Sunday, June 28, 2009

Language of Nature

Therefore the greatest understanding lies in the signature, wherein man (viz. the image of the greatest virtue) may not only learn to know himself, but therein also he may learn to know the essence of all essences; for by the external form of all creatures, by their instigation, inclination and desire, also by their sound, voice, and speech which they utter, the hidden spirit is known; for nature has given to everything its language according to its essence and form, for out of the essence the language or sound arises, and the fiat of that essence forms the quality of the essence in the voice or virtue which it sends forth, to the animals in the sound, and to the essentials in smell, virtue, and form.
...... Jacob Boehme

During the tsunami of 2004 not one animal in the wild was killed. They seemed to have a mode of communication and perception of the danger. If we study the Empire Penguins of the Antarctic, after feeding for two weeks in the sea, the returning females can pick up its mate in a colony of over ten thousand birds. Dogs know exactly when the master is returning home.
Nature behaves in a very connected way. They are able to read hidden patterns in magnetic energy fields, minute changes in gravity and many other parameters to which we have become insensitive. They seem to operate in their everyday life on a broader blueprint of existence which is now called ‘Morphic field’. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, the Cambridge plant biologist, was the major proponent of this concept, through his Hypothesis of Formative Causation in the early 1980s. It is described as consisting of patterns that govern the development of forms, structures and arrangements.
In his book “Dogs that Know When Their Owners are Coming Home, and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals (1999)”, Dr. Sheldrake analyses many case studies involving animals that go to provide unassailable proof of the heightened perception and communication in animals.

Why has man lost this ability in his evolved consciousness? This is mainly due to the rational mind dominated perception of reality. We fragment all our perceptions in a series of logical and sequential steps and reconstruct a reality. The cut and pasting process, in the structuring of reality, uses the glue of ego dominated and heavily altered consciousness. The moment we withdraw from the rational thought process and intuitively look for, as Jacob Boehme says, signatures in our awakened consciousness, a new reality becomes manifest. The native cultures and tribes had this capability as they lived very close to nature.

Let us listen to the language of nature through an intuitive journey into the very core of being.

Love to you all

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beauty Beyond Being

That, beautiful beyond being, is said to be Beauty – for
It gives beauty from itself in a manner appropriate to each,
It causes the consonance and splendour of all,
It flashes forth upon all, after the manner of light, the
Beauty producing gifts of its flowing ray,
It call to itself,
When it is called beauty.

The above words are classical expression of the sense of beauty in early western mystical tradition by Pseudo-Dionysius in his book ‘The Divine Names’.
St. Augustine testifies to the permanence and eternity of beauty when he writes: ‘Too late came I to love thee! Beauty ever ancient, ever new, too late came I to love thee’.

Human gaze is not a fixed view but of creative and constructive quality through which we perceive every object for its intrinsic as well as extrinsic value. The way we look at things has a great influence on what becomes visible to us. If a house has been closed for a long time then a film of dust settles down on the windows. Decayed residue gradually blocks out all the light. The same happens to the human mind. The moment it is locked up in straight-jacketed thinking based on socio-religious judgemental values, the light of divine wisdom gets blocked out. The beauty of creation and what lays in the inner most depths of manifestation becomes obscured.

Here the words of Dionysius can be appreciated. True beauty lies beyond the perceived qualities and aesthetic assessments of the mind operating in the domain of being.
For example when we look at a Galaxy we see what our eyes are able to comprehend. Therefore we have a limitation in seeing the spectrum of colours but for someone who can see in the infrared and ultraviolet, the picture is grander and evokes a sense of awe. The true manifestation to be appreciated must have an observer who can have attributes far exceeding those that is being observed. This will lead to a harmonious reception in the senses without any attenuation. This is the reason Dionysius observes that ‘It causes the consonance and splendour...’.

