Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meaning of Metanoia

“Metanoia comes from the Greek 'metanoiein', to transform one's mind; from 'meta' + 'noein', to think from mind ('nous'), especially as regards awakening one's consciousness to broader dimensions of spiritual realty and meaningful existence.”

The idea of metanoia, of the possibility of such a change, was as far as I know first reintroduced to the West in the 1930's by Maurice Nicoll. The meaning and specific methods, were described in a fragmentary way in the Philokalia translations, among other places, but metanoia -- repentance -- is the essence. This one word is not understood until we realize that it distils the underlying principle, the practical objective, of a complete discipline, one that reaches its goal through a myriad of variations and alternative methods.

Metanoia is the lost essence of Christian spirituality. The first thing we have to understand is that it is possible for Christians to change their character in a fundamental way. Although today metanoia still forms the objective of the practical spirituality of the monks and nuns of the Eastern church, few even of the more important methods of approaching it are understood in the West, and the basic principles, in the form of a complete Christian world view - based on faith, but not on blind belief - seem to have been almost entirely forgotten.

As pointed out in the very beginning of this article, Metanoia is a process of transformation of the consciousness and the translation in scripture to a meaning of ‘repentance’ completely misrepresents the intended meaning.
The purpose of Christ’s life was to show the way as to how each one of our consciousness can be elevated from its current entrapment to a higher level of consciousness through which our true nature can be understood. When we say that Christ died on the cross for our sins, its true meaning is not a process of collective salvation in action but a dedication of an entire life in which every element pointed to the WAY through which the absolute TRUTH can be attained thus making it possible for each one of us to have eternal LIFE. True salvation is in the breaking of recurring cycle of birth and death and attaining the unification with the Divine which is symbolized by the attainment of eternal life.

If we understood and accepted, this process, and the commandments or rules that accompany them, form the foundation of the whole process. They lead -- although normally not without a struggle, not without a strong resistance from past habits -- to a true reversal of direction in the reader, bringing the catechumen to the threshold, the point of entry, of the path of transformation, the path of metanoia. But to enter the path of metanoia is to seek to pass through the strait gate of the gospel, and “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” …… (Matthew 19:24.)

Maurice Nicole writes: “All sacred writings contain an outer and an inner meaning. Behind the literal words lies another range of meaning, another form of knowledge. According to an old-age tradition, Man once was in touch with this inner knowledge and inner meaning. There are many stories in the Old Testament that convey knowledge with a meaning quite different from the literal sense of the words. The story of the Ark, the story of Pharaoh's butler and baker, the story of the Tower of Babel, the story of Jacob and Esau and the mess of pottage, and many others, contain an inner psychological meaning far removed from their literal level of meaning.”

Just as there are frequencies of sound and light that man is incapable of perceiving (due to the limits of human hearing and sight) so too there seem to be realms, or "frequencies" constantly radiating "from above," from the spiritual realm, that are inaccessible to our perception until we come upon a more objective understanding of our "condition" and a more faithful interpretation of scripture and the parables. The path that Christ showed is rooted in reality of day to day human existence. A life of constant communion with the Divine Father, through prayer and contemplation, and a life of unconditional love for all creation. This is the ‘Metanoia’ that transforms the human soul in to the seat of the Kingdom of God.

Love to you all

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ignorance through Distortion

“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of succession of disciples, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.”………..Bhagavad-Gita 4:2

