Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Qualification for True Discipleship

Mary said to Yeshua, “What are your disciples like?”
He said, They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, “Give us back our field.” They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them.
For this reason I say, if the owners of a house know that a thief is coming, they will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into their house (their domain) and steal their possessions.
As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can't find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come.
Let there be among you a person who understands.
When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!..........Saying 21 "Gospel of Thomas".

Mary Magdalene was the wisdom disciple of Yeshua and had always asked penetrating questions to the Master. Here she asks the Master what are the qualifications of a true disciple of Yeshua.
There are a number of elements which the Master says that would qualify a true disciple.
The first of these is that a true disciple realizes that he or she lives in a domain and whatever possessions that he or she may have does not belong to them and is willing to surrender the same without any inhibition. The temporal abode in which we spend our lives and all that the world has to offer are not ours to possess. Any attachment leads to a distraction from our intended path. True renunciation is a state of being in the world and yet be ready to relinquish all that the world has to offer at any point of time through a deeper understanding of material nature.

While this is the true, when we live in this domain which is not truly ours, we possess something very valuable and which can be lost if we are not on guard. The very nature of our attachment to terrestrial comforts and worldly offerings can distract us so that the powers of the material world can steal away our true possession. This true possession is our untainted consciousness or our Divine nature.

This is the reason that the Master warns severely that one needs to be vigilant and always alert so that the world does not steal away our Divine nature.

The two questions then that come to our mind are; if we are in a domain which is not ours, why are we planted here? And what is true detachment?

Bible scholars, Funk and Hoover refer to Mark’s saying in the canonical Gospel to find an answer. “As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come”………Mark 4:29. The field of existence is one of enrichment wherein the individual consciousness is planted to grow and mature to a higher level of existence. This concept is heavy in connotation of removal of Karmic imprints through spiritual practice so that there could be transcendence towards Divine nature. This is exactly what the Master says at the end of this saying. The maturing grain is shed of all trappings, including the field in which it grows, at the time of harvest into the Master’s granary from where it could be used according to the Master’s desire.

In order to understand the true meaning of detachment or renunciation one has to refer to the very first available dialogue in the “Gospel of Mary”. Here to question of Mary to the Master, “Will matter then be destroyed or not?” The Saviour said, “All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots. For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
This realization is true renunciation as the dichotomy or duality of existence is resolved. The fundamental nature of all that exists is in the Divine plenum.

A true disciple of the spiritual Master has to have this outlook of total renunciation of all that aids in his or her spiritual maturing process so that when the time comes for the harvest the disciple is ready to be welcomed into the Divine domain which is one’s fundamental nature.

Love to you all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eucharist in the Early Church

In her paper “Metaphors of Sacrifice in the Liturgies of the Early Church” Stephanie Predew writes:

“With the fall of the Jerusalem Temple to the Romans in 70 C.E., the Jewish ritual setting for sacrificial worship was destroyed, and from the ruins of the Temple, two new religions emerged: what would later become Rabbinic Judaism, and what would later become Christianity. Both nascent religions grappled with questions of what would constitute their scriptural canon and what would constitute Mishnah and Talmud (in the case of Rabbinic Judaism) or creed and doctrine (in the case of Christianity). At the same time, the liturgical practice of each religion was evolving, and neither religion adopted or re-instituted a program of animal sacrifice according to Biblical (Levitical) law.

The liturgical practice of each religion came to focus around meal, prayer and study, although in different ways. Within Rabbinic Judaism, the Sabbath meal took place in the home; prayer and scripture study took place in the synagogue. Among Christians, scripture study, prayers and meals took place first in gatherings in private homes (the earliest sites of Christian worship) and then in churches. While the ritual practice of sacrifice was abandoned by each religion, Christian liturgy took up images of sacrifice and employed them in Christian worship. These metaphors of sacrifice were taken from scripture and from prior Jewish liturgical practice, but also entered the liturgy due to influence from---and perhaps mimetic rivalry with---Greco-Roman mystery cults.”

The early Christian scripture “Didache” written in parallel with the Gospel of Matthew was addressed to the Judeo-Christians with an additional accent on rituals. The opening declaration of the Didache is “Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles”

The Eucharist was understood in a more practical and esoteric way than in a pure mystical sense.

Based on recent research into Jewish prayer forms, Didache 9 seems to be based on the meal or Kiddush blessings in which a cup and bread are blessed at the beginning of a meal. The prayers in Didache 9 and 10 do not contain explicitly sacrificial metaphors in reference to the meal or to Christ himself. Jesus is referred to as God’s child (the same Greek word might also be rendered servant). Jesus is proclaimed as the agent of knowledge, faith and immortality, and this immortality is somehow bestowed in part through the spiritual food and drink of the Eucharist.

The prayer associated with the breaking of bread was:

"We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou hast made known to us through Jesus, thy child. Glory be to thee into the ages! Just as this broken bread was scattered over the hills and became one when it had been brought together, so shall thy church be brought together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom. For to thee belong the glory and the power through Jesus Christ into the ages..."

Ritual instruction was to exclude all who were not baptized.

"But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

The clear divergence from the current salvific sacrificial celebration to one of thanksgiving for the spiritual Gnosis made known through Christ can be seen in this early document. Apart from this intension, a prayer for unification, of the divided and broken consciousness of individuals who have received Christ wisdom, into one holistic and true understanding of the deeper mysteries of the Divine Kingdom, is also offered. The truly baptized are those who have not only received the baptism of water but also the baptism of the spirit and only they can receive this profound knowledge and partake in the ritual to truly understand its meaning.

Christ’s words are invoked to amplify this requirement when one is partaking in the true Eucharist.

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces”….Matthew 7:6

Receive the Eucharist with this profound and deep understanding. It is only then that we will be able to internalize the deeper meaning of Christ’s words to elevate our spirituality to a new level.

Love to you all

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dieing to the Self

“When Mamiya, who later became a well-known preacher, went to a teacher for personal guidance, he was asked to explain the sound of one hand.
Mamiya concentrated upon what the sound of one hand might be. ‘You are not working hard enough,’ his teacher told him. ‘You are too attached to food, wealth, things, and that sound. It would be better if you died. That would solve the problem.’
The next time Mamiya appeared before his teacher he was again asked what he had to show regarding the sound of one hand. Mamiya at once fell over as if he were dead.
‘You are dead all right,’ observed the teacher. ‘But how about that sound?’
‘I haven't solved that yet,’ replied Mamiya, looking up.
‘Dead men do not speak,’ said the teacher. ‘Get out!’”……….from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

The sound of one hand is a classical philosophical tenet in Zen Buddhism. This is given to wean away one from conceptualizing or seeking higher levels of consciousness through a mental mode. The concept that it is impossible to produce a sound when one hand exists by itself is a precognitive imprint in our mind.

There are three states, that the teacher says, which are acting as impediments to the student in understanding the sound of one hand.
First is the level of effort he is putting in (nature of application), second, his holding on to material things, knowledge and to concepts (attachment to duality) and finally the very state of being continuously subject to the operation of the body and mind (analytical approach) this is the reason that the teacher says it would be better if he should die.

Now let us analyse how we can tackle these states to evoke a higher level of consciousness.
All our seeking and its related activity are conditioned from our past karmic imprints and the current life accumulation of cognitive inputs. While life is given to eradicated aberrations in the consciousness that was accumulated in our previous existences, attachments and the resulting actions create more hurdles in our spiritual progress. It is important that we have to die to these attachments and resulting actions, which are our natural tendencies, in order to elevate our consciousness to the higher level.

The moment we are asked; ‘what is the sound of one hand?’ our immediate reaction and thought is to associate a subject, object duality to produce an answer. From this results a question as to how one hand in itself could produce any sound. We also qualify sound as something that must be heard in a conventional sense. This is similar to the question ‘Does the falling of a tree produce a sound in the forest when no one is around?’ The moment we introduce a subject all the difficulties set in. Hence it is necessary to remove the subject from the field of enquiry. This is the reason that the teacher says ‘It would be better if you died. That would solve the problem.’
Though the student ultimately understood that he had to die to the self in order to come up with the answer, he could not transcend the subject, object duality and resurrects his subjectivity by verbally articulating that he has not yet solved the puzzle.