There is an uncanny symmetry between the outer and the inner world of man. All restrictive qualities of the mind driven by our evolved consciousness hinder the observation of true inner beauty. When we are able to liberate ourselves from the grid lock of time and memory, we can experience the ‘beauty beyond being’. This is the reason that Meister Eckhart, the great German mystic says: ‘Time makes us old. Eternity keeps us young’.

Love to you all

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Celtic Gayathri

This post comes on the summer solstice.

Hail to you, Sun of the Seasons,

Banisher of the darkness.
Hail to you, shining one of the sky,
Illuminator of the souls of each of us.
Hail, fire-dancer and earth awakener-
God of a thousand rays,
gilding the green-faced land
and shimmering on the timeless waters
of the mother's wisdom.
............The Celtic Book of Seasonal Meditation

We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds:
gross, subtle, and causal.
I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination,
and divine grace of universal intelligence.
We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.
............ Gayathri Mantra - A translation by Sathya Sai Baba

For the Celts, the summer season was the jewel of the turning year, and at its height was the midsummer solstice, the longest day when the Sun reached its zenith. The greatest Celtic fire festival took place around 21st June. It is thought to have been celebrated by druids gathered in the great monolithic circle of Stonehenge. They would greet the first rays of the sun with blowing horns, beating of drums and cheering. Bonfires were lit in honour of the Sun-god and staffs and wands were cut from sacred trees, symbolizing the sun energy imbibed wood as a potent tool of transformation. All their celebration was oriented towards celebrating the potency of the Sun-god. This day was the day of great triumph as the Sun-god overcomes the forces of darkness. This was also the time when the two great trees, the oak and the Holly, contended for the crown and the Oak triumphs in midsummer.

Celtic meditation for this season focuses on mother aspect of the Goddess, fertility, love and marriage, the Sun-god, solar energy and the element of fire. The divine power of the Sun, which was understood and venerated by the Celtic tribes, finds a parallel in the Vedic worship. In the Sanskrit Vedas, numerous hymns are dedicated to Surya/Mitra dev, the Sun personified, and Savitr, "the impeller", a solar deity either identified with or associated with Surya.

Even the Gayatri mantra, which is regarded as one of the most sacred of the Hindu hymns is dedicated to the Sun. The Sun-god in Hinduism is an ancient deity, worthy of immense worship. The Sun is referred to in Sanskrit as "Mitra" or "Friend" down to the invariable warmth, life-giving nature and optimism its light brings to mankind. He is called "Prati-Aksh Devta" meaning "The Seen Divinity" and worthy of much worship and reverence.

On this day, the druids also celebrated the journeying into the Otherworld, the Sidhe (the inhabitants of the mounds, similar to fairies). Though the Sun shines during the day its energy is retained and transferred during the night through the sustaining inertia of Mother Earth, This symbolizes the inner region of one's existence and the nourishment of both the manifest as well as the unmanifest.

Love to you all

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Worship of the Divine Feminine

“O Goddess, remover of affliction, be gracious, be gracious, O Mother of the entire world. Be gracious, O Queen of the universe, protect the universe. You, O Goddess, are the Queen of all that moves and does not move.”..... Devī Māhātmya 11.2

"When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be"
. ..... “Let it be” song by The Beatles

Worship of the divine feminine is one of the most ancient religious expressions in India. It has become a truism among scholars of Hinduism that worship of goddesses has its basis in the Indus Valley civilization ( 2500-1500 B.C.E) or another indigenous Indian culture (Austric or Dravidian) rather than in the Vedic or Brahmanic tradition which was imported into the subcontinent during the second millennium B.C.E. by waves of Aryan immigrants. The general argument, stated with various degrees of refinement, is that the pre-Aryans, being concerned mainly with agriculture, worshiped female (and to a lesser extent male) earth deities who represented fertility, regeneration, and the processes of life and death. The Aryans, on the other hand, being nomadic cattle herders and warriors, worshiped primarily male sky deities. When the Aryans settled in India, the argument continues, they took up agriculture and gradually assimilated the indigenous culture(s); thus, the various philosophical movements and cults that came to be called Hinduism are a synthesis of Aryan and non-Aryan elements.

