual or wisdom dimension. The moment we undertake the earthly journey we come under the coveting influence of the factors that assail our mind and spirit. The higher the resistance we put up the higher the effort of the worldly forces to derail our spiritual progress. This process is attempted through the three gunas and their influence on our consciousness.
The tiger that is launched symbolizes the attribute of Rajas and a spiritual person must use it wisely to wrap it around himself in a single minded focus to attain a higher level of spiritual progress. You cannot allow rajas to devour you or consume you.
This is the reason that Jesus said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat (or conquer), so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human." .... Gospel of Thomas saying 7
The snake that is produced from the fire symbolizes the worldly wisdom, which though is an integral part of divine wisdon has taken on the poison of illusion, and it has to be contained at the Vishuddha charka (throat) level to communicate divine wisdom through the worldly knowledge whose poison has to be eradicated. This is how sattvic attribute empowers a human to be in balance in this human existence.
Finally the world launches the dwarf Apasmara - Purusha (the man of forgetfulness) who embodies indifference, ignorance and laziness. Creation, indeed all creative energy is possible only when the weight of inertia (the tamasic darkness of the universe) is overcome and suppressed.
Lord Shiva represents the perfect balance of all the three gunas in a spiritually tuned person.

Love to you all

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Surrender to Merge

It is enough that one surrenders oneself. Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being. Do not delude yourself by imagining such a source to be some God outside of you. One’s source is within oneself. Give yourself up to it. That means that you should seek the source and merge with it.
………… Ramana Maharishi

It is the fallacy of religious ‘dogma promoters’ that our source of being lies somewhere else. This is mainly due to the teachings of religions which had located God as the source and outside of oneself. But all original thought leaders in various religious traditions have always insisted that the source is not outside of oneself.

Jesus says “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'there it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.” Mark the words of Jesus “the kingdom of God does not come by observation”. Today we are told in Quantum Physics that all physical reality is the result of observation. Minus the observer we live in a universe of possibilities or potentialities. Hence spatially locating any reality including God is an illusion or maya.

Buddha calls all physical reality and subject-object duality as ‘dependent co-arising from the ground of inter-being’. The three dharma seals highlight this tendency and how to attain insight.

The three dharma seals are:
• The relative is impermanent
• The separate Self does not exist
• Nirvana is the ultimate reality

The Three Dharma Seals are inter-related:
• Impermanence is from the point of view of time.
• Non-self is from the point of view of space.
• Nirvana is from beyond space and time.
Nirvana is merging of the self with the source. It is the deepest realization that we are the source and we are all beyond space and time.

Love to you all

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fire in the Heart

Ah, once more he put a fire in me,
And once more this crazy heart
is craving the open plains.
This ocean of love breaks into another wave
And blood pours from my heart
in all directions.

Ah, one spark flew
and burned the house of my heart.
Smoke filled the sky.
The flames grew fierce in the wind.

The fire of the heart is not easily lit.
So don’t cry out: “O Lord, rescue me
from the burning flames!
Spare me from the army of thoughts
that is marching through my mind!”
…………. Jallaudin Rumi

The fire in the heart is not easily lit. This is the process of constant inward cleansing and powering the Chakra energy to rise from the base level and realize its union with the cosmic energy descending from the crown Chakra. The Hebrew word for ‘blessing’ is defined by Sigmund Mowinckel as a ‘power’. Divine blessing is the power of the flesh and the spirit in perfect balance.

This is the reason that the ‘Anahata (heart) Chakra’ is represented by a yantra of two inverted triangles, the Star of David. The cosmic downward flow and the human aspiration or love for union rising upward for a perfect union.
This union is not an act of culmination but a step in the process of continuous creation through its outpouring as beautifully captured by Rumi as “This Ocean of love breaks into another wave, And blood pours from my heart in all directions.”

Rumi also gives us the way to achieve this stage of spiritual development by imploring the divine to “Spare me from the army of thoughts that is marching through my mind!”
Stilling the mind and focusing on this inward journey of the blessings of the flesh and the power of the residing cosmic energy, sets the stage for igniting this powerful spark of creative love which is life affirming.

Love to you all

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stuck in the Classical Mud

“Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all.” …………. Gospel of Thomas

“Stop asking if the glass is half full or half empty. Instead ask "What's in it? How did it get there? What can I do with it?” ………………..David Kaufman

The classical question of whether a glass is viewed as half full or half empty depends on your genes according to scientist. Variations in a mood altering gene influence whether or not people take a pessimistic or optimistic view of the world, researchers believe. They found that different versions of the gene, which is involved in the transportation of the wellbeing chemical serotonin, affect whether or not we are drawn to negative or positive aspects of the world. Those with a long version of the gene tended to have a "sunny disposition", dwelling on positive aspects of life and deliberately downplayed the negatives. Those with a shorter version did the opposite. The psychologists behind the study believe the findings could help develop new treatments for anxiety and depression.
This finding is a classical mechanistic and Newtonian view and classifies all individuals to a predestined type without examining the possibility and natural ability of individuals to transcend to higher levels of consciousness through which they can alter their psychic predisposition.

