Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blazing Fire of Material Existence

“The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as the cloud pours water on the forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master extinguishes the blazing fire of material existence. I offer my respectful obeisance unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master.” ……… (Śrī Gurvaṣṭakam, Verse 1)

The invocation was composed by
Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, who appeared in the middle of the seventeenth century, is a great spiritual master in the Krishna consciousness chain of gurus and disciples. He says, “One who, with great care and alteration, loudly recites this beautiful prayer to the spiritual master during the Brahma-muhurta obtains direct service to Krishna, the Lord of Brindavan, at the time of his death.”

What is the meaning of this saying? As many of you may know the
‘Brahma-muhurta’ is the auspicious time, about two hours before sun rise, when there is a harmonious balance of energies both in the biosphere and in the hormonal energies in the body and it is deemed to be the best time for meditation and pranayama (controlled breathing).
The spiritual master does not refer to any third person but to our own true inner nature, beyond all the
Viritis (modifications) that alter our Divine nature. We may be taught by the best of Gurus but if there is no self involvement all external knowledge would be a waste.
As
Meister Eckhart, the great German Christian mystic says “A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don't know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox's or bear's, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”
The invocation is the eradication of these coverings. This is the benediction that we receive from the very same Divine consciousness with which we are trying to merge. We can call it by any name Divine consciousness, Krishna consciousness or Christ consciousness etc,.

In
Matsya Purana, it states that Vishnu disappeared, and for a hundred years there was a terrible drought on earth. These hundred years signifies the life of a person in this world and Vishnu being the symbolism of the Divine Consciousness, his disappearance denotes the material nature in which we live with total absence of spiritual aspiration. The drought led to famine and people died of starvation, symbolizing spiritual death. Meanwhile, the sun blazed in fury and burnt up the entire world. This is the true representation of how we experience the blazing heat of ever present vacuum in happiness when we live to derive happiness form creatures and created material entities. The Purana then goes on to explain the gathering of seven clouds which extinguishes through rain the total material nature. (in this paragraph, the words in italics are from the Purana)
The rain that extinguishes the forest fire is the
Vidya or knowledge of our true nature by which we are saved.

This is the reason Krishna says “After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes, and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” ……………
(Bhagavad-Gita 7:19)

As the sun starts it journey every dawn, this prayer contemplated for its deep meaning and recited within our heart, may begin our day’s journey with a desire to move closer to the higher consciousness to which we are always called.

Love to you all

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grounding Yourself

Kris Cahill, a psychic healer in an article written by her says “Did you know that there is a tool you can use to make yourself safe and relaxed, release anxiety, depression, stress, pain and fatigue, let go of the past, make your body happy and calm, and allow you to manifest what it is you want to create? Plus, it won’t cost you a dime, and doesn’t have any unpleasant side effects!
This tool is known as ‘grounding’, and has been around for eons. It’s safe, free, and available to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Having grounding for yourself can create stability and safety for your body. This makes it easier for you to feel well in your body, which then makes it possible for you to have enough energy to create your life.
Grounding is taught in many beginning meditation classes. Being able to have grounding first makes it possible for other techniques and information to be safely taught. Grounding makes things real, makes your body real, and makes it possible for you to manifest what it is you want in your life.
Grounding makes it possible to release energies that get caught in you that are not yours. This makes it easier to heal yourself, by letting go of harmful energies that can have a negative effect on your body. Having a tool that allows you to let go is nothing short of miraculous. Grounding itself is a miracle.”

Well it is easy to articulate this process of grounding but practicing it requires a broader understanding why we get into all the tangle and twists that blocks our energy flow. It is important that we realize that the energy within us is a given potential which is designed for a natural evolution to higher order and complexity as we grow and live our lives. This evolution of our internal energy domain is purely in the spiritual realm. But we make the fist mistake of thinking that this internal energy is physical. If we realize that the spiritual manifests itself as the physical then we would not have the problem of over indulgence. If we are totally rooted in nature as a new species, with no ego-mind dominated emotions or thoughts, then this type of maturing is possible. But due to evolutionary, socio-cultural and peer pressures, a continuous modification happens within our energy fields. These pressures are all encompassing in whatever we take in as resources for our enrichment, like education, parental grooming, our relationships and the bodily nourishments that we intake. This understanding is the starting point or grounding in our healing through realization and contemplation."

