Friday, September 30, 2011

Virgin Mother Goddess

In this article, I propose to address only the iconic symbolism of Virgin Mary and its evolution. The worship of Mother Mary as the Mother of God is an all prevalent ritual practice in the Catholic and Orthodox Christianity. While in a so called puritan sense, the protestant movement has done away with worship of all other entities other than Jesus, the fundamental psychological need in worship, where there needs to be transference from the iconic to the abstract in stages of easy ascendance, has been ignored.

Carl Jung points out the need for the relation to 'mother archetype' in the psyche’s framework in invoking deep-felt outlets for psychic energy through dreams and other forms of visualization.

The Great Mother is portrayed in myth as a host of archaic images, as divine, ethereal and virginal. Commonly conceived of as a nature goddess, the recurrent theme of nature and motherly care go hand in hand. As the prominent feature of almost all early Indo-European societies, the mother archetype manifests itself in a host of deities and symbolism. Always ambivalent, the Great Mother is an archetype of feminine mystery and power who appears in forms as diverse as the queen of heaven and the witches prevalent in myth and folktale.

The name given to Mary is “Theotokos” which literally means bearer of God or one who gives birth to God. The theological controversy is not the subject of discussion as how the primal cause can be birthed. There are volumes written on this subject through invoking the Holy Trinity. But if we look at the linkage of how the human creation can access the Divine realm then we have the mythical symbolism finding a meaning in our ritual worship. The Virgin mother is a very ancient concept in middle eastern cultures.

In reality, the virgin-mother motif is common enough in pre-Christian cultures to demonstrate its unoriginality in Christianity.
In “Pagan and Christian Creeds”, Edward Carpenter recites a long list of virgin mothers:
  • Devaki, the radiant Virgin of the Hindu mythology, became the wife of the god Vishnu and bore Krishna, the beloved hero and prototype of Christ.
  • With regard to Buddha, St. Jerome says "It is handed down among the Gymnosophists (Naked philosophers) of India that Buddha, the founder of their system, was brought forth by a Virgin from her side."
  • The Egyptian Isis, with the child Horus on her knee, was honored centuries before the Christian era, and worshiped under the names of "Our Lady," "Queen of Heaven," "Star of the Sea," "Mother of God," and so forth.
  • Before her, Neith, the Virgin of the World, whose figure bends from the sky over the earthly plains and the children of men, was acclaimed as mother of the great god Osiris.
  • The saviour Mithra, too, was born of a Virgin, as we have had occasion to notice before; and on Mithraist monuments the mother suckling her child is not an uncommon figure.
  • The old Teutonic goddess Hertha (the Earth) was a Virgin, but was impregnated by the heavenly Spirit (the Sky); and her image with a child in her arms was to be seen in the sacred groves of Germany.
  • The Scandinavian Frigga, in much the same way, being caught in the embraces of Odin, the All-father, conceived and bore a son, the blessed Balder, healer and saviour of mankind.
  • Quetzalcoatl, the (crucified) saviour of the Aztecs, was the son of Chimalman, the Virgin Queen of Heaven.
  • Even the Chinese had a mother-goddess and virgin with child in her arms.
The iconic symbolism of a virgin Mother Goddess is the 'waking consciousness' level entry into the creative and protective archetype of the Mother Goddess of the 'Universal unconsciousness' field, the link being the imagery, dream, vision or internal and intuitive medium of elevated consciousness through which one can reach out to the Divine plenum.

Let us move beyond dogma and theology to an inner experience of the interceding Mother who can birth us into the Divine realm.

Love to you all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Testimonial for Posterity

I have just returned from the funeral of my uncle. While travelling back I was contemplating on the life journey which we all undertake. Then a thought occurred to me ‘What should one leave for posterity. Probably a fitting advice resulting from your life experience, to those you leave behind.
Upon your demise, if you had the financial resources, you would likely leave a testimonial etched in marble stone for others to read. Here is one written in 360 BC:

“Believe me, men, I have been dead all the years I have been alive. The beautiful, the good, the holy, the evil were all the same to me; such it seems was the darkness that formerly enveloped my understanding and concealed and hid from me all these things. But now that I have come here, I have become alive, as if I had lain down in the temple of Asclepius and been saved. I walk, I talk, I think. The sun, so great, so beautiful. I have now discovered men, for the first time: now I see the clear sky, you, the air, the acropolis, the theatre.”………… Papyrus Didotrana

