Sunday, April 24, 2011

Toward a New Cosmic Assignment

“All things in creation are subject to the law of change, and man, too, is subject to this law.”
………… Sri Satya Sai Baba

Today Sri Satya Sai Baba left his mortal body on his next cosmic assignment fulfilling his words which are quoted at the beginning of this article.
Sri Sai Baba was a very spiritual person who went beyond all religion. Some people are born to be in a role of great spiritual teachers and there are levels of reincarnation when a specific consciousness which has been greatly purified is sent to become a spiritual master or even a great teacher. Lord Krishna, Buddha, Yeshua (Christ), Prophet Mohamed were at a higher level. People like Swami Ramakrishna, Bodhidharma and Padre Pio, who could bilocate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pio_of_Pietrelcina), were at a different level and Sri Sai Baba was also at a unique and higher level of reincarnation. Please do not judge this to be linear gradation; it is more a comparative figure of speech.
He had a very powerful and pure consciousness field which was experienced by his devotees and a number of instances of powerful link up with individual consciousness through non-local and distance communication were activated.
His concern for humanity is also to be appreciated. The many educational institutions, hospitals and public projects are a testimony to his caring for fellow beings.

What I liked about him was the way he propagated wisdom through simple communication. Some examples are:
  • Small minds select narrow roads; expand your mental vision and take to the broad road of helpfulness, compassion and service.
  • You are seeking joy and peace in far-off places. But the spring of joy is in your heart. The haven of peace is in yourself.
  • GOD is neither distant, nor distinct from you.
  • The service of man is the only means by which you can serve GOD.
  • I am you; you are ME. You are the waves; I am the ocean. Know this and be free, be divine.
  • Faith is like our life breath. It is impossible to live even for a minute in this world without faith.
  • So long as you say "I am", there is bound to be fear, but once you say and feel "I am GOD", you get unconquerable strength.
All people who influence others to be elevated in their spiritual consciousness are ascended masters and they must continuously evolve to higher levels. This is a great responsibility. Some fail and are corrupted and we have many examples. Because Sri Sai Baba used his spiritual powers to empower people both through wisdom and through service to people, he was considered great. Today, people worry more about the wealth he has left behind rather than how to continue his spiritual legacy. This is unfortunate as this happens to many spiritual masters who institutionalize their work.

We are at a unique moment of our evolution. Our consciousness is crying out to break free from all the trappings if materialism and Sri Satya Sai Baba’s spiritual legacy should be lived through what he taught; namely universal love through self realization of our Divine nature. This is the greatest tribute one can pay him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Non Universality of Mental Constructs

“How did you come here, O King, on foot or in a chariot?” “I did not come, sir, on foot. I came in a chariot.” “If you came in a chariot, explain to me what that is.” “Is it the pole that is the chariot?” “Certainly not” “Is it the wheels, or the frame, or the ropes, or the yoke, or the spokes or the goad that is the chariot?”
To all of these King Milinda still answered no. “Then is it all these parts that is the chariot?” “No, Nagasena.” “But is there anything outside them that is the chariot?” And still he answered no.
“Then, ask as I may, I can discover no chariot. 'Chariot' is a mere empty sound. What, then, is this 'chariot' you say you came in? Your Majesty has spoken a falsehood, an untruth! There is no such thing as a 'chariot'! You are king over all India, a mighty monarch. Of whom, then, are you afraid that you speak untruth?” ……………Questions of King Milinda, Book II Chapter 1

The above dialogue is taken from the chapter on “The distinguishing characteristics of ethical qualities”.
Human beings in our evolutionary journey have accumulated a vast store of what is known as ‘percept’.
Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the process by which an organism attains awareness or understanding of its environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. Perceptual constancy is the ability of perceptual systems to recognise the same object from widely varying sensory inputs. There are usually two or more steps involved in this process of our objective awareness.

The term percept or concept used herein denotes "An accumulation of related facts and/or processes to which a symbol (representational or abstract) is assigned".
When a percept is activated by sensory data it evokes a symbol of that data. Thus, a dog has a percept 'man' (a mental picture with two arms, two legs, a head and a certain smell but with indistinct details). The perceptual symbol is the 'form' of the percept as required by the law of embodiment.

Concepts involve the recognition of the process of percept symbolism and subsequent advancement to abstract symbolism. (Note: The act of forming percepts is contextual data.)
A concept is, in part, a percept with an abstract rather than a representational form.
Thus, an animal which ponders non-physical principles requires the abstract tools with which to think abstractly, i.e. language, mathematical symbols, etc. as well as a 'standard of abstract symbolism'

This is exactly what Nagasena tries to point out to King Milinda. Abstract symbolism has no intrinsic validity and its limited validity is endorsed through a constancy of usage in a limited environ and need not have a universal authenticity. There is an often told event of how the Native Americans looked upon the sea and they did not see the Spanish Armada sailing towards them. Sail ships, that large, were so outside their concept of what was possible their brains simply filtered out the image and all they saw was the open sea.

This story and the conversation between King Melinda and sage Nagasena illustrates the fact that any mental construct and its associated symbolism has its meaning only at the mental level of someone who voluntarily chooses to endorse this symbolism through a past perceptual association.

When seeking universal truth, the mind which has been so used to associated symbolism is a totally inadequate tool.

