Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Manifestation as God’s Thought

“We are interdependently co-arising collapsed possibility waves transiently manifesting as space-time events in God's mind. Agree? Or in Simpler non quantum version - We are on/off thoughts in God's mind manifesting as people, things and events. There is only God.”………….. Deepak Chopra

The higher aspect of meditation in achieving enlightenment is the principle of
Vaishvanara Vidya.
Isolated meditations on different conceptual entities were considered by the great teacher,
Ashvapati, the king, mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad, as defective. If you meditate on any specific thing, you are excluding something thereby. You cannot think one thing without excluding something else. The thought that something is excluded from the thought ‘that something is being concentrated upon’ is also a thought. Exclusion of the thought of some object from the thought on which the concentration is carried on is not possible because the thought that something is excluded persists, while the intention is not to think of the excluded object. It is like a story: someone told ‘When you drink milk, do not think of a monkey’; then every time the milk was taken, monkey only came to the mind. A strong will to impose exclusion results in an equally strong attraction towards that which is excluded. This is the dynamics of the mental process. All thoughts result from certain frame of reference combined with accretion of memories or impressions.

There is no such thing in the history of the cosmos that one thing can be excluded entirely from the other. We can not study the solar system in isolation without the effect the Milky Way Galaxy has on its orbit around the Galaxy. The idea of exclusion is futile, because to exclude another thing from one thing, the mind that excludes should be present in that object also which is excluded. This is a trick that is played by the mind.

This is why the great teacher
Ashvapati mentions to the six great sages who went to him for learning the art of meditation on the Atman that they are all defective. He asked questions, ‘O Great Sages!’ On what do you all meditate?’ They gave different answers. Various, different, totally
isolated concepts were the objects of their meditation. The king said, ‘you are all making two mistakes: one thing is that the thing that you are meditating upon is outside you; this is one mistake; the other mistake is that the thing on which you are meditating is in one place only’.

If we try to contemplate on an entity in one place only then a natural corollary is that there is some other entity in some other place. Hence
Vaishvanara Vidya teaches the totally inclusive meditation.
Swami Krishnananda says in his commentary on ‘Brahma Sutra’; “If this meditation through the Vaishvanara Vidya process becomes intense, you will no more be there as a meditator of the Vaishvanara because of the Inclusiveness of the same. It is an All-Consuming Fire and you will not be there to behold It. You will be reduced to the Fire Itself.
Then what remains? A big blaze of Self-Identity, Universal in its nature. We cannot speak much thereafter about this, but if this Universal Conflagration of the Fire of Vaishvanara can engulf us, thrice blessed we would be and it will lead us to
Sadyo Mukti; you become liberated at once.”

This is what Deepak Chopra says in both scientific and metaphysical terms.

Love to you all

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Conquering our Animal Nature

Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”……….. Logion 7

The Logion 7 of the Gospel of Thomas is a tough saying to understand as there is a very deep Gnostic and esoteric content that is being delivered by Jesus.
In every human soul there is a constant struggle between the, human consciousness induced, free will and the divine destiny for which we are born in this world. The struggle is heightened by the Ego dominated decisions that we take in our spiritual progress. The action of the self can very well be explained by the action of the three Gunas as propounded in Vedic philosophy. These three Gunas are
Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. While Sattva is the Guna of spiritual evolution, Tamas (inertia) and Rajas (passion) are the prime cause of spiritual degradation. Rajas and Tamas are needed in one’s life but they have to be balanced in right proportion to propel one towards attaining the Sattvic Guna. Animal nature is predominated by the Rajasic and Tamasic Gunas.