If he had remained in a dead posture without answering the teacher, the teacher would have been given the answer in silence in his very being.

This is the concept of dieing to oneself which many spiritual traditions speak off.

Love to you all

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What is the Second Coming?

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.”…..Matthew 24: 37-39

Most times we interpret this saying of Jesus to His second coming at the end of time. But Jesus clearly amplifies this statement when further He says “Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.”………. Matthew 24: 40-41

Jesus is clearly talking about the end of each and every human being and the need to be constantly prepared through leading a spiritual life.

Each one of us is called to become a Noah. St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), demonstrated in 'The City of God' that the dimensions of the Ark corresponded to the dimensions of the human body, which corresponds to the body of Christ. Noah is the pure consciousness which is carried from one existence to another in this ark.

The Jewish Encyclopaedia states that “According to Midrash. Agadah on Gen. v. 29, Noah obtained his name, which means "rest," only after he had invented implements for tilling the ground, which, owing to the lack of such implements, had yielded only thorns and thistles (comp. Gen. iii. 18). In this manner Noah really brought rest to mankind and to the earth itself. Other reasons for this name are given by the Rabbis; e.g., Noah restored man's rule over everything, just as it had been before Adam sinned, thus setting mankind at rest.”

Thus the name and person of Noah is synonymous with ‘Rest and restoration’. If we examine the dynamics of Divine consciousness, it is always alluded to as ever resting. It is only when we perceive with our human consciousness that we see creation and its associated dynamics. Hence Noah symbolizes the Divine consciousness which is ever at rest and is ferried through the human body from one manifestation to another.

The coming of the Son of Man is always alluded to in esoteric interpretations to the descending of the Divine, all embracing consciousness, into the material world. Every son of man can become the Son of Man (with capital S and capital M) when his individual consciousness is integrated with the Father or the source of all consciousness. This is the reason that a flood, which eradicates all physicality is talked of as a prelude to the coming of a new covenant or a new manifestation through Divine intervention. The myth of the deluge and the flood indicates this deeper meaning in the Genesis.

The purpose of creation was pure and it was an emanation of the Logos but due to our own potency human consciousness embraces the darker side of its existence namely; the material world and its attractions. The first coming of Son of Man was in the virgin birth of Divine consciousness in every human being at the time of our birth. Though we become alienated from our true nature, the second coming of the Son of Man is to safely ferry this manifest consciousness through the deluge and physical annihilation into a new existence.

St. Paul writing to the Romans admonishes as to how one should prepare for this event in our life
“For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”………Romans 13: 11-14

May Christ consciousness restore our true nature!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Form, Mind and Essence

In the time of pralaya, or the night-time of the world, between two of its incarnations, all was quiet and the great trinity of deity - Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma * (* Footnote: Brahma is not the same as Brahman. The latter is a word for speaking of all three in unity, the former to indicate the third or creative aspect only.) - were taking a well-earned rest. At the approach of day Brahma woke up and, seeing Vishnu, touched him and said, "Who are you?" Vishnu replied, "I am the Lord of the world" But Brahma said, "That cannot be, for I am that." Then the two fell to quarrelling. While the dispute was going on there suddenly appeared a great pillar of light going upward and downward beyond their sight. The story says that Vishnu and Brahma stopped quarrelling, to wonder what this was. Brahma then flew upwards for a thousand years, trying to find the top of it, and Vishnu dived downwards for a thousand years, trying to find the bottom of it, but both of them returned baffled, and acknowledged that they had found something which they could not understand, and which was therefore greater than them. Then Shiva appeared from the pillar of light, told them that he was the Lord of the world - which they readily acknowledged - and ordered them to set to work upon a new world period of day. Brahma was told to attend to the form side of creation and Vishnu to the life entering the forms, but it was Shiva who brought them together and who said that he would be with them throughout the coming day, maintaining the harmony between them.

The point of the story is that the fundamental aspect of creation, which is the Cosmic essence (Shiva), which unites minds (creative principle- Brahma) and forms (manifestations- Vishnu) is more fundamental than either of them, and represents as it were the one deity in which both the others are contained. We have to think of the relational law or essence as the category of being in which mind and form are subordinate classes. There are therefore three categories namely; the ‘form’, ‘mind’ and the ‘essence’.

This is similar to the construction of a word in any language. The combination of letters of the alphabet that form the words are the forms (manifestation), the meaning of the words is the mind (the mind is that which gives a combination of letters a meaning) and the syntax or ordering or sequence of letters is the essence based on which the word is generated.

In western philosophy, it was St. Thomas Aquinas who articulated this categorization.

The quarrel between Brahma and Vishnu is a clear Aristotelian disposition. According to Aristotle; “form gives being, and matter receives it.” Nothing exists apart from its specific determination through the agency of an active principle which is the causality of a form. This form unites itself to what is able to receive it (and so some kind of passive principle is indicated). Matter and form, in joining together to constitute an essence (or what is an essence) constitute a specific kind of being or thing, a specific kind of substance. A “this” instead of “that,” comes into existence. Substance is essence, the “what it is” of a given thing.

But according to Aquinas; in metaphysical terms, act of existence is to be sharply distinguished from essence or, more specifically and properly; it is to be sharply distinguished from a finite essence which refers to the essence of a contingent thing (as this exists as a union of form and common matter). Cf. Summa Theologiae, 1a, q. 54, a. 3. Understanding a finite essence does not necessarily include understanding its being or existence. Concrete or real being or existence cannot be caused or derived from a nature or essence (with respect to the being of contingent things) even if, admittedly, one can say that natures and essences exist in a qualified sense as hypothetical entities which have been discovered or postulated and which can be employed by minds as explanatory conjugates.....(Essence in Aquinas and Lonergan - by Br. Dunstan Robidoux OSB)

This is reflected in a grander scale in current studies of sub-quantum physics and in Morphic fields of plant biology. This can be understood by looking at how basic vacuum energy at the sub-atomic level, being a vast informational field,(essence) give rise to substance such as atoms, molecules and DNA (finite essences) and through a coded informational execution the DNA forms organs and the human being (a manifesting form).

This fundamental cosmic essence is what we are in reality.

Love to you all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mighty Mustard Seed

“The disciples said to Yeshua, “Tell us what Heaven's kingdom is like.” He said to them, it’s like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.”………… ‘Gospel of Thomas’ - Saying 20

This saying from the Gospel of Thomas has many layers of meanings.

The first of these is that the form does not reveal the true potency of any manifestation. In the simplest of from this great truth is revealed by Yeshua. When you look up to the heavens, you see the stars and when the same is viewed through a telescope we have a different perception of magnitude. But when you have the view of the same star from the Hubble telescope located in space, the star becomes a Galaxy comprising of a billion stars. This is true from the microscopic to the macroscopic dimension. The fundamental structure is in the smallest of manifestation. This is the reason great minds like Einstein always said that there should be a very simple governing principle to the Universe. Hence the physical manifestation is not a limitation in reaching our true life purpose.

The second meaning in the saying is that just as the seed requires a well prepared soil to grow into a large plant so also one requires a well conditioned consciousness to grow into the realization that the basic unit of consciousness has a cosmic and divine purpose to its creation. A shift in consciousness to a higher level of being may be imperceptible but can have a quantum effect. It is similar to the concept that small changes in the temperature and pressure in some location in the atmosphere can cause a hurricane in some other part of the globe. This is called the ‘Butterfly Effect’. {The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely that small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behaviour of the system. Although this may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behaviour, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position……..Wikipedia}.