Though it sounds morbid, associating death with relief comes with a negative connotation. The statement above clearly indicates the extremely reduced consciousness during human life. What is beautiful, good, holy or evil, were judged by a different set of standards which are being dictated by the ego consciousness which has thrived in the materialistic culture in which we have been rooted in the modern age. This has been foreseen as the onset of Kali yuga or the dark ages in Vedic philosophy.
Asclepius, is the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the holistic healing aspect of the medical arts and it is represented by his five daughters. His daughters are Hygieia ("Hygiene"), Iaso ("Medicine"), Aceso ("Healing"), Aglæa/Ægle ("Healthy Glow"), and Panacea ("Universal Remedy").
To lie down in the temple of Asclepius means to be one with the spirit of Asclepius.

Holistic medicine is now increasingly talked about not only in the medical profession but also by many individuals, thanks to the information deluge that we are witnessing through the world wide web.
Most human maladies and disease are the result of one’s mental state rather than some external cause. Today there is hard evidence as to what damage continued mental stress can cause within the body. Any interruption in smooth energy flow within the body causes energy blockages which result in various degrees of symptoms which when left unattended cases diseases to occur.

A very unique symbol associated with Asclepius is his rod with an entwined serpent. There are many interpretations for these symbolisms. The significance of the serpent has been interpreted as the shedding of skin and renewal is emphasized as symbolizing rejuvenation through holistic healing and the staff conveys the notions of resurrection and healing which has an echo in the Old Testament writing in the Book of Numbers.

“Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live”……. Numbers 21:8-9

This statement implies the nature of the fiery snake which is the Kundalini energy which has to ascend continuously within the human body. when this energy is locked in a horizontal plane within a chakra level then death results (this represented by the crawling fiery serpents which bite the Israelites). When the serpent is raised up there is life and rejuvenation.
These symbolisms have been mutually inclusive in the myths and wisdom traditions of both the Hebrews and the Greeks.

This energy can flow only when we develop a right frame of mind and as the great Gautama said:

“O Brahmana, it is just like a mountain river, flowing far and swift, taking everything along with it; there is no moment, no instant, no second when it stops flowing, but it goes on flowing and continuing. So Brahmana, is human life, like a mountain river.”

Love to you all

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Consciously Creating the Future

Earlier I had written on the first tenet of Andrew Cohen’s list of tenets of Evolutionary consciousness. This post is on the second tenet.

“The Second Tenet of Evolutionary Enlightenment is the Power of Volition. This tenet calls us to a great responsibility. It asks us to endeavour to be responsible for nothing less than the destiny of the evolutionary process, here and now, as ourselves. And the way you embrace that Herculean task is through first and foremost making the noble spiritual effort to take responsibility for all of what makes you who you are. That means striving to come to terms with all of your past, and all of the karmic consequences of that past. It also means courageously stretching to embrace all the historically accumulated complexity of your present circumstances. Only then will you or I or any one of us be in a spiritually empowered position to consciously create our future.” ………… Andrew Cohen

Meaning of volition is will power. But engaging volition isn’t easy. It’s a higher attainment than mere motivation. Motivation is the desire to do something; volition is the absolute commitment to achieving something. To activate their willpower, individuals must pass a mental barrier, a personal Everest.

Today, the socio-cultural context promotes an ego centric mental attitude in all our endeavours. Hence it is fraught with difficulty to take responsibility for the whole process of evolution. The difficulty arises in our perception that one is isolated from the rest of creation and universal manifestation. This attitude has its origin in the ‘Hard Problem’ enumerated in the philosophy of Mind in dealing with the understanding of personal consciousness. To explain further, the ‘Hard Problem’ is how could a purely material substrate - the brain - understood in detail by physics, chemistry and biology, produce the privately witnessed phenomenal onslaught of personal conscious awareness?

But today science is moving beyond a purely redutionist and Cartesian understanding of consciousness through the field of Quantum physics. The Penrose-Hameroff Orch-OR (Orchestrated Objective Reduction) model of production of consciousness in the physical drain through Quantum computing at the microtubules provides a bridge between the non-physical conscious awareness and the action in the physical brain.