An animal is rooted in whole of its life in a gross body-bound existence; its life is confined to the satisfaction of hunger, thirst, sex and sleep. That is animal life. Sex is there, because the law of biological evolution requires that the species should not become extinct. Therefore, for the continuity of the species, reproduction is indispensable, and for the process of reproduction, sex activity becomes an inevitable part of the biological, physical animal. Thanks to the reproductive process in the biological, evolutionary scheme of things that life on earth, ordained by some mysterious superconscious being, continues. So, these characteristics of sex, hunger, thirst and sleep form the root nature of life on earth. The whole life is nothing but a constant effort to satisfy hunger, thirst, sex and sleep and this is present in the animal man. So far, it is all right. Its presence is no dire calamity or disaster. But, if it becomes the more dominant part of your life-style, then it becomes a dangerous predicament, because you have reached a level where the biological evolution has brought you to the peak point, where quite another aspect of evolution is supposed to commence. This is the evolution of consciousness towards a higher self.

Hence for a man to eat a lion means that he partakes of the animal nature in his existence but transforms it into his own higher nature. This is similar to the vegetable or fruit one eats and the vegetable or fruit has now become human flesh and bone. Jesus says that the Rajasic quality that has been now assimilated in the metabolic act is indeed lucky as it has now been elevated to a higher nature.

In contrast, if we allow our animal nature to dominate our life, then we are reduced to a lower nature of existence. Tau Malachi, writing his comment on this saying says that there is a constant struggle between
Nefesh Behamit (the bestial soul) and Nefesh Elokit (the Godly soul). This is a concept adopted from Gnostic Kabbalah.
In Gnosticism,
Yaldabaoth, the lion headed demiurge, is the symbol of fallen Gnosis or wisdom as opposed to Sophia which symbolizes divine wisdom.

Hence this saying clearly instructs us to aspire towards conquering our animal nature, of being rooted in an act of sense gratification, and elevate our consciousness towards a higher plane of existence.

Love to you all

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peace of Christ

The day after tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Christmas. Christ messages had strong undertones about peace. It is interesting to study the background of the word peace from a linguistic, historical and wisdom tradition perspective.
The Aramaic word that was used by Jesus was ‘Salaam’ which then took the form of ‘Shalom’ in Hebrew. The word ‘Salaam’ continues even today in the Islamic and Sufi traditions. The city of Jerusalem was named thus because it was intended to be the ‘city of peace’. ‘Ur’ is the word in Aramaic for city and ‘salaam’ for peace.

Shalom, in the liturgy and in the transcendent message of the Christian scriptures, means more than a state of mind, of being or of affairs. Derived from the Hebrew root ‘shalam’ – it means to be safe or complete, and by implication, to be friendly or to reciprocate. Shalom, as term and message, seems to encapsulate a reality and hope of wholeness for the individual, within societal relations, and for the whole world. ‘Shalom Aleichem’ in Hebrew and the Arabic ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ means ‘may you be well’. Here the word ‘well’ is an all encompassing state of well being. It covers the four areas of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual potentialities of any individual being greeted.

The Gospel of John is perhaps the only canonical text which tries to evoke the deeper elements of Christ ministry. In this Gospel there are five times the word peace is mentioned as spoken by Jesus, twice before his death and thrice after his resurrection. I will quote these passages for reference:
  • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” …….. John 14:27
  • “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”……. John 16:33
  • ……. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”………. John 20:19
  • Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."…. John 20:21
  • ………. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”……… John 20:26
The importance of peace as a gift to a spiritual seeker, that is for anyone aspiring to become the Son of the Father, is vividly brought out as peace is chosen over the gifts of this world and all the teachings of Christ is for the ultimate purpose of attaining the inner peace which is so essential for realizing our true identity as being one with the Father. The Spirit manifestation of Jesus after resurrection always invoked the ‘peace greetings’.

Given this context it is important that we understand the meaning of peace. Peace is the state of harmony and balance of both the body and spirit. This is the reason that today Chakra healing always addresses the balancing and free harmonious flow of energy through the Sushmana, Pingala and Ida nadis. In all his teaching Jesus insists on a balanced way of life irrespective of whether it be eating, drinking, fasting or physical purification in the physical arena or in the purification of the spirit through forgiving, sharing, praying and worshiping. We are answerable only to inner spirit that dwells in us. “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”…..
Luke 12:3

Jesus was the prime mover of individual consciousness from a moral domain to an ethical sphere.
Moral was imposed through laws of the old covenant and this was what Jesus witnessed in his lifetime and his teachings and through a new covenant, He targeted at invoking the ethical behaviour dictated from the pure consciousness of the indwelling Father to achieve inner harmony and completeness. Let us in this Christmas season make a beginning towards a purely inner cleansing so that we may attain a true vision of the Father through Christ consciousness.