‘Falling on a well prepared soil’ is the initial condition and this is time independent and operates in the consciousness through ever present awareness of our true intended purpose of existence. The kingdom of heaven is a constant awareness of the Divine presence in all that we are submerged in. We see God not only in every cell of our body but in all manifestations.
When we are so aware, we would be able to establish a connection to the unmanifest as simply the ground of being for all that exists in the explicate order.

The third layer of meaning is the ultimate life purpose of moving to a higher level of being. Yeshua talks about the ‘becoming a shelter for birds of the sky’.
The seed and its initial germination are in a limited two dimensional plane. But the growth takes place in the third dimension and yet it has limited degree freedom. This is the ground reality of the consciousness in the material manifestation. The soul is imprisoned in the body but we can always open up the windows to invite and shelter the free spirit that constantly nourishes us and experience the Kingdom of God until the day when the prison doors are opened and we are free to merge with no physical impediments. This is the reason that in the Kabbalistic ‘Tree of Life’, the Kingdom (Malkuth) which is at the root of the tree has to ascend to the Divine plenum (Ein Sof). {Malkuth gives tangible form to the other emanations. It is like the negative node of an electrical circuit. The divine energy comes down and finds its expression in this plane, and our purpose as human beings is to bring that energy back around the circuit again and up the Tree………..Wikipedia}

The seed and the well prepared soil are fundamental to the actualization to a higher life purpose and it is for us to ensure that our seed consciousness is always embedded in constant awareness of the power of the manifested microcosm to reach its infinite potential.

Love to you all

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Emanation of Space

Tasmat va etasmat atmana akasas sambhutah........... (Tait. 2.1.1):
"From this Universal Atman, space emanated" - as it were.

Continuing from the last post on the representation of Lord Vishnu with four arms, the concept of mahima was explained. This is the display of mahima, which was manifest at the very beginning of creation and continues in its various form and name at every point in space-time, we see the limited aspect of space and derive our concept of existence. But the Taittirirya Upanishad provides an aphorism which captures the essence of a deeper reality reality.

I would like to quote Swami Krishnananda commentary on chapter 6 of the Taittirirya Upanishad at this juncture as it captures the meaning of the above verse from a modern cosmological context.

“This is something hard for us to conceive at the present moment. Space is actually the negation of the infinity of Brahman. Infinity does not mean extension or dimension - but space is extension, dimension, and distance. So, immediately a contradiction is introduced at the very beginning of the concept of creation. God is negated, as it were, for various reasons, the moment creation is conceived, one reason being that the creation appears as an external manifestation, whereas God - Brahman - is the Universal Existence. We know the difference between universality and externality. The moment there is the concept of space, there is also automatically introduced into it the concept of time. We cannot separate space and time. Duration and extension go together. Actually, according to modern findings at least, space and time are not dead appearances, lifeless presentations before us. For us, to our common perception, spatial extension may look like a lifeless dimension which does not speak, which does not think, which has nothing to say. Time also seems to be some kind of movement which has no brain to think; it is like a machine moving like a bulldozer in some direction. This is what we may think with our paltry, inadequate knowledge of what space and time are. Space and time are not dead things; they are basic vibrations of the cosmos. Motion goes together with space-time. Not only according to modern scientific terminology, but also in the ancient thought of the Agama and Tantra, one may say that the concept of space-time goes together with motion, force.

A tremendous vibration, an uncanny force is generated the moment there is the beginning of what we call creation. It is a central point that begins to vibrate - bindu, as it is called in the Agama Shastra. Bindu is a point. It is not a point which is geometrical, which has a nucleus; it is a cosmic point, a centre which is everywhere with a circumference nowhere, as people generally say. It is a point that is everywhere, which is inconceivable to ordinary thought. It is a tremendous vibratory centre. Modern astronomy also seems to be hinging on this point when it concludes there was a 'big bang' when creation took place - a splitting of the cosmic atom. The atom should not be considered as a little particle; it is a cosmic centre. The entire space-time arrangement is one point, like an egg - brahmanda, as it is called. A globular structure is easy to conceive, and so we call it an 'anda', a kind of egg - a cosmic egg. "Tadandam abhavat haimam sahasramsh samaprabham" (Manu 1.9) says the Manusmriti: "Even millions of suns cannot be equal in brilliance to that cosmic spot." Therefore, it is not a point as we can geometrically imagine. It is an inconceivable point.”

This concept can then explain the “Inflation Cosmology” in science. “In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation or just inflation is the theorized extremely rapid exponential expansion of the early universe by a factor of at least 1078 in volume, driven by a negative-pressure vacuum energy density. The inflationary epoch ….. lasted from 10−36 seconds after the Big Bang to sometime between 10−33 and 10−32 seconds.” ………Wikipedia

This perception also answers the question that many ask as ‘into what did space come into existence’. My understanding is "Inflation is nothing but simultaneous manifestation from a non dimensional cosmic singularity."

Love to you all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lord Vishnu and his Four Arms

The classical explanation is "Lord Vishnu represents the aspect of perseverance and sustenance of the Supreme Reality. A human body with four arms generally symbolizes Vishnu. The four arms of his indicate his omnipresence and omnipotence. His two front arms show his activity in the physical world and his two back arms signify his activity in the spiritual world." But I was looking for a more esoteric and cosmic meaning which I want to share with you.

Rishi Kumar Sharma in his book ‘The Ultimate Dialogue’ says; “The Sanskrit word mahima means the ‘dignity, magnitude or majesty’ of an individual. .., The word ‘individual’ refers to every single entity in the cosmos which has a manifest identity; that is name , form and function. In its technical usage, mahima means a sphere of radiance emanating from each individual.”
Every manifestation from an atom to the galaxies is endowed with this radiance which is a spherical beam of rays all around it, which makes it visible and gives a specific identity. This 360 degree of radiance can be divided into four quadrants of 90 degrees each. The entire cosmos posses this spherical radiance and each part of the four quadrants is called ‘swastika’. Since all manifestations are of divine origin and are contained within the Divine, Lord Vishnu as the sustainer is represented with four arms.
The four arms thus represent the four dimensional domain of space-time in which all the manifestations of the Divine takes place and the very space-time fabric itself being the implicate order which forms the sustaining potential of the unmanifest Divine.
The swastika has a similar attribute from four different frames of reference which have a common origin and this origin remains same irrespective of the plane of emanation of the four quadrants. Swastika has a 90 degree rotational symmetry and represents the cyclic nature of Divine action.

For me the conch represents emanation (material birth) and the Sudarshan Chakra represents termination (physical dissolution or death). Beyond these is the operation or action of consciousness in the divine realm. We can see this in all the episodes in Puranas, especially the Chakra being used by lord Vishnu to annihilate. The mace representing the action of subjugation or conditioning of the ego and the lotus represents divine wisdom, through which true self realization takes place and these two representations are the operation or action of the consciousness in the manifest realm.

A clear link is to be established between the above iconic representation and the mental model that could elevate one’s consciousness to a higher level.

The Cosmic quadrants are in space-time and are purely in the realm of the manifest or in the domain of the human perception. The Akashic world can not be comprehended as the Gita says in chapter 11 verse 48: “O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has ever seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charity, nor by pious activities, nor by severe penances can I be seen in this form in the material world.”

The reason we need a deeper interpretation is that though there could be metaphysical dimension from which we arrive at a particular symbolism as has been explained above, but we need a psychic dimension for a specific archetype as this is the route through which the Vedic seers and sages attempt to communicate the unmanifest, to the limited consciousness of common man, through a subconscious path.

The Divine manifestation can be grasped at the deeper psychological level through the understanding of the AQAL (All Quadrant All Lines) model of Ken Wilber, a contemporary American philosopher and psychologist. This model is the more esoteric interpretation of the swastika and the four arms of Lord Vishnu. (see the figure at the top)

The most desired representation which evokes a very meaningful symbolism is Lord Vishnu reclining in the ocean of universal or cosmic consciousness and his four arms in various positions, representing the actions in the manifest consciousness.