The early inhabitants of India, in the pre-Aryan era, worshiped the mother godess and the Naga, the snake which was the spiritual symbol of wisdom. The snake as the symbol of wisdom can also be traced to the Sumerian tradition, wherein the first episode of genesis in the Bible has its origin. Later the Sophia in Gnostic tradition symbolised the female wisdom of the cosmic potential which due to the action of the dimiurge (creator deity) descended to to the worldly manifestation. All these point to the need for us to pull back to the original state of recognizing the primary Sophia present in all creation especially in the human species and to fully empower this dimension to raise our consciousness to a cosmic plane.

Today the healing touch of the mother is needed much in this world which is ravaged by alienation from a state of being to a state of greed of having. The earth as the mother which abundantly provides its riches from its very being is the only source of our life.

Be it the ancient mantra of the Devī Māhātmya or the 1970 song of Paul McCartney, there is an inner urge in us to reach out to the divine mother in us, irrespective of the name or iconic symbolism that we may employ.

Love to you all

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Defining a Heretic

Two men were on a cruise ship together and began to talk.
Finally one of them asked,
“Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”

I asked, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too!

Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too!

What denomination?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Moderate Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too!

Are you of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!” Are you of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, you heretic!”

(By the way this joke by Comedian Emo Philips is called “the funniest religious joke of all time!”)

As individuals we are steered by our egos and the ego operates through identification. Identification comes from the Latin root “idem” which means “same” and “facere” which means “to make”. The ego operates by the mode of identifying external objects and attributes as belonging to the individual. When we are children the first identification starts with ‘my toy’. At this point of time any toy will do but soon the toy acquires an attribute such as ‘my red remote controlled car’. The older we get we start personalizing more and more things in the material world and in our own personal attributes such as I am tall and handsome, I am successful in business, etc,. The entire thought process in the mind is driven by identification.

The joke sited above, though preposterous, is a good example of how every religion has evolved over its history.
Heretic is one who does not conform to an identity as defined by ego and power dominated authority and nothing to do with fellowship of truth or life empowering practice.

In Islamic theology, the Shaytan and his minions are "whisperers", who whisper into the hearts of men and women, urging them to commit sin. This is where the desire to sin comes from, according to Islam.
The whispering is the constant voice in the head promoting thoughts and identities so that you are away from full awareness.
A true heretic is one who operates away from a full awareness of our true spiritual nature and who is rooted in identities driven by the ego. Remove the identities and listen to your authentic self.

Love to you all

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Law Beyond the Scriptures

The world of religion thrives on a judgemental mode of deliverance for its flock. The whole idea of good living is driven by what is right and what is wrong based on Vedic pronouncements, Manu Smriti, Moses Law, Islamic Shariat etc,.
Action is sequel to thought unless it is involuntary as when one faces danger. Involuntary actions are driven by our evolutionary consciousness such as survival instincts.
Thought again is conditioned by our nurturing to a large extent. This is where our morality and ethical behaviour takes root.
From early childhood we are conditioned by our parents and religious diktats as to what are perceived as right action.

A broader view was given by Buddha through his ‘Eightfold path’. Ethical conduct was prescribed through: right speech, right action and right livelihood. These three elements of conduct were preceded by right intention. This is where conditioning the mind to operate in the mode of empowerment rather than being judgemental becomes important. A robot can be programmed and controlled based on a set of instructions but man as a spiritual being needs empowerment to reach his higher potential. Each one needs an unique set of programmes based on one's own Karmic backdrop.

In the ‘Gospel of the Essenes’ an Apocryphal text, there is a beautiful saying of Jesus in response to the disciples asking him “We all do the laws of Moses, our lawgiver, even as they are written in the holy scriptures.”