May the Peace of Christ be with you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Attaining Inner Tranquillity

We are in the festive season of Christmas and the overwhelming message this season brings is that of peace. Peace is not an isolated attribute that stands outside of one’s personal ambit. The Buddhist concept of peace has three dimensions. These are: inner peace; peace in the community of humankind; and ecological peace or peace with the Earth.

Once the Buddha standing on top of a hill with his disciples exclaimed; “Indeed, this world is burning with many and various fires. There are fires of greed, fires of hatred, fires of foolishness, fires of infatuation and egoism, fires of decrepitude, sickness and death, fires of sorrow, lamentation, suffering and agony.”

The three areas which give rise to suffering or lack of peace are; greed, hatred and ignorance.
Here, the myopic impulse of "greed" indicates uncontrolled desire for, and attachment to, material comforts, for wealth, power or fame. Desires of this kind aggregate and multiply without cease, and since their fulfilment, cannot bring true and permanent happiness; a person in their grip is condemned to continual torment and aggravation.

The deluded impulse of "hatred" describes such emotions as resentment, rage and envy which are triggered when our egocentric desires are not fulfilled. Unless controlled, this escalates into various forms of annihilation and aggression. Simply put, the misleading drive of hatred is the violence that grows from an egocentric view of life.

"Ignorance" refers to wilful ignorance of reality, or the true nature of life and the cosmos. Thus it is the deluded impulse that generates disharmony and revolt against the principles that govern the true nature of the cosmos. The wisdom which illuminates and reveals the true nature of the cosmos is referred to as "enlightenment," while this kind of wilful ignorance is referred to as "fundamental darkness" because it clouds and obscures the light by which we might see things in their true nature. Of all the deluded impulses, Buddhism considers ignorance the most fundamental.

Jesus came to remove this ignorance in the world. Judaic spirituality had lost its fundamental grounding due to influence of the ritualistic worship, pagan influence due to captivity and slavery under the Babylonians and Egyptians and the intellectual onslaught of Greek thought. The Buddha came to remove the ignorance introduced due the caste dominated Vedic knowledge dissemination. The fundamental richness of Vedic spirituality was lost in the rigmarole of rituals and caste domination. This is the reason the true spiritual Vedic tradition considers Buddha as an incarnation of the cosmic principle, Vishnu.

To have peace on earth every individual needs to have inner tranquillity. Tranquillity of mind comes from having successfully transcended greed, hatred and ignorance."

For those of us who follow Christ as our spiritual guide, his life and his words, deeply interpreted through the scriptures, are the tools for bringing inner peace.

Love to you all

On 23rd December there will be a more in depth post on “Peace of Christ”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Prayer of Silence

So high above all things that be
Is God uplifted, man can dare
No utterance: he prayeth best

When Silence is his sum of prayer.

…Thinkest thou, foolish man,

that with thy clapping tongue

Praise of the silent Godhead fitly can be sung?
…… Angelus Silesius

The great Polish Christian mystic, physician and poet writes these beautiful words in his book
“The Cherubinic Wanderer”. Man has a very limited view of the divine especially when he feels the need for a communion to convey his innermost feelings. The ability to use language, while it has enhanced the development of knowledge of the manifest creation, both in understanding its nature as well as in the act of controlling it, woefully falls short in communicating one’s inner state of emotions and feelings to a perceived power that has the ability to respond in a positive way towards alleviating a current state of need to one of fulfilment. Language is an evolutionary tool in the development of the human brain and hence the human mind. But mind itself is the field of action of consciousness in evoking thoughts for which language gives expression. The etymology of the word ‘evoke’ clearly points to the direction of action. Evoke comes from the Latin word ‘evocare’ which means ‘to call out’. When we need the attention of an external sentient being, we call out but when we need the attention of something of inner nature we need to ‘invoke’ and invoke comes from the Latin word ‘invocare’ which means ‘to call in’. This is the reason that the great mystic says that only foolish men resort to clapping tongues to call the divine.