Love to you all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Killing the Inner Demon

We celebrate Deepavali today and many of us are aware of the mythology behind the festival.

“In Hindu mythology, Narakasura or Naraka is the asura son of the earth goddess Bhudevi (Bhumi) and Lord Vishnu in his Varaha (boar) avatar (incarnation). His mother, the earth, sought the boon from Vishnu that her son should have a long life, and that he should be all powerful. Vishnu readily granted these boons but put a rider saying that only he will be killed by his mother.
Narakasura became evil, in association with another Asura named Banasura. Drunk with power, as he knew himself to be unrivalled in prowess, he brought all the kingdoms on earth under his control. Next, he turned his eyes towards Swargaloka. Even the mighty Indra could not withstand the assault of this son of Vishnu and had to flee the heavens. Now Narakasura had become the overlord of both the heavens and earth. His reign of oppression was in full swing. Addicted to power, he abducted 16,100 women and imprisoned them in his palace.

All the Devas, led by Indra went to Vishnu, to ask him to deliver them from Narakasura. Vishnu promised them that he will attend to this matter, when he will be incarnated as Krishna.
As promised to mother earth, Narakasura was allowed to enjoy a long reign. At last Vishnu was born as Krishna. Satyabhama (believed to be an Avatar of Bhudevi - Narakasura' mother), was approached for help to end the atrocities of Narakasura. When Satyabhama heard of the Narakasuara's ill treatment of women, she was enraged. Satyabhama approached Lord Krishna for permission to wage a war against Narakasura. As promised to the Devas, Krishna attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda with wife Satyabhama. The battle was furiously fought. Narakasura possessed 11 Akshauhini (a division of the army) large army which he unleashed on Krishna. However, the Lord slew them all with little effort.
In desperation, Narakasura launched his great weapon, sataghini (a thunderbolt) on Krishna. However, it made no impact whatsoever on Krishna. At last, when Narakasura tried to kill the Lord with a trident, Krishna beheaded him with his Sudarshana Chakra (discus). Before, dying, the Asura requested a boon that his death anniversary should be celebrated by all people on earth.………………(Due Acknowledgement to Wikipedia)

This is the festival of Deepavali.”

There is a great spiritual significance in this myth.

The very first message we receive is that evil we perceive is also the very element of the divine, but which manifests when the higher level of consciousness takes root in the womb of material nature and is subject to corruption. This is the significance of Narakasura being born to Lord Vishnu and Bhudevi. The annihilation of all evil will take place only through our physical birth and in material nature because evil is not an attribute of the higher levels of consciousness.

The 11 Akshauhini represent the excess attribute of the guna of Rajas. It is in this mode that a corrupted ego operates resulting in duality and alienation from one’s true nature. We can see the same symbolism in Kurkshetra where the army of Kauravas had 11 Akshauhini while the Pandavas had 7 Akshauhini, seven being the numeric symbol of perfection.

It is also important to see that Satyabhama was given in marriage when her father Satrajit overcomes his ignorance in realization of the higher nature of Lord Krishna. The union with the divine can take place only when wisdom is evoked to remove all ignorance and illusions. This is the combined attribute which is carried by Garuda, the vehicle of transcendence, in overcoming the evil nature.

It is also significant that the liberation of 16100 women points to liberating the wisdom dimension in one’s nature to restore a satvic (Pure) existence in our lives.

This whole episode can be applied to each and every one of us. Deepavali is the festival where we celebrate the killing of the inner demon, our ego, which operates in the material dominated mode.

Happy Deepavali to you all.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sense of Surrender

‘God, whose love and joy are everywhere, can’t come to visit unless you aren’t there.’…………………….Angelus Silesius

It’s a great paradox, isn’t it? How can God visit us if we are not there? The human mental mode of grasping the act of an union involves physicality, that is you need two distinct entities in space and at the same time for an union to take place. But God, who transcends space and time, does not operate in these dimensions. It is only we humans, who operate in space and time, need these dimensions. It is for us to move beyond these restrictive dimensions through an intuitive process of an utter surrender. This surrender involves a process of dismantling our mental process of concretizing to the grosser level our existential reality.
In order to be who we truly are, we have to somehow surrender ourselves, to a state of non being.

This sense of surrender happens too in human relationships. Imagine two persons deeply in love and sharing a precious moment. A conversation is taking place, verbalizing the beautiful Sunset and the display of vibrant colours in the horizon. Both are very eloquent in their description and poetic in their rendering. Suddenly overcome by emotion one partner embraces the other and gives a loving kiss. I can bet there would be total silence. All chatter ceases. This is surrender or a loss of identity which had existed before and which is absolutely necessary for any conversation or dialogue.

We are loved. We are found. I think this is very much what we are offered in the spiritual life, a relationship with God in which we transcend all that nonsense about ourselves, all that chatter about not being good enough and how scary and awful everything is. If we allow it to happen, God holds us and transforms us like a lover.

A Christian contemplative who has actively pursued a spiritual life for 30 years tells this story:

‘I had always been moved by the longing of mystics like St Theresa of Avila or St John of the Cross. I spent a year at a convent after a failed relationship and family troubles; I read their words over and over. I had the romantic idea that I was going through the dark night of the soul. But for me it never ended, there was no big experience, no mystical illumination at the end. When I left the convent and became a social worker, I kept up my prayer life and contemplative practice, but it remained ordinary and dark for years. Now I realise that I was somewhat depressed and lonely — nothing very mystical about that.
‘Then, ten years ago, I made a retreat with Father Bede Griffiths, a radiant Old Catholic monk with an ashram in India. He had orange yogi-coloured robes and white hair, and deep joy beamed out of his being like daffodils shining after a long winter. We talked, and he told me that I had made up a whole story of how the spiritual journey should unfold. Then he held my face in his hands and beamed such love into me and said ‘Why not be your own unique self? That’s all God wants from you.’ And I wept and I danced and laughed at all I was trying to be. And now for years my life of prayer and contemplative practice has continued in its ordinary way, but I’m not depressed and I’ve come to love life. No great experience ever happened, but through loving myself, everything changed.’

Just being human can be very tough and lonely at times. Being human and struggling with the powers of oppression requires resistance, courage and faith, and none of these are possible, it seems to me, without love.

St John the Divine said:
‘The love of the heart is the candle flame that carries us through the road of darkness.’

And St Theresa of Avila said:
‘The important thing is not to think much but to love much.’

Love to you all

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Necessity of Contrast

“Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities,” Blavatsky wrote, “… but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.”
“Hence it will be apparent that the contrast of these two aspects of the Absolute is essential to the existence of the ‘Manifested Universe.’”

Whenever something is manifest, it is your conscious observation through waking consciousness that created it. Everything is created within your own consciousness. As Enoch Tan says in his article ‘You create everything within your Consciousness’

“There is nothing that would appear in your physical reality unless it had already existed in your thoughts or feelings. You might think that it is some external action that produced the result, and so you go about trying to change it. But your external action would not have taken place if it wasn’t created by your mentality and emotions. If your consciousness was different, you would receive a different set of results even if you had taken the same actions.”

This same action that an individual takes is observation which remains unchanged but the resultant manifestations are different at different points of time. This can be compared to the conscious observation of a river by someone sitting quietly on banks. The act that the person performs is looking at the river but at every moment he sees a different attribute of the river; clear water, floating debris or a wriggling water snake but if we move beyond the sensory inputs to our pure conscious perception, the river always remains a body of flowing water. This unpolluted image of the river gets modified due to the contrast provided by the senses.

In Brahma Sutra, aphorism 5 says; “Consciousness, not matter, is the primal cause of the cosmos (Eekshather na asabdam)”.