And Jesus answers: "Seek not the law in your scriptures, for the law is life, whereas the scripture is dead. I tell you truly, Moses received not his laws from God in writing, but through the living word. The law is living word of living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life is the law written. You find it in the grass, in the tree, in the river, in the mountain, in the birds of heaven, in the fishes of the sea; but seek it chiefly in yourselves. For I tell you truly, all living things are nearer to God than the scripture which is without life. God so made life and all living things that they might by the everlasting word teach the laws of the true God to man. God wrote not the laws in the pages of books, but in your heart and in your spirit. They are in your breath, your blood, your bone; in your flesh, your bowels, your eyes, your ears, and in every little part of your body. They are present in the air, in the water, in the earth, in the plants, in the sunbeams, in the depths and in the heights. They all speak to you that you may understand the tongue and the will of the living God. But you shut your eyes that you may not see, and you shut your ears that you may not hear. I tell you truly, that the scripture is the work of man, but life and all its hosts are the work of our God. Wherefore do you not listen to the words of God which are written in His works? And wherefore do you study the dead scriptures which are the work of the hands of men?"

This thought of Jesus is beautifully reflected in the words of Rumi.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other make no sense.”

………. Rumi, from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Love to you all

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Searching for Sujatha

I just completed reading Deepak Chopra’s “Buddha – A story of Enlightenment”. This book is a historical fiction with characters introduced to develop greater spiritual meaning to the historical Buddha and his teachings.

What impressed me was the way the renunciation of princely life by Siddhartha is handled by Deepak in his book. The young Siddhartha is under constant tutelage of a venerable Brahmin from his early childhood but the teacher is an ally of the father king who wants to hide reality and truth from the young prince. What Siddhartha is taught is paper knowledge and ritualistic obligations. He is never allowed to question and his enquiries are deflected. This conforms to the knowledge slavery that is practiced by organized religions today. But in spite of all this masking there is an innate desire for Siddhartha to know the absolute reality.

The story takes an interesting turn from the original Buddha life story as Siddhartha’s first hold to his materialistic existence, his love interest, disappears from his life. Sujatha is her name and she comes from a poor family in the distant village where the King had banished all infirm and non-valuable citizens of his kingdom. This signifies the banishment of basic human values from one’s life while trying to achieve personal glory and power.
Siddhartha seeking Sujatha is symbolical of one’s search for the true inner beauty. Sujatha in Sanskrit means beautiful.

The prince leaves the palace, on his stallion, with the assistance of a low caste servant who is a stable hand.
The purpose of the rearing of horses was for the King to launch wars. The purpose of Ashvamedha (horse sacrifice), which had to be performed only by the King was to gain glory and power over his enemies. It was a glorified act of a Great king flaunting his superiority by letting loose a well bred horse which was free to go where ever it wanted. When it entered the territory of another ruling king, the king there either challenged the Great king which resulted in war or submitted and paid tribute to him. This defined the Great king’s superiority. Prince Siddhartha performs a different type of Ashvamedha as after reaching the village of Sujatha, an alien territory, he surrenders to a new reality and through this act he gains a new domain of consciousness and the power of insight into seeking a new path. What a high caste Brahmin, symbolizing Jnana, could not impart is brought to the consciousness of Siddhartha through this servant, experiential knowledge. He takes Siddhartha to the place of human reality which is suffering, aging and dying. Even there the prince does not find his Sujatha or the beauty of his inner self. But this experience is the portal through which he makes a transition to a new stage in his path towards self realization.

I highly recommend this book which is written in simple style but with deep meaning.

Love to you all

Friday, June 5, 2009

As Above So Below

To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour...
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The wild deer wandering here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
……….. William Blake (1757-1827)- Auguries of Innocence

Today is the ‘World Environment Day’. Newspapers have talked of Green Peace hanging banners from a new bridge in Mumbai and we have doomsday scenario painted by climate change evangelists but where does the fundamental problem lie.