In his commentary on this verse, a renowned Gurudev states “It is clearly stated that the Gita was especially meant for the saintly kings because they were to execute its purpose in ruling over the citizens. Certainly Bhagavad-Gita was never meant for the demonic persons, who would dissipate its value for no one’s benefit and would devise all types of interpretations according to personal whims. As soon as the original purpose was scattered by the motives of the unscrupulous commentators, there arose the need to re-establish the disciplic succession.” This comment defeats the very purpose of Gita as the universal Gospel propounding the Truth and true knowledge. The purpose of Gita was not to establish a physical lineage of spiritual adepts or disciples but to dispel the avidya of the human race. This is very apparent in the fact that Lord Krishna appeared at the beginning of Kali yuga to teach the true purpose of human life. While many so called Gurus and commentators have used the Gita for purely commercial exploitation, the purpose of this Holy book is for the people who are alienated from their true nature (demonic nature) to be transformed. The original purpose of human life can only be understood by one who is devoid of all modifications (viritis) of consciousness and who is seated in the Divine plenum. This is the reason for MahaYogi Patanjali to say in his ‘Yoga sutra’ “Chit-vriti nirodha” (removal of all consciousness modifications).

The science of God consciousness was lost because the true legacy of human race was lost due to material rooted nature of human beings. From the time of Satya Yuga, when the true discipleship flourished and man was rooted in God consciousness, to the present Kali Yuga, there has been total modification of human consciousness.

Supreme science requires supreme wisdom for understanding its content. There can only be two classes of people; first, those who seek Divine wisdom in a process of transcendence and second, those who are totally oblivious to the true purpose of life and live a life of decadence. The first part of this verse clearly states how the supreme science of living a spiritually oriented life was promulgated through a succession of disciples and saintly kings. This is like the action of a strong dye, when a few drops are introduced into water the entire water turns into the colour of the dye. This is the role of the true disciple and saintly kings. Their influence was overpowering and the entire society was transformed by their presence and their lives. When a weak dye is introduced it does not make any impact on the environment and the water remains fairly colourless. This is the situation of spirituality in today’s world wherein true discipleship and spiritual leadership are lacking.

In the ancient times, the true knowledge was propagated through a cosmic hierarchy as pointed out in the very first verse of this chapter in the Gita. Divine wisdom descended from the Cosmic plenum to the planetary plenum through Vivasan (Sun God) and then into human plenum through Manu, the progenitor of the human race. It is the same spiritual energy of Divine consciousness which pervades every level in the hierarchy.

This supreme science is totality of knowing through an intuitive process of Sadhana (spiritual practices of Bakhti , Karma and Jnana) our transcendental nature and to be united with the Divine plenum.

Love to you all

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fourth Friend of Job

The ‘Book of Job’ is a wisdom literature in the Old Testament and contains unparalled wisdom hidden in this writing. Job was a God fearing and very rich man and becomes the victim of a wager between God and the Devil. From the height of prosperity, he is taken to extreme poverty and ill health. The book consists mainly of the dialogue between Job and his rebuking and comforting friends.

“In the Talmud we find a classic description of the powers of the ‘inner voice’ in the story of Job.Job had three friends who came to console him for his terrible suffering. As it turned out, they did not succeed in consoling him at all, instead they rebuked him, which appealed neither to Job nor to God. A fourth young acquaintance sat and listened in respectful silence until the elder three finished what they had to say. His name was Elihu ben Berachel of the family of Ram and our sages explain that he was from the family of Abraham, so he was certainly a Jew. The numerical value of his name equals mashiach, “messiah,” and we are taught that he himself is the soul of the Messiah and that he speaks in good taste and with wisdom. According to Ramban in his commentary on the Book of Job, Elihu reveals to Job the secret of reincarnation and he thus succeeds in appeasing Job, at which point the verse immediately says, “and God heeded Job.” The word vayisha, “and he heeded,” used in this verse, also implies a connection with the rectification of Cain, to whose offering God did not heed.” (http://www.torahscience.org/communicat/kabbalah_and_telepathy.htm)

It is also written that the three friends felt Job’s affliction from a distance of 300 parsaot (approximately 1200 kilometres.)