One of the subjects or themes of philosophy which Brahma Sutra refutes vehemently is Sankhya, the duality of consciousness and matter, known as Purusha and Prakriti. We are usually prone to accept the Sankhya doctrine since we ourselves feel that consciousness is inside us and the world is outside. So, there is a duality. Then, what is wrong with Sankhya? Don’t you believe that the world is material in its nature and you are conscious inside? This is what exactly the Sankhya doctrine proclaims. There are only two things in this universe, consciousness and matter. But this can not be as if consciousness and matter are distinct, how can we make a conscious observation of matter? This is the classical mind-matter dualism.

Unless matter is a subset of consciousness, it is not possible to have any conscious perception of exterior material reality.

If one could take a picture of his objective circumstances and his subjective mentality, he would find that they would be identical. For one is the cause of the other. One is the image and the other is the reflection of that image. Cause and effect are parts of a complete whole. One is the inside and the other is the outside of the same thing. Cause and effect are but two sides of thought. Spirit is both cause and effect. God makes things through the direct act of becoming the things which He creates. This is what we do, for our thought becomes the thing thought of. The thought and the thing are one, in reality.

Though there is a necessity of contrast as internal and external during manifestation, in reality cause and effect are inseparable whole.

Love to you all

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Four Stages of Awakening

When Socrates was in prison awaiting his execution, he heard his fellow prisoner singing a complex lyric by the poet Stesichorus. He begged the man to teach him the poem. ‘But to what reason?’ questioned the other. Socrates answered ‘So I may die knowing one more thing.’

This attitude is rare because we give up a lot as we near our end. Instead of expanding our intellectual and experiential horizon, we seek to limit ourselves through a false perception that as the physical capacity dwindles; it is inevitable that all intangibles that make up the richness of our life must also taper off. Attaining awakening is a process similar to life; until the very last moment we need to acquire a capacity to let go of our innermost cravings and this can be attained only through a deeper knowledge of ourselves and the false reality in which we are situated.

The dichotomy of our understanding of human life as a composite of two entities evolves from a position that is innate to our existence. We perceive the physical realm as being separate from our consciousness. But it is consciousness which gives us the capacity for a fuller life. If we realize that consciousness is the primary building block of the material world then we will take a different view of life. Every bit of knowledge and experience continues to enrich our consciousness and this in turn gives a greater meaning for our physical existence. This is not an intellectual exercise but a deeply felt mystical experience. It involves many stages.

This is the reason why Chinese Master Hsu Yun explained before he died at the age of 120, ‘There are many minor satories before a major satori and many major satories on the path of genuine awakening.’ All spiritual traditions have different way of expressing this process. St. John of the Cross equates this process to ascending Mount Carmel so that we can clearly see from the higher slopes.

Theravada tradition of Buddhism calls it the ‘Noble Understanding’. There are four steps in this process.

First is ‘Entering the stream’. When you enter the stream, the grossness of the body seems to dissolve and it is the same experience when there is a degree of freedom which one has not experienced due to our applying focused attention. In this first step a person sees through the illusion of separate self, releases identification with the body and mind and awakens to an alternate realty beyond space-time. Even though we see the truth there is further purification required to transform our character and embody this new understanding. This is done in the second stage.
Second stage is the ‘Returning Again’. This stage involves many years of practice in becoming aware of our coarse clingings and aversions so that we can release them. The only way to do this is by going through the sufferings that result from our attachments and dislikes.
Third stage is the ‘Non-returning’. In this stage we are permanently released form our attachments and desires, never to return. But this stage can be reached only by very few who have devoted their life to this path of great awakening. In this stage wisdom finds a resting place in the self and the self is guided in the path of awakening by a superior wisdom.
Final stage is the ‘Great Awakening’ in which the last traces of subtle clinging, even to joy, freedom and meditation, fall away. There is a perennial radiance of our true nature shining unhindered throughout our existence.

For most of us this requires many life cycles but this path is there for us to follow.

Love to you all

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10-10-10- In Fullness

“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”……… Luke Ch 17: 17-19

Dear friends today is a unique day as it is the tenth day of the tenth month of the tenth year of the third millennium and today the Catholic church takes a reading from the Gospel of Luke wherein ten lepers are healed.

We have to pause to reflect the first reading of this Sunday which is a reading from the book of Kings. In this reading “Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.”…… 2 Kings 5:14

The symbolism is very strong in both readings. Let us delve deep in to the meaning of these words.
In the Hebrew scripture the number seven was deemed as fullness as the entire creation, where in God’s spirit is enshrined, was made manifest in seven days or phases. We are told that Naaman immersed himself in the river Jordan seven times and the restoration of fullness is dispensed through the word of Prophet Elisha. Naaman was a Syrian and he receives the grace of the Divine.
Leprosy can be seen as a decease of deformation and decay from the ordained structure. Every human being has a structure in this manifestation which is determined by the combined action of matter and spirit. Matter itself is imbued with Divine energy or Prana which in Christianity we call ‘Spiritus Sanctus’. It is only through the balanced action of these two dimensions that one can maintain the wholeness. The primacy of the action of the Divine is revealed in these passages. The unblemished fullness is indicated by the author the book of Kings when he writes that Naaman’s flesh became again like the flesh of a little child.

The all inclusive action of Divine potential is not the birthright of the Israelites and it is told in no small measure that being born in a specific community does not guarantee Divine grace. You have to earn it by faith and all humanity is included.

In Luke’s writing, we hear of the ten lepers. Luke was a Greek-speaking Syrian physician who lived in the Greek city of Antioch in Ancient Syria and a great disciple of Paul. Luke was not an eyewitness to Jesus ministry but compiled his Gospel to provide a deeper meaning of Christ’s message to the Greek community for whom he addressed his writing. Now we can understand the influence of Greek learning. The number ten is a full count in the Greco-Roman world and hence the fullness is devoted to the number ten.

The story then takes a different dimension. The ten are told by Jesus to go show themselves to the priest and all are healed as they undertake the journey but only one gentile returns to thank Jesus. The commentary on this portion of the Gospel is very debatable as it is argued that the nine proceeded as they did not want to disobey Jesus but as I see it the nine are on the way to see the priests, who are designated earthly source of Divine grace, but only one of them, a gentile, realizes that Jesus is the true high priest, who is the primary source of Divine grace, and returns to the source of healing. Christ delivers a very important message that there is an all inclusive opportunity for the action of Divine grace but one has to be chosen to receive this grace through utter surrender and openness. This is reason he says: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” ……John 6: 44 and again, “No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of my Father” ………John 6: 65.

Every moment of our life let us surrender to the Divine will so that we may be totally healed of our deformities and receive the unblemished beauty of a child like nature.

Love to you all

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mystical Opulence

“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.”…………Bhagavad-Gita 9:4-5

This verse of Bhagavad-Gita is replete with contradiction and defies any mental exercise to understand what its meaning is.
If we take the first sentence it is easy to understand that the entire multiverse uses the very elemental structure of the Divine as its basic building block. (I am using the term multiverse instead of universe as current scientific knowledge indicates the possibility of many universes and our universe being one in which the physical laws make life possible. When considering the realm of the Divine, other universes cannot be excluded as the omniscience of God must be totally inclusive)

In the next two sentences, we run into a difficulty as we are told that while all beings are in the Divine plenum, you can not assume that the reverse is true. This is because we always assume a certain order of sequential logical thinking to comprehend a higher order of reality and conclude that the same sequence can be applied to understanding a lower order of reality.
Students of mathematics will easily understand my statement. This is known as ‘concept of Complementarity’

The logical conclusion is that mind is the basis of our reality, and matter evolves from it, not the other way around. A holistic logic system is postulated which could give us the reason for why Lord Krishna says: “All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.”