Carmelite spirituality is based on
Lectio Divina. It is the most traditional way to grow in an intimate relationship with God and it is by means of this relationship that we are transformed and rendered capable of living the Divine word in all its fullness. A monk in the 12th century described the fundamental elements of Lectio Divina: - read the Word of God (lectio); reflect on the Word (meditatio), respond to the Word from the heart (oratio); rest in the Word (contemplatio).

The process of contemplation changes the human ways of thinking, loving and acting into divine ways. Our human ways are very limited and so when we read the Word of God, we are limited by our experience of life and by many other factors. It is said that one can find in the Bible reasons to support any position. It is therefore not sufficient just to read the Bible; our way of looking at things must be purified. When we meditate on the Word of God, we try to understand its meaning and what message it may have for our lives but when we do this, we are still limited. Our little world must be enlarged and our minds reformed according to the mind of Christ. When we pray from the heart, we are still using human words. Our words and thoughts, no matter how beautiful, are still human words and thoughts and it is therefore necessary that they too be purified by the Word of God. This is a divine dialogue and not a one way communication.

St. John of the Cross wrote that God spoke one word and that word was His Son; this Word God repeats in an eternal silence and in silence must it ever be heard by the soul.
Lectio Divina moves towards silence. When our words and our beautiful thoughts are no longer sufficient, only silence can give an adequate response to the Word of God.

Love to you all

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Karmic Consequences

His disciples asked him and said to him, “Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?” Jesus said, “Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.”………. Logion 6

Continuing in the series of commentaries on the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas, in this short note let me bring out a fundamental facet of truth that needs to be appreciated. The disciples question is primarily in the mode of living but restricted to the sensory disciplines, which is no doubt important for any spiritual aspirant. This signifies the current preoccupation of mankind. We are always under the influence of our material world both exterior and interior. This is the reason that we assume that controlling the senses and disciplining the body would be sufficient to advance in spiritual living. The radical shift needed from the Mosaic Law-oriented-ritualistic spirituality (which was primarily installed to bring together the twelve tribes of Israel who had been under the slavery of Egypt, into a coherent society in a new land), into a spirituality that was focused on the individual to be liberated from their own ignorance of authentic Godhead, was the messianic mission of Christ. It is not that we have to belittle the mission of Moses and his law keepers, the Pharisees and Sadducees. They inherited the disciplining ways and the ritualistic rules as authentic spirituality from a social perspective. This we see in all organized religions even today. But Christ was on a different mission. This is the reason that he goes beyond the question of his disciples. His answer reveals an entirely new dimension of action, one that is oriented beyond the senses and in the realm of one’s consciousness.

The advice he gives his disciples reflects the advice of the Buddha in which the primary threefold classifications of right path are in the area of wisdom, ethical conduct and right concentration. In these three domains can be fitted every action (by way of body, speech, and mind) that will have karmic results (a.k.a. reaction). Wholesome and unwholesome actions will produce results and effects that correspond with the nature of that action. It is the right view about the moral process of the world and one’s existence as an integral element in it that is important. Apart from disciplining the body, about which the disciples ask him. The right speech and the right intension are of paramount importance.