This also extends the field of operation of personal awareness beyond the physical body into a field that exists beyond space-time. With this deeper understanding one is able to appreciate the interconnectedness of all creation. When we make this statement one has to tread with caution, as the conscious observer has an indelible impact on the field of observation. As we not only project our intentions but also affect the projections of other conscious entities.

Professor emeritus at the London School of Economics and author of a recent book “Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness”, Nicholas Humphrey, in a recent interview said that consciousness should not be thought off as a cognitive skill but as a theatre. But I would amplify saying that it is a canvas, a virtual reality canvas, where not only one projects his intentions but where these projections are continually changed by all interacting conscious elements.

This in spiritual terms we call karmic imprints. This is what Andrew points out when he says: “That means striving to come to terms with all of your past, and all of the karmic consequences of that past. It also means courageously stretching to embrace all the historically accumulated complexity of your present circumstances.”

We are the evolutionary engines and the prime movers of the future. This deep understanding will enable us to employ the power of personal volition in shaping a higher level of evolutionary consciousness at the planetary and Galactic level.

Love to you all.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lucifer – Archetype of Desire

“Lucifer, on the other hand, is the spirit of excess, the flaming son of rashness and the ruler of sense-gratification, over which he wields dominion with a sceptre of serpents. [...]Lucifer is the light-bringer; he is transmuted by man into the fiery demon of war and hate. His power is used by man as the inspiration of lust and passion [...] He always is opposed to Satan, seeking to snatch the soul of man from the cold embrace of Saturn. He is the heat the incubates the soul, but man uses him as a flame to burn up reason.”…………………. Manly P Hall; Magic: A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics

This is an esoteric interpretation on the concept of Lucifer.
There are two prominent passages in the Bible where the fall of Lucifer is referred.
The first is in Isaiah 14:13-15 which a more apocalyptical writing in the face of Babylonian subjugation. The second reference in The Book of Revelation is more relevant.

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”....Revelation 12: 7-10

John the Divine, who is reputed to be the author of the revelations uses the Greek word ‘Polemos’ which really means a personal combat. Michael and (dragon) Lucifer are the two natures of the individual human psyche which are at logger heads in the spiritual journey. The psychic phenomenal illusions and fantasy are represented by the unbridled dragon breathing the fire of passion. It must also be understood that this fiery element is the creation of the Divine. Hence it is the potential that elevates the consciousness to the highest level but when this potential is used to the advantage of the Ego to usurp the power of knowledge to enjoy and enhance the lower material and physical nature, then one descends to the depth of Hades (lower world). All the invocation of desire, lust and power at the created domain is the Luciferian tendency that one employs to adverse effect in spiritual life.

James. M. Pryse, author of “The Apocalypse Unsealed” uses an esoteric interpretation to define the deeper meaning of Satan. He states “Satan, the red Divinity stands for nothing more than the principle of desire in all its innumerable gradations, from the vaguest yearnings and the mere promptings of the appetites of the body down to the grossest phases of passion and lust; and all these have their source in the instinct of reproduction, the attracting and cohering force of generated life. The creative Logos is the Dragon of light or Day-Sun and Satan is the Dragon of Darkness or Night-Sun.

Contemporary insight from persons such as Edgar Cayce, the noted American psychic, mystic, clairvoyant and a devote Christian, who had looked at dreams and visions as projection of one’s sub consciousness or elevated consciousness using archetypes, have commented on the concept of Satan as “The force of self-centeredness, self-gratification, self-indulgence, self-importance, self-righteousness, self-consciousness, self-glorification, self-delusion, self-condemnation, self, ego, the ‘false god’, the ‘beast’”

As Edgar Cayce said “The conquering of self is truly greater than were one to conquer many worlds.”

Let the concept of Lucifer transform us from a state of dogmatic fear to a state of empowerment as to the true nature of every human soul.

Love to you all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nature of the Unchanging

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.”……….Bhagavad-Gita 2:16

In continuation of my last post which dealt with the significance of the immersion of idols of deities such as Ganesa and Durga, the nature of non-existence of material nature and the perennial attribute of the implicate order from which all manifestations evolve as unchanging, is the subject of this post.