Grounding is something that one can never be taught but a state one can be guided into realizing. The biggest scars we carry in our energy fields are the imprints from the past and the fears of the future. If we are able to surrender ourselves to the Divine plan, in the realization that we are an integral and inseparable part of the cosmic energy field or as I prefer to call it the Cosmic Consciousness, then we can rest easy with all that happens to us. It is this positive attitude that there is a predestined plan for each one of us and nothing on earth can change this and that we must flow like a river for our own well being. This attitude is not fatalistic in nature but one in which we must consciously engage in active contribution, through thought and action, in abiding with the action of the Spirit, through enriching the self, humanity and the ecosystem. This is the true meaning of the Genesis verse “And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.”
……Genesis 2:30

Here the true meaning for ‘food’ is ‘sustenance’. Not a selfish motive of sustenance of one’s body but a holistic perspective. Man, because of his superior consciousness, has been assigned the role of a sustainer or co-creator.

Love to you all

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Real and Successful Prayer

The ecstatic prayer of a mystic is no way superior to the agonized stumbling of a sinner weighed down with guilt and deformed by a lifetime of estrangement from God.
Both attempts represent the upward striving of created nature to find rest in God; both are real, both are "successful."
………… Michael Casey

What a beautiful saying! First of all what is success? Normal definition is the capacity to achieve what one wants. It is not a final aim that is determined from outside of one self. It is an internal desire of achievement. Hence to evaluate prayer as being successful is to evaluate the intention which is generated from within. All intentions are derived from ones mind and hence from ones conscious action through thought. Or stated in another way the origination is human consciousness. This is the reason Casey says that the only perfect prayer is the realization that the very state of our being is a perfect outcome of God’s action which represents our total surrender to God.

Jonathan Edwards, a great American preacher and theologian, says “The true spirit of prayer is no other than God's own Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the saints. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings. It naturally leads to God, to converse with him by prayer.” This is the point that Casey makes when he compares the prayer of a mystic and that of a sinner. Both are lead by the spirit to move towards the same Godhead.

Prayer must then be seen as tuning into the very ‘will of the Father’. As true sons it is only through unflinching faith and an understanding that our being, in whatever condition in a temporal and terrestrial dimension we may be, is the divine intent. True success of prayer is the aspiration to be in tune with the divine will. This is the reason that the great mystic
Julian of Norwich says “This is our Lord's will... that our prayer and our trust be, alike, large.”

The Indian Tantric mystic
Osho says “Remember, if you pray to ask for something, it is not prayer. When you pray to thank him for something, only then it is prayer. Prayer is always a thanksgiving. If you ask for something then the prayer is still corrupted by desire. Then it is not prayer yet — it is still poisoned by dreaming. Real prayer happens only when you have attained to yourself, when you have known what God has given to you already without your asking for it. When you realise what you have been given, what infinite sources have been given to you, a prayer arises you would like to say to God, ‘Thank you.’ There is nothing else in it but a pure thank you.” Though this is a very strong statement, it captures the essence of real prayer.

I have earlier done a post on the emptiness of words in our prayer (see ‘
Prayer of Silence’). Through inwardly focused contemplation, let us aim to listen to the voice of the divine. This voice is the muted vibration that produces a state of perennial gratitude in our being.

Love to you all

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Communion and Confirmation

Today I have been invited for the first communion of my cousin’s son. This is not the first time I attend such a festivity. The significance of celebration of first communion and the meaning behind the Christian sacrament of Communion is buried in the ritualistic rigmarole and has become for many pious Christians an event when the devotee believes that God comes through the miracle of the Eucharist into their very heart from somewhere out there.


Carl Jung, the famous Swiss depth psychologist and son of a Lutheran pastor, wrote two essays on the significance of the Holy Mass which every Catholic must read. He says in these essays that the sequence of the Holy Mass is beautifully organized to evoke a deep mystical participation in the heart of the worshipper. Now I can understand this better than any other time in my life.