The last part of Jesus saying here is very powerful and reveals a great ontology. The belief in an external God sitting in judgement over man was not the message of Christ. He already defined the location of the kingdom of heaven as something at the very core of one’s existence. “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
…… Luke 17:21 The individual consciousness, being an integral part of the Cosmic consciousness, is a transparent domain wherein there is no place for concealment. All our conscious actions as living, acting and thinking individuals leave a karmic imprint and it is regarding this revelation that Jesus talks to his disciples. The reason that we have a limited view of the role of individual consciousness is because we isolate it through ego-centric perception as “I am the doer, I am the thinker etc.,” Gnostic Christianity did not believe in eternal damnation but in reincarnation, which to say the journey of the soul or individual consciousness through diverse levels in many existences towards an ultimate evolution to merge with the undifferentiated and unsullied Universal consciousness which is true definition of Godhead.

Love to you all

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Budding at Reference Potential

Here ‘Reference potential’ has to be defined or else it leads to a gross error. ‘Reference potential’ means neither positive nor negative with respect to a given value (the reference can be constantly elevated but it is still known as ‘Reference potential’). This given reference potential with respect to humans is the Karmic potential with which we take birth. Through a life in our current manifestation there is a natural capacity to transcend to a higher reference level by reaching into our higher level of consciousness. Through this the reference is constantly elevated. The act of free will has the capacity to alter this potential, through either polarity (positive or negative), in a non-harmonious mode, contrary to the Cosmo-karmic intended aggregation.

“The Tathagatha avoids the two extremes and talks about the Middle Path.
What this is, that is; this arises, that arises.
Through ignorance, volitional actions or karmic formations are conditioned.”….. (Samyuktagama, Chapter 12)
This ignorance of which The Buddha speaks is the false knowledge that all actions have to have an ego/mental origination.

Hence this warning s issued in verse 36 of Tao Te Ching. “……………..To destroy something, lead it to its extreme. To preserve something, keep to the middle……………”

“Although we speak of opposites, they are not truly antagonistic elements. All opposites are part of the same entity. Like a two-headed snake, which is the symbol of Gnosis in Kabbalah, opposites are two parts of the same whole. Like the symbol of Yin-Yang, they define one another, as black defines white. They alternate with one another, as war alternates with peace. Whenever any phenomenon reaches its extreme, it will change toward its opposite, just as the darkest night begins to change toward dawn, and the coldest winter is followed by glorious spring. ………….. This is the wisdom of the middle ground. Followers of Tao change a situation when it reaches its apex. By joining their efforts to a new situation that is just budding, they attain perpetuity”………….. Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

Though this explanation has been adequate, it needs a little more elaboration of what we want to achieve through this process. Every act in our life has to be oriented towards a greater fulfilment of our true potential. Many times we are driven by a desire to increase our capacity, whether it is physical, mental or emotional, so that we think of ourselves endowed with a capacity for superior performance in our life journey. This notion could be highly contrary to the way we need to deploy our potentialities. Take for example the body building regimen of a Mr. Universe contest. This tends to be an exercise which results in a compromise in other human faculties. This is true in all our acts of cultivating our given potentialities. By appreciating the interdependency of all our potentialities (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), we need to nurture our potentialities by raising the entire middle ground or reference plane. This involves our appreciation of our interdependence with all creation at a cosmic level.

Love to you all

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dilemma Regarding Dwelling

King Milinda had a series of dialogues with the venerable sage Nâgasena and one of the dilemmas that he tries to resolve deals with a man’s dwelling place.

“Venerable Nâgasena, the Blessed One said:In friendship of the world anxiety is born, In household life distraction's dust springs up, The state set free from home and friendship's ties, That, and that only, is the recluse's aim.”

But on the other hand he said:

“Let therefore the wise man, Regarding his own weal, Have pleasant dwelling-places built, And lodge there learned men.”

The question of Milinda is “Now, venerable Nâgasena, if the former of these two passages was really spoken by the Tathâgata, then the second must be wrong. But if the
Tathâgata really said: "Have pleasant dwelling-places built," then the former statement must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem, now put to you, which you have to solve.”
Sage Nagasena’s answer in the original text deals with the fact that both statements are those of The Buddha
(Tathâgata) but the first was in the context of a subjective necessity when one undertakes an ascetic life and the second statement was in the context of the Sanga or community living wherein a pleasant dwelling place populated by wise men becomes necessary.