The deeper meaning of this episode is that Job symbolizes the tormented self when it realizes the separation from the Godhead and the four distant friends are the inner voices of conscience which can be classified into two categories. The first category is a subset of our rational, judgemental mind that exhibits itself in the vocalized and explicit domain of our waking consciousness. The second category is the deeper, silent perceiver who has a greater grasp of reality and the larger picture in which we manifest. It is only through this deeper dimension of our understanding we can appreciate all the events of our life. The first group of three friends represents the multiplicity and fragmentation of our rational mind and the second category is represented by a single, silent observer Elihu, who was the descendent of Abraham. Abraham here represents the entity that communes with the Godhead and is characterized by an understanding that surpasses the rational mind.

There are a number of possible ways to explain silence as an act. The first is that silence is an act of thought. The Hebrew word for ‘thinking’ is ‘chashov’, which even begins with the word ‘chash’, meaning ‘silence’ and can also be seen as an acronym for ‘lachush be’... that means ‘to sense something through silence’. The sense of thought is an inner phenomenon in which one considers something in silence. It is only when we move from the zone of sound and distraction into the zone of silence that we are able to truly understand life’s purpose. The interface between these two is the Divine sound which is inner logos present in every human being. May this deeper understanding empower us to take recourse in the inner silence in which the Divine operates.

Love to you all

Friday, February 4, 2011

Radical Repositioning of Reality

Yeshua saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom.” They said to him, “Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?”
Yeshua said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”………..Gospel of Thomas, Saying 22

This is a saying that has tremendous import in our understanding of reality. Every great spiritual tradition has impressed upon us that what we see as the phenomenal world is a false perception. The human consciousness undergoes radical modification the moment we are born into this world. The nursing babies are an allegory to an unmodified pure consciousness. The very nature of humanity is that our consciousness comes into this world with certain evolutionary traits which are basically dominated by the mammalian brain but have a zero dimensional linkage to the world of nature.
At birth the human infant has no sense of self. He is Being. He is his being without knowledge or self-consciousness. There is no mental functioning yet. Slowly, through experiences of pleasure and pain, memory traces are retained, forming the first self-impressions (self-representations). As the infant starts taking himself to be this or that (this or that self-image) he separates from his sense of Being, because an image that is not his being. As the ego-identity and sense of self develop and become stable, the contact with Being in its various aspects and qualities is mostly lost. This is loss of the Kingdom of God. We move from our true and fundamental spirit nature into our physical-rational nature thus leading to duality of existence.

Now Yeshua instructs as to how one can regain the kingdom. All dualities must be erased.
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism said; “Eradicating egotism and individualism from within, and erasing duality, the mortal becomes one with God”…. Sidh Gosht verse 106.

When Yeshua says “When you make the two into one” and further amplifies what He means by it, He is echoing the very concept of Advaita found in the Vedic philosophy.
For one to grasp the empty core from which all existence manifests, the alchemical union of a number of opposites existing within the individual is required. Without such unions there can be no boundary, and therefore no hollow core. Alchemy is the process by which a mortal becomes immortal, and is a very specific journey for each individual soul. The goal of alchemy is individuation- the immortalization of the soul. To individuate, which is to become whole, requires the union of polar opposites, male and female, good and evil, consciousness and matter, subject and object, self and other, and inside and out.
To unify the male and female within requires a man to become conscious of his inner female, his anima, and a woman to become conscious of her inner male, her animus.

The last part of the saying is difficult to understand for the Master seems to be making no distinction between what is the object of change and the resultant state. The physicality or the gross level of manifestation does not change but the understanding of the manifestation takes a radical change. It is very apt when we consider the last part of the saying “an image in place of an image”. Let us take the image of the deity ‘Ardhanarisvara’ (half man – half woman). It does not evoke any special meaning at the physical level but when the image is understood as the symbol of cosmic androgyny or the male- outside-of-existence, cosmic consciousness- and the female-inside-of-existence, earthly being and this union is the very process of removal of duality, then a new mental image is evoked.

Hence through this process of radical repositioning of our perception of reality from a purely physical level into an intuitive understanding of the deeper nature of all that pervades creation, including ourselves, we can gain the Kingdom of God.

Love to you all.