This verse from Bhagavad-gītā clearly states that the conclusion as to the nature of materiality and the changeless attribute of the soul have been arrived at by study of the nature of both.

It is easy to understand that all creations in the universe are subject to the second law of thermodynamics and tend to exhibit increased entropy (decay, dissolution and chaos). This is also true in our immediate environment as we observe plants, animals and humans come into being, grow and then decay into base elements. But how can we study the nature of the soul and arrive at a conclusion that it is beyond decay and annihilation.

The classical answer to this question is that one has to study the scriptures and go into deep, intuitive enquiry to know the nature of the soul. The classical commentary on this text is on the following lines; "In the Vedānta-sūtras, as well as in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Supreme has been accepted as the origin of all emanations. Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The causative energy and the effected energy are seen as two categories and are assigned status due to a temporal and primacy domain. All material manifestations, therefore, are always subordinate to the Primal cause namely; the Supreme Lord. This is similar to the master and the servant, or the teacher and the taught.”

It is also taught that such clear knowledge is impossible to understand under the spell of ignorance, and to drive away such ignorance the Lord teaches the Bhagavad-gītā for the enlightenment of all living entities for all time.

This commentary is bordering on a dogma. And contrary to the essence of the teaching. The Sanskrit word that is used for ‘study’ in this verse is ‘dṛṣṭaḥ’ which means ‘observed’ and has very topical connotation in Quantum physics.

My own perception is from a more logical and scientific direction. Temporality is evoked in classifying the nature of the manifest and the unmanifest soul. The yardstick for benchmarking temporal to eternal lies in the very concept of time. There can be two approaches both of which will take us to the same conclusion.

Firstly, from observation all creations at the gross level have limited span of existence. While we humans may have a life span of 100 years, the very elements that make up this gross manifestations have a much longer existence. Take the Carbon 14 in our bones, it takes 5,730 years to decay by 50% of its original mass (this scientist call half-life). Now if we look at Uranium (U235), it has a half life of 703,800,000 years and the nucleus of the atom will decay in 1040 (10 followed by 40 zeros) years. As we enter the more subtle realm longer is the existence.

We also know through science that all this decay is not total disappearance but conversion to a more fundamental energy. At the very fundamental substratum there is only energy which scientist call Vacuum energy or Zero point energy. This is the consciousness field which is ever present and from which all evolve.

Secondly, time is a mental construct due to our position in a four dimensional Space-time. Today we have proof from the scientific research that for sub atomic particles from the same source, quantum entanglement is a reality or in other words everything that we observe and that which is beyond the senses are interconnected in multidimensional field where instant communication is taking place beyond space-time. This is due to the fact that all matter and energies of the universe are from a single source at the Big Bang and pre-existent.

From these studies a conclusion can be drawn that material nature is impermanent and the consciousness field which is the soul is ever present and eternal.

Love to you all

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lord of Created Categories

This week end is the tenth day culmination of Ganapati puja. The immersion of the statues of Ganesa, which were adorned with great pomp with jewels and silk, takes place in many places today. Many would question why we resort to this practice of immersion in the pond, lake, river or sea.

To understand this ritual one has to look at the meaning of Ganesa or Ganapati. ‘Gana’ in classical Sanskrit means ‘tribal’ and ‘Isa’ means Lord and ‘Pati’ means protector. Here one has to go deeper into the spiritual context. There have been aberration in interpretation, assigning Ganesa to be the deity of Sudras. This is due to a reference to Manu Smriti.
Manu instructs (Manu Smriti iii.164) that those who performed the ‘ganayajña’ should be excluded from the funeral feast. What was meant by ganayajna? Govindaraja, the traditional commentator of Manu, interprets it to refer to the rituals of the followers of Ganapati. Of course, many modern scholars--under the changed attitude towards Ganapati--are reluctant to accept this straightforward interpretation. Why?