The wisdom of the Vedic seers is to be appreciated as nearly 5000 years ago they postulated a principle which today in science is known as ‘The Holon principle’. (A Holon (Greek: ὅλον, holos "whole") is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. Holons are autonomous, self-reliant units that possess a degree of independence and handle contingencies without asking higher authorities for instructions. These Holons are also simultaneously subject to control from one or more of these higher authorities. This word was coined for usage only in 1967.)
There are 12 principles that govern the concept of a Holon but I would like to highlight a few that are essential to our understanding of the text we are seeking to understand in a greater depth.
  1. The whole has more dimensions than each of its constituent parts. (All beings are in Me, but I am not in them)
  2. Each part is an aspect of the whole, seen from a lower order. (Atma / Pramatma relationship)
  3. The whole encompasses all its parts. (By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded)
  4. The whole is invisible from the orders of its parts. (This is why the Divine is beyond the space-time dimension)
  5. The whole is an undivided and homogeneous entity, while its parts appear as separate individual entities in their order. (Individual ego consciousness)
  6. Both the whole and its parts are real, but the whole has a more profound reality.
  7. The parts are wholes in their own right at a lower order. (God within yet limited in our manifestation with a capacity to transcend to higher order of reality)
  8. The whole is immanent in each of its parts. (Immanence, derived from the Latin ‘in manere’ – ‘to remain within’)
  9. It is impossible to perceive simultaneously more than one aspect of a whole undistorted from a lower order.
The Holon which is the Divine plenum can only be appreciated, to a greater degree, by applying these principles but never be experienced from a lower order as a creature. To experience this dimension, we have to transcend the higher dimensions through a non-mental, intuitive spiritual process. This is how the Divine mystical revelation takes place.

Love to you all

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

True Gnosis of Truth

“They who imagine truth in untruth, and see untruth in truth, never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires.
They who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth, and follow true desires.” ……..Dhammapada 1:11-12

The Buddha issues a warning to his followers in these words as to how we easily get trapped into defining a value system in our lives. An example is what we call a ‘white lie’. We deem it harmless to pay a complement to someone by making a false statement but the definition of what we say being harmless is a very personal judgement, driven by the ego, and can have severe repercussion if the recipient of the complement analyses the context of this particular situation and comes to know that there is no truth in the statement that has been just made. Seeing truth in untruth is an imagination and is the product of a conditioned mind.

This is the reason that unless, in our egoless consciousness, we are sure that we know and act in truthfulness, we cannot arrive at the truth. But this involves a complex process. The distinction and categorization of ‘truth’ and ‘untruth’ are grounded in the ego. As consciousness descends from a pure state into the carnal ambience, a duality takes place in the perception of nature of reality. Our absolute true nature, with all its attached divine attributes, is buried under a sheath of amnesia induced by our material nature. The ‘I’ separates itself from the undivided whole.
Human consciousness is modified form our pre-natal evolutionary imprints as well as by the nurturing that we undergo from childhood to maturity. This world is rooted in a materialistic dimension which is far removed from reality and the true purpose of human existence. There are two value systems that are given to us; one which is based on sensory comforts and pleasure and the other which is based on elevation of our consciousness to the greater purpose in life, a spiritual value system which has been defined by various spiritual masters and traditions.

Most religious traditions while promoting the deeper value system needed for spiritual empowerment have got trapped in vain desires which are driven by their structural nature and adhere to the faith and canonical route in dispensing the gnosis of ‘truth’. The limitation of human reasoning and perception has to be overcome by faith and belief in a deeper value. But mere belief in no way establishes ‘truth’.

Nietzsche, writing in his famous work ‘Genealogy of Morals’ says;

“We ‘men of knowledge’ have gradually come to mistrust believers of all kinds; our mistrust has gradually brought us to make inferences the reverse of those of former days: wherever the strength of a faith is very prominently displayed, we infer a certain weakness of demonstrability, even the improbability of what is believed. We, too, do not deny that faith “makes blessed”: that is precisely why we deny that faith proves anything — a strong faith that makes blessed raises suspicion against that which is believed; it does not establish ‘truth,’ it establishes a certain probability — of deception.”

By social, cultural and psychological agencies truth can not be dispensed. It is only within the experiential realm of one’s being, through an intuitive path; one can discern the ‘truth’ from the ‘untruth’

To ‘know’ the truth in truth, means exactly this and there is no other arena where one can come to the knowledge of truth except in truth itself. This is a process of integration at the highest level but involves many small steps including the teachings and recommended practices of the great master, Gautama Buddha.

This situation has been captured in all simplicity by these verses of Dhammapada.

Love to you all

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Divine Feminine

“The Eternal Feminine is our Guide” ................Goethe

On 24th September, I had a half day sessions for Physics graduate students on “Science of Consciousness” The opening slide on the need to adopt an integral approach to studying, understanding and applying science was the three propositions of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was not a scientist but a great systemic thinker. His insightful comment on the Divine Feminine is the opening quote.

My friend on Facebook, Gilbert Schultz, wrote a beautiful comment regarding the meaning of human life which I quote below:
“The Divine Feminine can be found deep within, it is not a surface attribute connected to a certain body or image- it is the inner essence that animates the outer form, which is divine at every age and stage and in every shape and design. On a Macro level ~ Goddess is World Soul in Union with God- animating the outer form of all Created Life through the Breath of Spirit. She is the power of Wisdom, Nature, Shakti, the devotion of Universal Love, the Balance and harmony of all polarity and the personification of Gaia and Cosmos, holding the intricate ecology of the Web of Life in Earth and Multi-verse. Originating from the Galactic core and Generating as the Creative Freedom that we are made from, we are waking up to our true selves- which is Free when we embody our Divine inheritance.”

In early cultures, when humans were rooted to magical and mythical consciousness, there are many images that were felt to belong to or to describe her. Certain forms like the circle, the oval, the wavy line, the meander and the spiral are, as early as the Palaeolithic, recognizable as the "signature" of the Feminine. Most places of worship were stone circle which still be traced in the native Indian tradition of North America. Portrayal of these symbols can be seen on the walls of the caves, on stones and dolmens and later, in the Neolithic, on the rounded or egg-shaped pottery vessels which themselves symbolized the body of the Great Mother. The stone, as the densest, oldest and most enduring aspect of life on earth, was always an image of her, a symbol of eternal life. The circle and the egg-like oval described her womb and her reproductive channel; the serpent-like spiral, the meander and the labyrinth were the hidden patterns and pathways of the life-force or energy flowing through and connecting the different dimensions of her being. These basic forms, so familiar to ancient peoples everywhere and now becoming known to us through the work of pioneers of the language of symbols, trace their descent through subsequent civilizations, East and West, and are still held deep in our memory today. The Mandela, or circular form, is a universal feminine image which symbolizes wholeness, completion, containment - the oneness of life.

In later traditions in Sumer, Egypt, Indus Valley and Greece, the divine feminine was an integral part of mythology and worship.
Coming into spiritual traditions in the current epoch, Vedic cultures adopted the divine feminine as an integral part of it pantheon due to the intimate relation between the Shiva-Shakti as the organizing principle of the cosmos.

Quan Yin is a Bodhisattva (a Being of Enlightenment), the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, and one of the Lords of Karma. Quan Yin is the Divine Feminine aspect within Buddhism, equivalent to Mother Mary, Isis and Shakti in other world belief systems. Her full name means “She who listens to the cries of the World” and she has vowed to remain in the earthly realms until all other living souls have completed their own enlightenment. In many images She is depicted carrying the Pearls of Illumination and longevity, which were created by Lao Tsu and are connected to her role as ‘Chohan of the Pearl Ray’ (one who opens the 8th portal connecting the seven human chakras to the Divine spirit). She is often shown pouring a stream of healing "Waters of Life," from a small vase (she refers to this as "The Flask of Immortality"). With this water all living things are blessed with physical and spiritual peace. She may also hold a sheaf of ripe rice or a bowl of rice seed as a metaphor for fertility and sustenance. Some also see her riding a dragon, both an ancient symbol for high spirituality, wisdom, strength, and divine powers of transformation.

As an integral part of our consciousness evolution, let us realize the importance of the Divine Feminine in each one. It is only through this realization that we can become whole and appreciate the beauty of the Divine.