It is the malady of the human mind that refuses to travel beyond a point which it arbitrarily determines is its limit of exploration or journey. On the contrary, it is social conditioning and environmental restriction that set the limitation. The liberating words of Jesus echo the process of a fuller journey that we can undertake and thus alter the perceived biological limitations. In the process of seeking all dimensions of our existence must be examined and when the perceived is outside of known parameters disturbance occurs but if we are open to acceptance of those new realities the initial disturbance will then be transformed into a marvel or wonderment. This transformation will give us the power to lead a fuller life.

Do not live just in the head but live through the full potential of your heart, soul and body.

Love to you all

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Find Your Own North Star

“The North Star -- Stella Polaris -- is a fixed point that can always be used to figure out which way you're headed. Explorers and mariners can depend on Polaris when there are no other landmarks in sight. The same relationship exists between you and your right life, the ultimate realization of your potential for happiness. I believe that a knowledge of that perfect life sits inside you just as the North Star sits in its unaltering spot. You may think you're utterly lost, but brush away the leaves, wait for the clouds to clear, and you'll see your destiny shining as brightly as ever; the fixed point in the constantly changing constellations of your life.”
………………. Martha Beck from her book ‘Finding your own North Star’

This suggestion seems pretty simple but in real life situations there are three positions that we can find ourselves. First there is a person firmly positioned on the solid ground or traversing an ocean, second a person could be piloting a plane and needs a reference and finally when a reference is needed in deep space.

The value of the North star as a referral object reduces as we move form the solid earth based plane to the atmosphere and finally into deep space, where all references become highly relative and distorted. The magnitude of dimensions that are needed for reference and their inter-relationship increases as we move from the lower strata to the higher planes of existence. This is very true for our own spiritual lives.

In Bhakthi marga (prayerful devotion) one needs only scriptures, prayers or mantra and image focus. Rituals become the channel of devotion. In Karma Marga one needs unattached service where annihilation of the ego becomes very essential. Nishkamakarma is the next higher plane of existence and here the entire creation becomes the focus one’s devotion through unattached service. The existence at the highest plane for human souls is the Jnana Marga and one needs an intuitive inner journey to find one’s referral point.

This is the reason that 'Para-Brahma Upanishad' of Atharva Veda states that:

“Then to this realized person reality (i.e. true wisdom) constitutes the inner tuft and sacred thread. To the Brahmana desirous of liberation is (allowed) the state of the inward tuft and sacred thread. The wearing of externally visible tuft and sacred thread (is necessary) for the householders engaged in rituals. The characteristic of the inward sacred thread is not clearly visible like external thread; it is the union with reality inwardly.”

……….PB U-3

This inward reality is the North Star by which we must steer our soul

Love to you all

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Duck with a Human Mind

"But how carve way i' the life that lies before,
If bent on groaning ever for the past?"
- Robert Browning, Balaustion's Adventure

The blog title is one of the subsection titles in Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth”.
If you observe ducks in a pond you will notice that sometimes they pick up a fight especially if one is close to another, threatening its private space. The fight is vigorous but lasts only a few seconds. After the fight they go in the opposing direction and vigorously flap their wings to release the tension built up.
If the duck had a human mind then it would start wondering why the other stopped fighting. He will start to wonder if the enemy duck is on to something more sinister. He is flapping the wings to show his strength. At any moment he will turn around and attack again. Forgiveness and forgetting the past is the biggest problem of the human species.

Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” also sites a Zen story to illustrate the past we tend to carry.
“Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country mud road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.

The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the Loding temple, Ekido couldn't restrain himself any longer. "Why did you carry that girl across the road?" he asked. "We monks are not supposed to do things like that."
“I put the girl down hours ago.” said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?”

Dr. Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, a holistic healer writes “Holding onto regret is analogues to carrying a rock with you wherever you go. Depending how much regret you carry depends on how big the rock is. Carrying this extra weight drains your energy, leaving less available for your present endeavours. Because you are constantly feeding old issues you are continually weighted down. Holding regret creates illness the same way watering a dead plant creates root decay. You know that something new and wonderful can grow if you prepare the soil and plant the seeds you want to grow. Likewise you need to plant the seeds for the life you want to live. You plant the seeds for your life through your thoughts, which creates your feelings—fear, happiness, sadness, anger—which in turn impact everything in your life.”

“Focusing your mind and energy fully in the present allows you to fuel your physical and emotional healing and well-being. This action frees your energy to create the dreams you choose. By bringing the responsibility and action into the present, you release your hold on the past.”

Unload the past walk in the NOW.