The world will survive all the abuse that we heap on it because it had survived total wipe out of all life forms about 260 million years ago due to a volcanic eruption in the Emeishan province of south-west China. It unleashed around half a million cubic kilometres of lava, covering an area five times the size of Wales, and wiping out marine life around the world.

It is the human race that needs to worry as to what type of world we are going to leave for our progeny.

It is an awakening of consciousness and our inseparability to all existence that we need to address.
Stan Grof, the eminent Psychologist and Systemic thinker, says that there are four stages of evolution in morality and ethical behaviour.

“First is the primitive fear of being caught and punished, second is the conformance to a set of commandments or precepts that have been assimilated into one’s superego. The third step is the discovery of Karma, where one realizes that certain types of actions entail certain consequences. The fourth and the highest form of morality reflect experiential recognition of the unity underlying all of creation, a sense of identity with other sentient beings and an awareness of our own divinity. In this kind of psychospiritual evolution, the changes of our morality reflect the changes in our understanding of ourselves, of the world and our place and role in this world.”
It is only through this highly evolved awareness that we can save ourselves and heal the wounded Gaia.

This is so beautifully reflected in the stanzas of the poem cited above.

Let each one of us contribute towards this awakening through knowledge and action.

Love to you all

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pentecost – A Spiritual Message

Last Sunday was the feast of Pentecost in the calendar of the Christian church. Today Pentecost evokes very strong memory in people of a sect of Christianity (Ceylon Pentecostal Mission), existing in every continent with nearly 10 million followers, clad in white and strongly and vociferously proclaiming salvation only when baptized in the spirit.

Pentecost (Ancient Greek: πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], pentekostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth day") is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year.
What is the real significance of this event, as enumerated in the Bible? Historically and symbolically it is related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus, Pentecost now also commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2.

The event that is described has to be understood in a more esoteric sense. Jesus was very Eastern in His approach to spirituality and when He promised to send the spirit, He was not speaking of some external third person or entity. The word that Jesus used for the spirit was the Aramaic word ‘Ruah’ which was translated as ‘Pneuma’ (πνεύμα) (an ancient Greek word for "breath.") This finally found its way into the modern Bible as ‘Spiritus Sanctus’ or Holy Spirit. The closest translation for ‘ruah’ can be found in the Sanskrit word ‘prana’, which is the consciousness nurturing energy of the Cosmos. (According to language scholar, Dan Winter, philological investigation points to Hebrew, Sanskrit, Aramaic, Arabic, and other elder dialects having older roots and a parent language of Gaelic and quite possibly an even earlier origin.)

In the human body the seventh Chakra or energy centre is located a few inches above the crown of the head and is known to be the portal of cosmic connectivity. It is the meeting place of Kundalini Shakti and Shiva. It is the merging of the male and female attributes of cosmic consciousness, a portal of pure radiant energy.
In Sahasrara Chakra the prana moves upward and reaches the highest point. The mind establishes itself in the pure void of Shunya Mandala, the space between the hemispheres. At this time all feelings, emotions and desires, which are the activities of the mind, are dissolved into their primary cause. The union is achieved. The yogi is sat-chit-ananda, truth-being-bliss. He is his own real self, and as long as he stays in his physical body he retains non-dual consciousness, enjoying the play of lila without becoming troubled by pleasure and pain, honours and humiliations.

The tongue of fire, above the head of each apostle, is the shinning of this portal that all beholders, who were tuned to this reality, were able to witness. This is a transfiguration that lifted the apostles to a new plane of consciousness as after this event they were neither afraid of the Jews or Romans nor worry about their own pain and humiliation.

Each one of us could reach this state of consciousness but it may not happen in fifty days but surely in fifty eons. Eons here has to be defined as a period of time which would be based on each one's spiritual progress. But we are all destined for our own Pentecost, one in which we do not look for worldly miracles and gift of toungues but where we realize our true spiritual nature.

Love to you all