To properly understand ‘ganayajña’ one has to understand the true meaning of Gana. Tribal means groups or categorization. Hence Ganesa is the ‘Lord of the created categories’ and those who perform yajña or sacrifice {sacrifice means ‘to make holy’ – comes from the Latin ‘sacrare’ ‘facere’ meaning to make holy} to material categories are of the lowest category of spiritually advanced human beings.
True iconic symbolism of Lord Ganesa must be understood by the yajña-bhāvana or as one who is understood by performances of sacrifice.
This is why the goal intention of yajña is of prime importance and must be targeted at the supreme and highest reality.

Commenting on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.13.34 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda says:
“The Lord can assume any form He likes, and in all circumstances He is the cause of all causes. Since His form is transcendental, He is always the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He is in the Causal Ocean in the form of Mahā-Viṣṇu. Innumerable universes generate from the holes of His bodily hairs, and thus His transcendental body is the Vedas personified. He is the enjoyer of all sacrifices, and He is the unconquerable Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is never to be misunderstood to be other than the Supreme Lord because of His assuming the form of a boar to lift the earth. That is the clear understanding of sages and great personalities like Brahmā and other residents of the higher planetary systems.”

True meaning of the ritual of immersion of Ganesa idol is to understand that all creations must one day return to the very source from which they came.

In delivering his address at the America’s cup crews in 1962, John. F. Kennedy said
“it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.”

There is a natural tendency of all creation to return to the source and this life that we have on this planet is an extremely short existence. This is what the ritual of immersion of Ganesa, the Lord of all categories, must mean to us. Dissolution of all categories and duality is the ultimate realization of the Divine.

Love to you all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Clarity of Intention

“The First Tenet of Evolutionary Enlightenment is called Clarity of Intention. This tenet points directly to the essential nature of the evolutionary impulse itself: the wholehearted, passionate intention to exist, to develop, to become, to evolve. That impulse is the same uninhibited YES that burst forth as the big bang, that compels the body to procreate and the mind to innovate. When that impulse expresses itself at the highest levels of consciousness, it is experienced as the inspiration that pulls us toward spiritual liberation and enlightenment. It is the mysterious drive to become more conscious. To have Clarity of Intention means to align oneself with the clear and single-pointed purpose of that impulse itself. And the way that alignment occurs, in a human heart and mind, is that the intention to evolve becomes more important to us than anything else in this world.”……………. Andrew Cohen

If you have seen an ace archer in a competition, he or she spend a lot of time looking through the stretched bow string, the arrow and the target. Though the target is hundreds of meters away, by intense concentration the target gets closer. Andrew Cohen, who is a contemporary spiritual guide brings out the importance of clarity of intension in our spiritual journey.

The impulse to create and innovate entails a cosmic intelligent plenum. In today’s cosmology we can understand that there are no accidents, coincidences or chance. These are not my words but the words of leading cosmologist like Martin Rees, Leonard Susskind and Paul Davies.

If I am in possession of a big stone from the marble quarry and show it as my creation, you may laugh at me or throw me out. Suppose, I carve a beautiful statue out of that stone, immediately you will start admiring it as a beautiful creation. How did a simple stone, which was not considered a creation, now turn out to be a beautiful creation? What I brought out of the basic matter – stone – is an order and a beauty to qualify it as a creation. This starts with a primary intention.
In creation, there is an order and a harmony, contributing to aesthetic beauty. The Greek word Kosmos means ‘order’.

According to thermodynamics, any ordered system involves high energy or low entropy (disorder). In order to create and maintain order, work has to be done. Thermodynamically, nature moves to a chaotic state to lower its energy (natural energy dissipation); that is increase its entropy.

Another important point to remember is that larger the mass of an object greater the entropy contained within it. This potency for disorder is kept under check by an intent action. Since order can only come out of intelligence, creative order involves an intelligent action. This much, we understand by examining the laws of thermodynamics.

Intelligence at the cosmic scale involves the collective intent. It cannot be a ‘stochastic process’ such as Darwinian evolution since it cannot produce complex systems. (this is a big subject but we have sufficient scientific knowledge to endorse this view)

The Cosmic intent which models the evolving process is a reflective and integral content in individual consciousness. Having understood this deep truth, we need to focus our intentions on this Unitarian process rather than on narrow individual domains. We are co-creators in the cosmic process.

The way this happens is by means of aligning oneself “with the clear and single-pointed purpose of that impulse itself.”

This is the sole purpose and our goal in life.