When we were young children (50 years ago) we had to fast for twelve hours before the Holy Mass and abstain even from drinking water during the last one hour. This was the physical preparation and cleansing. When we entered the church the light of the candle, the smell of the incense offered and the sounding of bells prepared one’s senses for the holy presence. As soon as the Mass started the act of contrition was said and forgiveness was sought for all the sins of commission and omission. This was to cleanse our human and ego-centred consciousness, a process of emptying one self of the worldly or human attachments. The scriptures are then read and a small message given by the celebrant to prepare the mind and the intellect for the impending union. In the offertory the human nature, symbolized by the bread and wine, is offered and the priest offers these with the invocation for the divine to accept these offerings. The sacrament of the Eucharist is the symbol of the divine accepting the human offering through an act of transubstantiation. Before we approach the divine for its presence to take residence in our nature, peace is invoked among all present. This peace is to signify the absence of conflict in our perception of all humanity as an equal creation of the divine. The communion symbolizes the act of the divine transforming the human through a process of inner transformation; a reminder that our true nature is divine. Then the mass comes to an end with the message to ‘go forth’ in our divine nature.

This is the beauty of this ritual and the casual way in which it is approached today on a daily or weekly basis is appalling. If there is no inner transformation then the whole ritual is a farce and devoid of any significance.

I have addressed children who have received first communion and I tell them that when they receive first communion it is like someone who has built a new house and has opened the windows for the first time to let in the life giving sun’s rays to enter the house. You not only open one window but you also open a window in the opposite direction so that there is cross ventilation and the air freely moves to energise the inner chambers of the house. The sun’s rays and the refreshing air symbolize the presence of the life giving element of Christ and the sustaining Spirit of the Holy Spirit. In the olden times first Communion and the sacrament of confirmation were given on the same day. This has a deep significance as the divine transformation of the human can not be complete without the sustaining wisdom to comprehend this reality through the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of the parents and god-parents, who are supposed to be the wisdom parents, to educate the children of this great mystical participation.

This is my message to all who approach their first communion and confirmation and to all who participate in the Holy Mass.

Love to you all

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Discernment for Spiritual Elevation

“And he said, the person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”……Logion 8 Gospel of Thomas

Though this saying of Jesus appears simple, there are three major elements that need to be understood.

First, Jesus defines what is to be truly human. The purpose of human creation when understood from an inner perspective is one of discernment. The capacity given to us, just as the whole wide open sea is available to the wise fisherman, is one of infinite potential. In our lives we constantly haul in a rich harvest of knowledge but the purpose of this knowledge must be to propel us towards our higher potentialities and not to drag us down with unwanted baggage of trivial acquisitions. This is the point that Jesus brings out in the choice that a wise fisherman is always faced with.

The second point that Jesus brings out is that as a creature we are limited, just as the fisherman and his boat in the vast ocean. If we start collecting the unwanted neither will we be nourished properly nor will be assured of our safety as an overloaded boat can easily capsize in a turbulent sea.

The third and deeper meaning of the saying is that just as the discarded little fish have the potential to survive and grow through this act of ecological responsibility the individual act of discernment and needed choice will ensure the nurturing of the cosmos and its consciousness to fully develop and evolve. Jesus says; “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”….Matthew 22:14.

This clearly means that esoteric teaching is not for all to digest. Only those who have the right type of spiritual maturity (the fine big fish) can be selected for receiving the teaching

This imprint that one makes through his act of discernment will cascade down to other souls in their nourishment.

There is another mystical aspect of the saying when studied from a linguistic and kabbalastic perspective. In Aramaic, nun means ‘fish’. The mem, the waters of the sea, is the natural medium of the nun, fish. The nun ‘swims’ in the mem, covered by the waters of the ‘hidden world’. Creatures of the ‘hidden world’ symbolize lack of higher consciousness or Avidya (ignorance) as declared in Vedic philosophy. Unlike fish, land animals, revealed on the face of the earth, symbolize possession of higher-consciousness.

‘A person is like a wise fisherman’ constantly drawing the nun out of the mem symbolizes the elevation of one’s consciousness from a state of ignorance of one’s true nature into a higher level realizing our divine nature.

So it is not surprising that this saying comes immediately after Jesus talks of the dual nature of bestial and human and the need for us to annihilate the bestial nature rooted in ignorance.