A deeper understanding of these two statements of the Buddha from any individual’s spiritual journey in this life becomes mandatory in today’s world. It is the mind which is the primary dwelling place and the two sayings address the necessary action of an individual with respect to conditioning one’s mind.

If one chooses the path of Raja Yoga, relationships and material possessions are the impediments if they are predicated to the self. When one starts to posses or cling to any worldly entity viritis (modifications) happen.
Swami Satchidananda says “Every thought, feeling, perception, or memory you may have causes a modification, or ripple, in the mind. It distorts and colours the mental mirror. If you can restrain the mind from forming into modifications, there will be no distortion, and you will experience your true Self.” Hence this is addressed more to the mental domain.

If one chooses the
Jñana Marga, the ambiance of learning and the need to populate one’s mind with empowering knowledge devoid any constraints becomes necessary. Here again the important meaning for the dwelling place is the inner sanctum wherein true wisdom finds a dwelling. This is what the Buddha indicates in the second passage cited by King Milinda.

In summary, the vital need for renouncing (does not mean casting away but means not clinging to) the outer dwelling which is the physical body and nurturing the inner sanctuary (which is the Spirit) through wisdom is the path to spiritual ascendancy.

Love to you all

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Clothed in Love

In continuation of the post I did on the importance of the physical senses as being the primary portals through which man must aspire for higher consciousness, I present the thoughts of some eminent spiritual leaders of the past in how the process of transcendence can be initiated in our earthly manifestation.
In his commentary on the
“Odes of Solomon” Swami Nirmalananda Giri quotes the Zoroastrian sage, Kaspar, who said: “Man was a thought of God, formed in the image of the Septonate (seven sages), clothed in the substances of soul. And his desires were strong; he sought to manifest on every plane of life, and for himself he made a body of the ethers of the earthly forms, and so descended to the plane of earth. In this descent he lost his birthright; lost his harmony with God, and made discordant all the notes of life. Non-harmony and evil are the same; so evil is the handiwork of man” through the body which the Essene teacher Elihu called “the body of desires.”

The esoteric and Theosophic writings in the "Aquarian Gospel of of Jesus Christ", an apocryphal text states in chapter VIII verse 7-9, “The lower self, the carnal self, the body of desires, is a reflection of the higher self, distorted by the murky ethers of the flesh. The lower self is an illusion, and will pass away; the higher self is God in man, and will not pass away. The lower self is the embodiment of truth reversed, and so is falsehood manifest.” Its is the body of desires that separates us from God by turning us outward away from the inner kingdom of God toward the transient world and creating in us a myriad desires, none of which cannot be fulfilled because nothing in the world can ever be possessed, but only grasped and eventually lost.

There is, however, another body, the “body of union” that is the immortal spirit. Regarding this the Essene teacher Salome said: “Now spirit loves the pure, the good, the true; the body of desires extols the selfish self; the soul becomes the battle ground between the two.” Those who ensure the victory of the spirit over the flesh are the ones who truly love God, for true love results in the union of the lover and the loved.

Hence this process of conflict is the field of Kurukshetra wherein the two aspects of the self are in constant struggle. Let us listen to Sun Tzu’s advice in the ‘Art of War’: “Warfare is the way of deception”. It is exactly through this principle of deception that the lower self, through its myriad illusions, wins the battle. The senses which are the beneficiary agents of perception need to be constantly informed of the deception to which they are being subject to. The best way of achieving this is to feed them gratification at a higher plane which they would be able to grasp in a progressive manner.

Man has been created as an altruistic being capable of infinite love. Do we not feel an elation of joy when we behold happiness in our own children? The bond of love is the bridge through which happiness of the self can be realized through happiness of others. This is the reason that selfless service for happiness and well being of others and the nourishment of the ecosystem brings joy to a subject of this love relationship.

Let us cloth ourselves with love for all that we behold and through this magical garment we will experience a move towards our higher self.

Love to you all