Love to you all

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Doctrine of Avatars

Jesus' true position as a Teacher and Saviour of humanity can never be fully appreciated without an understanding of the doctrine of Avatars. An Avatar is one who through his own efforts continued for many ages has finally reached the place where reincarnation is no longer a Karmic necessity. He has gained the right to freedom from rebirth, but deliberately chooses to return to earth for the benefit of suffering humanity.
As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita:
“I produce myself among creatures, O son of Bharata, whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world; and thus I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness.”
The great Avatars appear in definite cycles, and each of the larger cycles includes and influences several smaller ones. The great cycles are those marked by the appearance of Rama, Krishna and Buddha in India, of Menes in Egypt and of Zoroaster in Persia. The Buddha was the last of the great Avatars, and the cycle in which Jesus appeared was one of the smaller ones within the great Buddha-cycle.
The legends surrounding the lives of all Avatars are similar. All of them have a symbolical meaning and should be so interpreted. As Jesus was an Avatar, it is natural that the legends with which we are all familiar should correspond in every way with those of his predecessors.

The mothers of Krishna, Buddha and Jesus are said to have been Virgins. "In the early years of the Kali-Yuga shall be born the son of a Virgin," says the Vedanta. The Gospel of Matthew states: "Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son."
Krishna descended from a royal family, Buddha was the son of a King, and Jesus is said to have come from the royal line of David. Krishna was brought up by shepherds, the first disciples of Buddha were shepherds, and Jesus was worshipped by shepherds at his birth and is called the "Good Shepherd."
Buddha and his cousin Ananda were born at the same time. The visit of Buddha's mother to the mother of Ananda and the mutual greeting of the unborn children is repeated in the Christian story of Mary and Elizabeth.
Krishna was persecuted by the wicked tyrant King Kansa who, hoping to destroy the new prophet, ordered the destruction of all the male children in his realm. According to the Gospels, the same thing happened in Jesus' day as Herod killed all the new born male children.
As a child, Buddha astonished his teachers with his great learning. It is said that Jesus discussed philosophy with the Jewish doctors, "and all that heard him were astonished at his learning."
Buddha went through the temptation of the world, the flesh and the devil as personified by Mara. The Gospel of Matthew records: "Again the Devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory of them, and saith unto him; 'All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Krishna, Buddha and Jesus were friends of the poor and humble. Each of them is said to have washed the feet of his disciples. All three are credited with miraculous cures.
Krishna is said to have died on a cross, nailed to it by an arrow. Buddha is represented in many temples as sitting under a cruciform tree, or with a cross on his breast. The crucifixion of Jesus is accepted by all Christians.
After his death, Krishna is said to have ascended into Svarga, Buddha into Nirvana, and Jesus into Paradise.
So what is in a name or religion as all point to eternal truth.

Acknowledgement: THEOSOPHY, Vol. 24, No. 8, June, 1936, (Pages 346-350)

Love to you all.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lattices of the Lamp

What are "I" and "You"?
Just lattices In the niches of a lamp
Through which the One Light radiates.
"I" and "You" are the veil
Between heaven and earth;
Lift this veil and you will see
How all sects and religions are one.
Lift this veil and you will ask---
When "I" and "You" do not exist
What is mosque?

What is synagogue?
What is fire temple?
……….Sa'd al-din Mahmud Shabistari (1250 – 1320)

The wisdom of the Sufi saints was profound. To understand this we need to look at the link between Islam and Sufi tradition. The Qu’ran informs us that Islam is not something that began with Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago, but with the creation of the universe in which Adam was the first Prophet. Adam really means primal man, a concept similar to the Vedic Manu. Sufism is the timeless art of awakening the higher consciousness through submission to the Divine Will. The Sufi doctrine goes far beyond history and is rooted in the primordial covenant all unborn souls made with their Creator...

This view point is also reflected in all mystical traditions of the Middle East. Kabbalah states that the world of creation in the tree of life, known as Malchut, is the descended and dimmed light of Adam Kadmon (Primal light of God), which resides in the region of Keter (Crown). This light itself comes from the Ein Sof (Divine fullness). It is the same divine radiance that manifests itself in all creation.

The beauty of the poem cited above authored by the Sufi poet, Sa'd al-din Mahmud Shabistari, reflects this thought. All differentiations are lattices. This is the reason that Islamic architecture so heavily depended on lattices in marble and symmetry in execution. The light that resided inside can be reflected with minimal obstruction.

Every culture has to have its own lattice and the example of the lamp shielded by an external lattice or veil is very apt in depicting the differentiation. If we reside in a very windy area we cannot have an exposed lamp and its need proper glass covering to protect the flame from going out. So also in a terrain where there are moths and insects but the air is still we need latticed cover so that maximum light is available without allowing entry for the insects. If we have a light source that is rugged and provides enough energy to fuel the flame in extreme conditions, we require only a mechanical protection so that the flame does not burn through accidental contact. All great spiritual teachers, like Prophet Mohammed, were lamps that required no lattice or veil. For them differentiation was absent and under the glow of divine love only one Umma (community) was needed. A verse in the Qu’ran, after all, proclaims that Allah has created different “tribes and peoples, so that they should get to know each other”, hence Umma is a spiritual community operating on a higher plane of consciousness and not a religious identity.

Hence all cultural deviance must be given value in understanding the one light that resides in all but it would be foolish to value the cover of the lantern without tending to the need of the flame whose core function is to give light.

Love to you all