Love to you all

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Intention or Intonation

Commenting on texts of Veda dharma Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal brings out the fact that you must not go wrong in the enunciation or intonation of a mantra. If you do, not only will you not reap the benefit but might draw upon yourself a result contrary to the intention. So the mantra must be chanted with utmost care. He sites the story told in the Taittiriya Samhita (2.4.12) to demonstrate this important facet of mantra recitation. The story goes as follows:

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Tvasta wanted to take revenge on Indra for some reason and conducted a sacrifice to beget a son who would slay Indra. When he chanted his mantra, "Indrasatrur varddhasva. . ", he went wrong in the intonation. He should have voiced "Indra" without raising or lowering the syllables in it and he should have raised the syllables "tru" and "rddha"(that is the two syllables are "udata"). Had he done so the mantra would have meant, "May Tvasta's son grow to be the slayer of Indra". He raised the "dra" in Indra, intoned "satru" as a falling svara and lowered the "rddha" in "varddhasva". So the mantra meant now: "May Indra grow to be the killer of this son (of mine)". The words of the mantra were not changed but, because of the erratic intonation, the result produced was the opposite of what was desired. The father himself thus became the cause of his son's death at the hands of Indra.

The gist of this story is contained in this verse which cautions us against erroneous intonation.

If the mantra differs by intonation, letter or another way while chanting, that mantra will become VajrAyudham(thunderbolt) and torment the YajamAnan(performer of sacrifice) who chants the mantra, just as the wrong recital of the 'indrashatru' phrase did.

What was the weapon with which Tvasta 's son was killed? Not Indra's thunderbolt but the father's wrongly chanted mantra.

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I am not an authority to go into an etymological or philosophical discussion on the above story or the terrifying end result when operating outside a specific scholarship under the tutelage of a renowned guru. But what I feel that needs to be addressed is that the intention of a mantra recital is totally excluded from the above position. I feel that the Samhita (collection of texts) was intended to communicate a greater dharma of 'intention'. When individual consciousness acts in its ego state which is in contradiction with the cosmic principle, which here is represented by Indra, the annihilation of the action of the self (ego consciousness) becomes inevitable.

This is strongly demonstrated in how the cosmic principle overrides through the same agency of the individual consciousness, the final outcome of reciting the mantra.

The word Dharma is derived from the root Dhr - to hold - and its etymological meaning is - that which holds - this world, or the people of the world, or the whole creation from the microcosm to the macrocosm. It is the eternal Divine Law of the cosmic order. The entire creation is held together and sustained by the All-powerful Law of God. Practice of Dharma, therefore, means recognition of this Law and abidance by it.

I am not repudiating the fact that the purpose of the mantras are primarily in the domain of the vibration in the energy levels both in the cosmic as well as in the chanter’s domain. But the intentions are primary if not even though you may succeed through energy alteration in establishing a desired result, there may result a negative karmic imprint in the individual consciousness.

As per the genealogy expressed in Shrimad Bhagavatam chapter 6.6.38-39 Tvasta was the son of Aditi of Suriya dynasty or the supreme Godhead from whom Lord Narayana descended and Tvasta was one of the twelve sons of Aditi representing the twelve astrological principles or the manifest aspect of cosmic consciousness. It is impossible for a manifestation to override its own substratum.

This I think is the primary dharma teaching in this story.

Love to you all

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Immensity of Silence

A man once asked Rumi “why is it you talk so much about silence” and he replied “The radiant one inside me has never said a word”. This is reflected in Rumi’s poem “The Taste”

"A walnut kernel shaken against its shell makes a delicate sound, but
The walnut taste and the sweet oil inside makes unstruck music,
Mystics call the shell rattling talk; the other, the taste of silence."

The value of silence was well understood by sages and mystical poets.
In this post I would like to bring to the readers the value of silence as perceived by some renowned spiritual leaders.

Once when Colman Barks (who had done a major work in translating Rumi) had a dream about
Shams Tabriz (the great evangelist of Rumi's works), he was shown a cave which had internal pathways which led to an inner chamber and was called Rasa Shamsi (a Sanskrit word that was presented to him in this dream meaning ‘essence of Shams’). He was shown a central chamber and along the wall, in niches, many illustrious beings were seated and in the centre there was a chair like a throne. As he sits on the floor a man rises and admonishes that as an appropriate opening they sing in a strong voice. But Barks stood up and said “No silence is better” and the dream ended. To Barks it was the bedrock of silence which dominated the mysterious conversations (sobbet) between Rumi and Shams.

Carl Jung, the great Swiss depth psychologist and Gnostic initiate, was most creative in Bollinger tower. He associated this place with healing power of being quiet. He says “Solitude is the fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often a torment for me and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words”. From 1923 till his death in 1961, Jung spent his time in this tower and was guided by an inner Gnostic called by him Philomon. In a stone plaque he renamed his home as
‘Philomon’s shrine’.