Love to you all.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Liberation through Jñana

“One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well………………...BG 6:5

In his commentary on the above verse, Srila Prabhupada says;
“The word Atman denotes body, mind and soul—depending upon different circumstances. In the yoga system, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially important. Since the mind is the central point of yoga practice, Atman refers here to the mind. The purpose of the yoga system is to control the mind and to draw it away from attachment to sense objects. It is stressed herein that the mind must be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of nescience. In material existence one is subjected to the influence of the mind and the senses. In fact, the pure soul is entangled in the material world because the mind is involved with the false ego, which desires to lord it over material nature.”

This is further elaborated in Amrita-bindu Upanishad, verse 2;
“For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.”

While the importance of mind control through a system of yoga is recommended, it is not elaborated as to how this can be achieved in an effective manner. I strongly believe that though spiritual practices such as Bhakti (worship), Nishkamakarma (selfless service) and Tapas (fasting) and Dhyana (meditation) are used as tools, the strongest tool which conditions the mind is Jñana (path of supreme knowledge). The basic difference and why this route is more efficient and perennial is due to the fact that the mind itself, which is being conditioned, is turned into a tool for transformation.

Man, in today’s world, is by nature a highly rational being. The moment the mind is deactivated through faith, as in worship, or through ego suppression in selfless service or through denial in control and contemplative exercises, it reacts vehemently to assert its presence.
Even if we strongly deny the ego dominated mind, it lurks in the background gathering its own allies from the vast repository of memories and sense impressions to counter the effects of yogic exercises.
In jñana marga (wisdom path), the mind is employed to realize the deeper levels of reality beyond sense perception and made to realize the transcendent and holistic nature of the body, mind and soul composition known as the human.

Again the Amrita-bindu Upanishad, verse 20 says;
“Like the butter hidden in milk, the Pure Consciousness resides in every being. That ought to be constantly churned out by the churning rod of the mind.”

It is pure consciousness, which is a sub-Planck field of pure vibration of multidimensional space, which is the constituent of all that is manifest and unmanifest. (purely the author's understanding)

Through this understanding an internal fusion takes place between rationality and pure consciousness. While rationality operates through the mind, pure consciousness emanates at the heart level. Anahata Chakra is the level at which the transition from the physical level to the cosmic level takes place. By merging these two faculties a process of transcendence is initiated.

This is stated in the following text (Amrita-bindu Upanishad, verse 5,6);
“The mind should be controlled to that extent in which it gets merged in the heart. This is Jñana (realization) and this is Dhyana (meditation) also, all else is argumentation and verbiage.
(The Supreme State) is neither to be thought of (as being something external and pleasing to the mind), nor unworthy to be thought of (as something unpleasant to the mind); nor is It to be thought of (as being of the form of sense-pleasure), but to be thought of (as the essence of the ever-manifest, eternal, supreme Bliss Itself); that Brahman which is free from all partiality is attained in that state.”

Love to you all

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Attaining Ananda

In the last article, I ended saying that I will further elaborate on how one can move away from ego consciousness into higher realms in a process of deconstructing perceived reality.

The universe, as we directly experience and comprehend it, is but a construct of the brain that enables us to build a model which has inputs from our evolutionary journey ever since the cognitive attribute were bestowed on Homo sapiens. It's not a true picture of reality. There are many ways of constructing and experiencing reality, and there are ways of perceiving things other than the 'normal' construct that the vast majority of mankind employs.

These different constructs depend on different modes of consciousness. Most of our lifetime we operate, in what we call waking consciousness which is the fundamental way the physical brain interprets what the senses input. In sleep we move away from the purely brain oriented translation of reality and take recourse to what is available in the subconscious realm. In deeply meditative states or in drug induced altered states of consciousness we reach further into deeper level of the universal unconscious. In deep trance or under hypnosis, one can experience an out of body experience where in we can evoke a further deeper level of the subtle body consciousness.

Space itself is but a mental construct. There are many ways to construct space other than the familiar Euclidean (three dimensional) space most people experience.

Meditation is a very powerful tool in achieving altered states of consciousness. As we progress in our daily meditation, using the many time tested techniques, our perceptual constructs will soon give way to something far more profound, something currently inconceivable as for the vast majority of our life time we are all trapped in our little worlds which we think is reality, but which is not. We are the universe conscious of itself. A persistent practice of meditation will lead consciousness to experience an abrupt change. Individuality will give way to the experience of something common that sort of underlies the individuality.

Our perceptual realities are only the dimly lit surface of a vast sea of consciousness. This is not the Jungian collective unconscious per se, but rather something which is indeed very conscious. However, the great majority of our species has not experienced this directly because they are confined within their little, illusory perceptual shells which they think is somehow reflective of reality, but it is not.

We (our conscious worlds) are but waves or ripples on the surface of something vast, the Self, a consciousness which underlies and encompasses all the little spheres of self-consciousness. This is why being self-cantered is naive. We, as a species, are moving inexorably towards Self-centeredness.

If you directly experience the bigger picture, you will see just how much of an illusion our 'normal' perceptual reality is. People who have taken this journey experience a sea of light and untold bliss. This is where our true being resides. This is the reason that this embodiment of consciousness is called 'Anandamaya Kosha'.

People are stuck in their small pockets of individuality, they never look deep beneath the surface, and there is something vast there that likely is common to all. It is something that you have to directly experience because explanations and descriptions will be empty without the actual experience. This is where humanity is headed as visualized by great mystics like Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin. I would like to end this short article by quoting Teilhard de Chardin:

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire.”

Love to you all.