Love to you all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Trees of Paradise

Yeshua said, “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being.
If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you.
For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death.” ………..
Saying 19 Gospel of Thomas

This is a continuation of saying 18 where Yeshua clarifies that one has to be in the beginning to understand the end. In this saying Yeshua starts with a conundrum, how can one come into being before coming into being. There are two dimensions to the human existence; spiritual and physical. The spiritual embodiment of the self always exists and it is never born but the physical takes birth or incarnation as a vehicle of the spirit. There is an intuitive wisdom in every human being to comprehend this reality but there is a spiritual blindness which blocks this vision. Yeshua’s teachings were intended to remove this myopia and restore the true sight.
Now if you read the Gospel of John, chapter 9, you will understand the true significance of that miracle. This miracle concerns a ‘man born blind’ and Yeshua heals him by applying mud and his own spittle then asking the blind man to go and wash in the ‘pool of Siloam’. The eye is the portal of perception by covering the eye with mud and spittle Yeshua acts out the physical creation of man which is made of the earthly elements and divine essence which is symbolized by the spittle which Yeshua takes out from his inner being and sends the blind man to the pool of Siloam to wash it off. The pool of Siloam was used for purification during the Jewish festival of Tabernacle. Siloam means ‘sent’ and we are all sent to this world in a process of purification so that we mat realize our true nature.

The next line of the saying bears a very deep meaning. All creations, like the stones which symbolize the collated and hardened consciousness, are here to serve this one purpose that we are here to wash away the ignorance of our false identity and be restored with the vision of our true nature.

This leads us to the next part of the saying which seems to be quite out of context. This saying is attributed to the Gnostic teachings of Yeshua or teachings to the ‘Initiates’ which was confirmed in the second century writings of St. Clement of Alexandria.
Yeshua talks of the ‘Five Trees of Paradise’ and the importance of knowing their eternal unchanging nature.
According to Kabbalah, creation is composed of five major categories of consciousness, called worlds or universes. They are not separate universes, but are concentric, one within the other. They are the world of physicality, the world of emotions, the world of the intellect, the world of the spirit and Adam Kadmon, the primordial source. Although we give different names to the worlds, they are not really separate from each other.
Each of these worlds is a dimensional portal through which we gain a unique perspective of reality. Thus, the Kabbalah teaches that the soul has five levels, five dimensions of awareness. Each soul dimension has a unique relationship with its world and this is the vehicle through which we mysteriously connect with various realms. Some aspects of soul relate more to our physicality, while others dwell, so to speak, in different realms of awareness. One aspect of the soul is always joined with the centre of creation, and this is our eternal link with truth.

All these symbolism of five worlds of consciousness, five levels of awareness, five members of the mind and five tabernacles are unified in Yeshua’s teaching as Five Trees of Paradise in keeping with a more eastern symbolism which can be traced to the Vedic philosophy.
From the universal viewpoint, the Ashwattha, the sacred tree, is an emblem of the "Tree of Life," the symbol of the never-ending universe. Here we have an instance of progress from universals to particulars. This tree has (1) "its roots above," (2) "its branches below," (3) "the lesser shoots," (4) "the leaves," and (5) "those roots which ramify below." Commencing in the unknown, the universal, the beginningless and endless, the Rootless Root of all-being, the Tree is thus reversed. The "roots above," generated in Heaven, represent the "First Cause," the Logos that links manifestation to Purusha-Spirit-SELF.

This saying is aimed at understanding our true nature and to lead a life rooted in this consciousness.

Love to you all

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trustworthy Children of Light

“….For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. ……………….If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?” ………..Luke 16: 8,9,11,12

Today in the Catholic liturgy we read the parable of the dishonest steward in Luke’s Gospel. This has been a very thorny issue for many to interpret as there seems to be justification of a dishonest behaviour on the part of the steward towards his Master. This section of the Gospel requires careful reading and understanding. (for those who want to read the parable, please read http://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/luke/16.html )

In the matters of the world, the standard for ethical evaluation depends mainly on the community and culture in which we are rooted. For example, taking a tribal wife and a wife through religious practice is acceptable among some tribes in Africa. There are two clear ethical standards namely; one which is legal and hence determined by those who write the laws and the other which is moral. A moral ethical standard is determined by values that empower a person to elevate one’s consciousness to a higher level through following a particular set of ethical codes. The act of taking many wives is ethically acceptable from a legal dimension but how you take care of their physical and spiritual wellbeing is the moral ethical dimension which is primary concern in our worldly life.

If we analyse the incidence in the parable though the dishonest servant had underwritten the debts of the master’s clients, he seem to be acting on two basic premises, both of which are appreciated by the master. In accordance with a legal ethical dimension, the master is ready to ignore this very minor transgression (and treat it as an exit package) due to his immense wealth and form a moral ethical dimension, by using that favour, buying into a friendship which would ensure the future security in the light of the steward loosing his employment with the master, is validated as a positive act.

It is in this context, what Jesus says to his disciples is very thought provoking. It is not the act, depicted in the parable, itself but the principle behind the episode is to be taken into consideration. Jesus qualifies this by saying “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings”

All the material comforts, the knowledge and relationships which this world can offer and which Jesus calls ‘dishonest wealth’ have to be utilised for seeking our true and eternal nature. The comparison to the children of this world and the children of light is the intended target audience of the teaching. The people who were listening to Jesus were the Disciples and the Pharisees. In the Hebrew tradition the Pharisees were the chosen teacher of Divine wisdom, the children of light, but they miserably failed due to a hypercritic life they were leading. All their material wealth was used for self glory. The Disciples of Christ, who were the chosen children of the light under the new covenant, should not fall into the same trap of being sucked into the false realities which the material world offers.

Jesus also qualifies that unless we are trustworthy with worldly wealth, spiritual wealth cannot be entrusted to us. This establishes the seamless link between the wealth bestowed on each one of us through our body, mind, our fellow beings and the environment and the spirit that empowers all that is manifest and unmanifest. This is the concept of Deep Ecology put forth by Christ in all his wisdom. With this knowledge there is no dichotomy in ownership.

This is the same principle which was stated in the very first verse of Isa Upanishad. Please see my post http://blog.livingspark.net/2010/08/protection-through-renunciation.html

As followers of Christ, we are also the children of light and should heed to this teaching so that what the world has offer may be used for gaining the eternal friendship of the Divine.

Love to you all

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Does God Create?

On Facebook, the following question was posed in FAITHLINK, a page dedicated to Secular spiritual thought and having more than 2000 followers, as to what is the need for God to create. I reproduce the post here:

“My mother and I were talking about the Bhagavad-Gita, the Vedas and such. In the course of the conversation, we talked about the Hindu belief that creation exists as a cyclical phenomenon. The eons, or "yugas" progress from the least evolved and most troubled; the kali yuga, through more evolved and harmonious yugas; the treta, dwapara and the satya yugas, and then the cycle goes back down again, to kali yuga, and then ends with a dissolution of all creation as we know it, where all gets reabsorbed in the Supreme Intelligence; God. God then remains in a state of quiescence, and then the beginnings of creation occur again, with the primordial sound, or vibratory energy (Aum) and the cycles continue, through infinity. There is much that is written about this, but we had a question; why does God create? Why is this necessary for a Perfect Being, who is perfect in its quiescence? I realize that this is a very simplistic question. I also realize that I am anthropomorphizing God, because my instinctive answer to my question was “because He must be lonely” what do you think?”

I thought I will post my view for the benefit of all readers who read my blog.
It is a necessary state of man to seek and find answers. It is an inbuilt capacity in a process of consciousness evolution. From our tribal consciousness, man has evolved to a state of integral consciousness, over 20,000 years, and in this mode is seeking answers to deeper and deeper questions. The nature of scriptures has provided two distinct views. These are a magical dimension (derivative of ancestral tribal consciousness) which is rooted in literal interpretations bordering on the supernatural and a mystical dimension (derivative of integral consciousness) which provides a gateway to higher consciousness.