The cave or tower of silence symbolism has been reflected in the Upanishads. To illustrate this deeply understood concept of the true inner self Katha Upanishad says: “Atman, smaller than the small, greater than the great, is hidden in the cave (hearts) of all living creatures. A man who is free from desires beholds the majesty of the Self through (silence) tranquillity of the senses and the mind and becomes free from grief.”KU 2:20

Jiddu Krishnamurthy says "Silence and spaciousness go together. The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a centre does not exist. Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experience is a form of escape from the actual reality of “what is,” which is our self, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is awaking, intelligent and free, why should it need, why should it have, any “experience” at all? Light is light; it does not ask for more light.
Meditation is not a means of an end; there is no end, no arrival; it is a movement in time and out of time. Every system, method, binds thought to time, but choice-less awareness of every thought and feeling, understanding of their motives, their mechanism, allowing them to blossom, is the beginning of meditation. When thoughts and feelings flourish and die, meditation is the movement beyond time. In this movement there is ecstasy. In complete emptiness there is love, and with love there is destruction and creation."

Love to you all

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Immortality – the Immanent Nature

“Having thus spoken, Isis first pours out for Horus the sweet draught of immortality which souls receive from the Gods, and thus begins the most holy discourse. Heaven, crowned with stars, is placed above universal nature, O my son Horos, and nothing is wanting to it of that which constitutes the whole world. It is necessary, then, that all nature should be adorned and completed by that which is above her, for this Order could not proceed from below to above. The supremacy of the greater mysteries over the lesser is imperative. Celestial order reigns over terrestrial order, as being absolutely determined, and inaccessible to the idea of death. Wherefore, the things below lament, being filled with fear before the marvellous beauty and eternal permanence of the heavenly world. For, indeed, a spectacle worthy of contemplation and desire were these magnificence of heaven, revelations of the God as yet unknown, and this sumptuous majesty of night illumined with a penetrating radiance, albeit less than that of the sun, and all these other mysteries which move above in harmonious cadence, ruling and maintaining the things below by secret influences.”

The above writing is from the book of
Hermes Trismegistus known as “The Virgin of the World”.
The Sacred Books of Hermes is an admirable compendium containing the laws, science, and theology of Egypt and were declared by the priests to have been composed during the reign of the Gods, preceding that of their first king, Menes.

I chose to write on this passage, in the very first post for the year 2010, for its insight and great wisdom regarding a relevant proto-Christian Cosmo-theology.

Isis is the Virgin-Mother of Horus. She is "the woman clothed with the sun" of the land of Chem. In the litany apostrophizing her, she is the "Immaculate Lady," "Queen of Heaven," "Illustrious Isis, most powerful, merciful and just," titles transferred entire or with slight change to the Virgin-Mary.
(See Madame Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled, II, 209, for comparison of litanies). And not only was the adoration of Isis restored under a new name, but even her image standing on the crescent moon was adopted by the Christians, while her well-known effigy with Horus in arms has descended to our time in the many pictures of the Madonna and child.

Horus was the last in the line of divine sovereigns in Egypt. A tablet describes him as the "substance of his father," of whom he is an incarnation and identical with him. This is amplified by Hermes Trismegistus as Horus being fed with the ‘sweet draught of immortality’.

What follows this saying is the great truth of how order has descended form above into lower creation or order. When one looks up into the cosmos he perceives, what appears to be a, chaos. But this perception is due to the limited consciousness of the lower created order which is subjected to idea of death and impermanence. In reality the higher order, which is now being discovered through science, is possible only through a permanency and unchanging singularity. In his wisdom Hermes Trismegistus says that this deep insight is the revelation of the "God yet unknown".
The interconnectedness between the higher order or the cosmic consciousness and the lower order observer consciousness is beautifully brought out in the last portion of the quoted passage. The majesty of the heavens and all the associated mysteries resulting from our observations, such as the existence of dark matter and energy as 96% constituent of the universe, are the root cause for our existence. It is the secret yet very permanent influence of the cosmos that drives our individual existence upon this earth.

This realization is that which has driven many leading scientists and cosmologists to become ardent supporters of a universal or cosmic consciousness as the fundamental substrate of created order.

With this thought let us begin the New Year and grow in love (attraction) for all creation.

Love to you all