Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fate is a Non-entity

This short article tries to capture the teachings of Vasişţha to Ramachandra on the nature of fate and the need for action towards Self realization in the present life. Scholars are in agreement that Vasişţhadarshanam, which expounds the philosophy of Advaita as commented by Vasişţha predates the commentaries of Gaudapada and Sankara.

The discourse can be seen as the philosophical response to the very disillusioned Rama about the futility of human life. Rama sees life as extremely short and a doll in the hands of death. The restlessness of the mind and the insatiate desire of the body which is seen by young Rama as an abode of disease and suffering.

Seeing the discontent of the young man Rama’s father brings him into the presence of Vasişţha, who explains the various aspects and necessities of our human life and its purpose.
One of the key elements which leads to a false sense of complacency is the concept of fate. This false concept is strengthened by our lack of knowledge of the true nature of the Self.

Before we acquire anything, one must be convinced of the fact that the sole determining factor in any achievement is one’s own effort. This can be easily understood if we look at the way today’s world operates. All ego driven initiatives are devoid of sincere efforts to leverage one’s own potential. Rather the ego dominated self uses and exploits the resources and potential of others to its advantage. All power brokering and wealth generation are primarily driven by exploitation of external resources, be it human or otherwise. The innate indicator of a false perception is then dulled in one’s conscience by the positioning that fate determines everything and we are just pawns in the master game of fate.

Vasişţha corrects this concept by defining the nature of destiny. Current status is the result of our karmic imprints that we carry from our previous births and by concerted action one has the capacity to set a new direction in which our spiritual progress can takes place. Fundamental to this exercise is the true knowledge of the Self. How can one try and acquire this knowledge?

Vasişţha lays out four preliminary requirements which a man desirous of knowing the Self should have in order that he may easily succeed in his efforts.

These four are namely; Contentment, Peace of mind, Association with the wise and Rational investigation. Of all these the last, Rational investigation, is the most important. All the objects of the world and all the knowledge, both true and false, are given to us to aid the mind in this process of discernment. All objects and resultant impressions are the operation of the mind in duality and understanding the all pervasive unity behind all manifestation leads to a higher realization.
The evolution of the objective world within the mind is an integral view through evolutionary consciousness and predetermined sensory imprints wherein an imagination, actuated by a desire, assumes the forms of objects of enjoyment. If we are trapped in this world it would be a futile exercise to take up a journey of involution wherein the objects of desire cease to exist.

A controlled mind which focuses on continuous discernment leads us to a total presence in the present moment with the pure intent focused on non duality and non differentiation. Hence fate or destiny becomes a non entity. This is what is called total surrender to the divine.

"According to Vedic opinion, there are two ways of passing from this world—one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns." ……….BG 8:26

The light that Bhagavad-Gita talks of is the ‘true knowledge of the Self’ and darkness is the lack of this knowledge. But the destiny of all souls is the ultimate union with the Godhead and there is no other fate.

Love to you all

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mystical Significance of Baptism

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”…………John 1: 10-11

“I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”………. John 1: 33-34

I am leaving for taking part in the baptism of my brother’s granddaughter in Bangalore on Sunday and I thought it would be fitting to write this short article on the spiritual significance of baptism. To many of us Christians baptism is the rite of passage into the Church, being accepted as a member, but that is not the main purpose. It is also deemed as a sacrament which washes away the original sin passed on to unsuspecting innocent children of humanity because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. It is essential why the sacrament of baptism is the very first sacrament that is administered and why the sacrament of Holy communion follows.

The answer to this is in the Bible and we fail to see this when we read the words in a literal sense.
In the Gospel of Luke, it is ample evident that the unborn child in the womb of Elizabeth recognized the presence of the unborn Christ in the womb of Mary.

“When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”……..Luke 1: 41

Every creation of God starts of with a primary Divine consciousness which pervades it entire constitution. This is the reason that, according to Jean Piaget model of cognitive stages, ego does not exhibit itself in child until the age of four to five. There is unitive consciousness in the child. The human child does not evolve in an absolutely pure state of consciousness as there are evolutionary imprints in its consciousness. These are subtle and intuitive information which are necessary for survival and adoption to the social milieu. But despite this aberration, there is an innate capacity in the child to comprehend happening in the field of consciousness. For example, we are aware that prenatal experiences have a definite impact on the child’s physio-psychological development. This is the reason that when the mother goes through a mystical awareness this is amplified in the primal consciousness of the child, John the Baptist, and a recognition of the presence of a Divine consciousness happens. This is a typical case of unitive consciousness in operation. This transcends time and space.

But as John the Baptist grows into adulthood, though he is aware of the higher purpose of his life, he is unable to operate in the unitive consciousness and fails to recognize the presence of Christ who is embodiment of this higher consciousness. The linkage to this new awareness is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity. Holy Spirit is the all pervading Divine consciousness which unites the Creator and the created, the Father and the Son.

The ignorance of this truth is the original sin with which we all come into this world. The true knowledge of our Divine nature has to be establishes in the symbolic act of washing and anointing with the Chrism as Sons and Daughters of the Father. This is also the meaning being born again as revealed to Nichodemus by Christ.

“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”……..John 3:5-6

Physical birth is only the construction of a vehicle or Tabernacle and will have no purpose until the Spiritual birth takes place through the recognition of the Divine consciousness or the Holy Spirit taking residence and setting in motion the power that drives this chariot to its intended destination,
which a Divine union at the end of this temporal journey.