There are two major schools of thought with respect to Yugas. The first school was influenced by the writings in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (longer period – 4.32 billion years) and the second school was influenced by the proposition of yogi Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, which had a shorter time duration (12000 years). From a more scientific and mathematical construct, the great Indian mathematician and astronomer, Aryabhatta’s calculation seems to confirm cycles specified by Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. This view is also close to current Big Bang cosmology.
From a more human and Earth perspective, a shorter cycle from the consciousness point of view would be more palatable while the larger cycles points to the evolution of manifest consciousness. My reason for this conclusion is due to the fact that what is defined in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with respect to the size and age of individuals (21 cubits high and with a life of 100,000 years in Satya Yuga) is purely related to an ‘individual bounded consciousness field’ rather than to a physical entity. According to the Vedas, there are seven other planes of existence apart from the four dimensional space-time in which our consciousness is rooted during the Kali Yuga.

The Mayans had a division of five periods of 5125 years, giving a total of 25,625 years which is what has been calculated in Vedic science (25785.91 years for the return of ‘Revati Nakshatram’ - Pisces). and in modern astronomy as the ‘Precession cycle’ of the equinoxes (25,771.5 years) through the 12 Zodiac sign. Our immediate concern as human beings on Earth is the shorter cycle.

This is some inputs on the Yugas and the clear distinction that we need to make regarding consciousness and material manifestation. We are called through these scriptural interpretations and insights to move towards a higher level of consciousness through a spiritual discipline.

It is only in our limited consciousness that we perceive through duality a process known as creation. The duality of Creator and Creation are purely in a distorted consciousness. All time, space, actions are false reality and are limited to an extremely small space-time domain.
Let us raise a basic question. What is time, as we are talking of Yugas being measured in years? Without the relative motion of the Sun and the Earth there can not be a measure of time and given the current knowledge in cosmology, time is not absolute. If so how can we ever measure time beyond a limited period in a cosmic scale.

God or the Divine consciousness is singularity of Nothingness and Fullness, the Sunyata and the Pleroma, it is a state of being and it is not a plenum of action.

Love to you all

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kriya and Karma

“Performing duty, verily one should desire to live a full hundred years. This alone is right, for there is no other right path. Actions do not cling to man of this temperament.” ………Isa Upanishad verse 2

There is need for defining what ‘performing duty’ here means. Every human being has to be engaged in some action throughout his or her life. Karma is the main stay of life. A more spiritual name for the fulfilment of karma through action is known as performance of rituals. Every act one performs is a ritual. This is because every act must have as its true goal, the fulfilment of Divine will. It should not be misconstrued that only what is done in the Puja or in worship is a ritual. All actions are rituals as they should be oriented towards elevation of one’s consciousness in our karmic journey. All rituals are composed of two elements; intention and performance.
Panini, the great grammarian, has said: “Whatever the doer wishes is Karma; whatever he does is Kriya (act). Thus Karma means the intention or desire behind the action. The true Karma is that which uplifts. Also, action which leads to downfall is not Karma but dushkarma or vikarma – unlawful or forbidden actions." Bhagavad-Gita says “Mysterious is the path of action and directs that one should work in the world following the ordinances of the scriptures, the Vedas” (Gita 4:17, 16:24). The underlying purpose of all scriptures is to be the source for proving guidelines for our intentions.

A question that may arise here, from this mantra in the Isa Upanishad, is why to live only for one hundred years. A simple answer is that man's life has been ordained as one hundred years in the Veda for a symbolic purpose. He is a centenarian and there is possibility of his surviving even longer. The Upanishads call the living being Shatakrtu – one who performs hundred yagyas – sacrifices. Hundred is a symbolism of fullness of earthly life.

The life process consists of two major paths namely; action and renunciation. But they are two sides of the same coin. While action is rooted in our material mode, renunciation evolves form deeper knowledge and operates at the intention level. The very first verse of the Isa Upanishad laid the foundation for this knowledge.
Definition of Karma is very well done in the Bhagavad-Gita: “The sense of renunciation in the living beings which evolves them to higher realms is called Karma” (Gita 8:3).

Let us take a simple example of a ritual bath that one undertakes before doing a puja (worship) or some other spiritual practice. The operation of Karma and Kriya can be seen in this simple act. If a person goes in for the bath with earthly worries of the day or how to close a deal that is to be negotiated, his karma fails its intended purpose and the kriya is rendered defunct.
But on the contrary if the bath is taken with gratitude for the health bestowed on the body and the millions of replenishments that have taken place at the level of one’s cells each day so that a new person has emerged at that very moment in preparation for the ritual to be performed, his karma is well oriented. With an intention that this bodily purification is a prelude to the ritual cleansing of his or her consciousness so that it can open up to the Divine touch and blessing, then the operation of the kriya and karma are in resonance.

This is the road to renunciation as the desire of action transcends the area of the self. It only seeks divine union and sees the action of the divine in all action. This is the meaning of “Actions do not cling to man of this temperament.”
The chapter 3 verse 9 of Bhagavad-Gita captures the essence of what we have been saying.
“Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu has to be performed; otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free from bondage.”

Love to you all

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Far Mosque

In this week, when we celebrate the Ramadan festival, we come to the end of the forty days of preparation. Rumi’s poem “The Far Mosque” is loaded with symbolism and any one who seeks a mystical journey into the spiritual world, so meaningfully visualized by the Prophet and brought to us through meaningful poetry, the thoughts conveyed in this poem are very essential for a deeper understanding.

“The place that Solomon made to worship in,
called the Far Mosque, is not built of earth
and water and stone, but of intention and wisdom
and mystical conversation and compassionate action.”
……………From “Essential Rumi” by Colman Barks “The Far Mosque” in Ch. 17 Solomon Poems, p. 191

Colman Barks in the introduction to this poem says “Solomon and Sheba are types for the courtship story going on in all of Rumi’s poetry. King Solomon (luminous divine wisdom) sends messengers to coax the Queen Sheba (the bodily soul) to leave her kingdom and come and live with him, she coyly sends envoys back with foolishly inappropriate gifts, and when she herself finally arrives, she does so with the one thing she can not afford to leave, her filigreed throne (the body).”

The very first stanza of the poem starts with Queen Sheba loading forty mules with gold bricks as gifts for Solomon. When her envoy and his party reach the wide plane leading to Solomon's palace, they see that the top layer of the entire plane is pure gold. They travel on gold for forty days!
What foolishness to take gold to Solomon, when the dirt of his land is gold. You, who think to offer your intelligence, reconsider. The mind is less than road dust.

The forty days of fasting, forty mules of gold and forty days walking on gold dust all point to the appointed time of our life on earth where the focus of life can be easily lost in the glitter of materialism. Number forty is mystic in Theosophy. According to the Islamic culture if someone practices a good deed constantly during forty days, it would be his inseparable attribute and lead to descending of Allah's blessing. In some religions forty days and forty nights praying has been special position. The number ‘Forty’ is attached to a time for preparation.

It is the divine which is the fullness of all that is manifest. We are in no position to offer that which has been gifted to us but instead the divine invites you to be his bride, to be in constant union in his very domain. This is the purpose of life, the ultimate divine union. In every act in this life let not the mind or intellect fool you to think that God expects some materialistic gift offering or your intellectual pursuit. Whatever we can offer from the physical, mental or intellectual dimension are gifts we have received in our current manifestation from God. All that God wants is the purification of your consciousness, through intention, devotion, compassion and service so that one can merge with the unsullied divine consciousness.

God can not be found in the mosque, temple or church built of stone but only in the ‘Far Mosque’ or a dimension where our intentions and spiritual wisdom resides. This is not a spatially separated domain but one that is built within the very heart of men and women.

This is reason that Rumi in another poem writes “If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it.”

"Eid-Mubarak" to all my friends. May you be blessed with recurring happiness.

Love to you all