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.