Love to you all

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mystical Bridal Chamber

“The mysteries of truth are revealed, though in type and image. The bridal chamber, however, remains hidden. It is the Holy in the Holy. The veil at first concealed how God controlled the creation, but when the veil is rent and the things inside are revealed, this house will be left desolate, or rather will be destroyed. And the whole (inferior) godhead will flee from here, but not into the holies of the holies, for it will not be able to mix with the unmixed light and the flawless fullness, but will be under the wings of the cross and under its arms...”……….Gospel of Philip (Nag Hamadi Library)

These are very deep mystical words and can only be understood by an open heart that seeks hidden truth through a mystical journey. The first few words provide the needed preamble in stressing the importance of symbolism and imagery through which esoteric truth is usually revealed in the scriptures.
In Gnostic writings, the bridal chamber always refers to the space in which the union of the Divine and the human takes place. To enter into this chamber one has to tear the veil of concealment. This is referred to as Koshas in the Vedic scriptures. The five Koshas namely; the Annamaya, Manomaya, Pranamaya, vignanamays and Anandamaya are the sheaths that cover the created entity which resides in a lower level of consciousness. Within these coverings is the primal or Divine consciousness.

This is what Valentinus, a disciple of St. Paul and a Gnostic teacher, writes in the Gospel of Philip. The bridal chamber is the Anandamaya Kosha. It is the Holy in the Holy. In Kabbalah, this level of consciousness is called ‘Ain Soph Aur’ (Endless Light; אין סוף אוֹר). This is the reason why the author calls this level of consciousness as “inferior Godhead”. The bridal chamber is concealed as long as we are in the material manifestation.

The meaning of “this house will be left desolate, or rather will be destroyed” is that when the Divine plenum of consciousness is reached all material attachments and clinging, symbolized by the veil, are destroyed and a total emptying takes place. This is the state of Samadhi in which there is pure consciousness and the plenum of existence is ‘Sunyata’.

The freed up consciousness is then liberated but does not move into the ‘Holy of Holies’ which the Ain Soph (Limitlessness; אין סוף) (The Zohar explains Ain Soph as follows: “Before He gave any shape to the world, before He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without resemblance to anything else. Who then can comprehend how He was before the Creation? Hence it is forbidden to lend Him any form or similitude, or even to call Him by His sacred name, or to indicate Him by a single letter or a single point. . . . But after He created the form of the Heavenly Man, He used him as a chariot wherein to descend, and He wishes to be called after His form, which is the sacred name 'YHWH'”).

There is a distinct difference between “Holy in the Holy” and the highest level of consciousness known as the “Holy of Holies”. The liberated consciousness is still in the combined realm of creator and the creature symbolised by the two arms of the cross signifying the vertical cosmic or universal dimension and the horizontal created dimension of consciousness.

Now if we read the Gospel of Luke, there is a whole new meaning to the writing.

“It was now about the sixth hour(signifying vertical dimension of Solar ascendancy), and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour
(signifying horizontal dimension of Solar decline), for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.”……….Luke 23:44-46

Love to you all

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mandatory Self Purification

Yeshua said, “You see the sliver in your friend's eye, but you don't see the timber in your own eye. When you take the timber out of your own eye, then you will see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend's eye.”…….Saying 26 Gospel of Thomas

This is a simple saying which has a primary message. This message is the importance of self purification. It is a common sight today that we see spiritual leaders and Gurus who profess and expound spiritual wisdom through wonderful words and eloquence and miraculous deeds to convince their followers of their high standard but when you take a look at their inner most thoughts and actions in privacy, they have a very questionable life. They are like the Pharisees whom Christ chided in the following words

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.”…………Matthew 23:27

Self purification through self forgiveness and self love is a prerequisite in our life of being a guide to our fellow humans. The eye is the sense organ of perception. But if one has a timber or obstruction which leads to total distortion in what we perceive then the knowledge and wisdom we gain is also distorted. It is with humility one must evaluate one’s state of spiritual progress before we embark on trying to guide others.

Both in this saying and in the previous saying Yeshua refers to the eye. It is the primal portal to our mind through which we observe the universe and all the great beauty of creation. In order to understand the deep meaning of the revealed reality, one has to have no preconception or bias. But we all carry a timber installed through conditioned belief system and cultural derivatives. Eradicating these obstacle is what Yeshua recommends as “take the timber out of your own eye”.
Usually a seeker or a friend or brother comes to us because he or she assumes that he or she is approaching a person of superior knowledge and wisdom. This very approach qualifies the seeker as having rid himself or herself of any rigid stand. It is not only the size but also the quality of the obstacle is explained in this saying. A timber is a tough and inflexible object while a sliver is capable of easy manipulation. This is a very practical example as we have experienced when a friend has a dust or speck in the eye, we can manipulate it by blowing into the eye and removing it.

Here I would like to quote Tau Malachi’s words:

“The first three initiations of mystical Christianity place an emphasis upon the process of self purification. The rite of baptism is specifically a ceremony of purification. It is a mystical death to our old self bound in a lower level of conditioned consciousness. The rite of Chrism (anointing) continues this process, the darkness being transformed in the transmission of supernal light of Divine consciousness in a process of purification and consecration. Finally, the Holy Communion completes this process in a spiritual alchemical transmutation which is the fruit of purification.”

This act of self purification is not a one-time process but as long as we live in this world, it is a work in progress.

Love to you all