Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chitta and its Modification

"The chitta, by its own nature, is endowed with all knowledge. It is made of sattva particles, but is
covered by rajas and tamas particles; and by pranayama this covering is removed." -----Vivekananda, “ Raja Yoga”

The essence of Raja Yoga and its rigorous practice through eight steps is well illustrated in the commentary of Yogasutra of Patanjali by Swami Vivekananda. In this commentary the above statement figures. Then the basic question that comes to one’s mind is how can the chitta, which in its basic nature is pure and endowed with all knowledge, be corrupted?
The limitation of language in explaining this situation becomes apparent as Swami Vivekananda resorts to objective physicality in trying to clarify the process of defilement of pure consciousness.

It is as though we need to assign an objective framework to first understand chitta and then define an attribute of a pure constituent, sattva particles, being its nature. The defiling process is then described by accumulation of Rajas and tamas particles.

In order to have a deeper understanding it is necessary to elaborate this process from a non-objective dimension. We can proceed from the remedy that has been suggested; namely, the practice of ‘Pranayama’. Pranayama is the technique that one develops over many years of practice of controlling the prana or the vital force in the human body. Unlike many practitioners who assume that pranayama has to do with controlled breathing, it is the practice of controlling the nadi currents through the aid of controlled pulsation of the right and the left lungs which is accomplishes by the control of breathing.

It is the imbalance in the flow of the vital life force which causes consciousness modification. These modifications are karmic inheritance in material nature. The sattva particles can be thought of as pure ground potential state which defines the ground of being of pure consciousness. The mind operates in a reflective mode of pure consciousness and hence it acquires certain distorted characters contributed by the positively or negatively agitated state of the mind represented by the Rajas or Tamas particles.

Here we can recall the wisdom of Yama as he instructs Nachiketa in Katha Upanishad the hierarchy of the human mind:

“Beyond the senses there are the objects, beyond the objects there is the mind, beyond the mind there is the intellect, the Great Self is beyond the intellect. Beyond the Great there is the Undeveloped, beyond the Undeveloped there is the Person (purusha). Beyond the Person there is nothing--this is the goal, the highest road. That Self is hidden in all beings and does not shine forth, but it is seen by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.” ……Chapter 6 verse 10-12

Words of wisdom from a contemporary teacher reflects the process I have been explaining:

“Every thought, feeling, perception, or memory you may have causes a modification, or ripple, in the mind. It distorts and colours the mental mirror. If you can restrain the mind from forming into modifications, there will be no distortion, and you will experience your true Self.”  ……………..Swami Satchidananda

Hence it is not the pure consciousness which is modified but the reflection in the mind which operates at a much lower plenum. The Ashtanga Yoga defined by Patanjali is a process of eliminating the acquired and induced modifications of the perceptual and conceptual mind which operates under the influence of the Ego.

Love to you all.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

All Pervading Reality

“It moves and moves not; It is far and likewise near. It is inside all this and It is outside all this.” …………..…..Verse 5, Isa Upanishad

In this verse we are dealing with a juxtaposition of contradicting concepts. The three concepts of mobility, linear distance and three dimensional space are juxtaposed in defining the reality of the Self. Deeper examination will reveal that these three concepts can be unified into a single concept of space-time or the four dimensional world in which we live. All mental constructs such as concepts, thoughts, memories and hence our perceptions are the structural variance of four dimensional space-time.

The deeper reality of the Self which is addressed in various translations and commentaries as ‘It’ or ‘That’ has been best adopted by endowing a neutral and ambiguous attribute, which is the best one can do within the limitation of language.

Most commentaries have been written by various scholars and Gurus with the primary intension of communicating the meaning of the verse while being extremely sensitive to the grasping level of the audience. There is also the direct influence of the school of Vedic philosophy to which the authors of the commentaries belong.

The commentaries also address the marga through which one’s consciousness has to be evoked to a higher level. The commentaries by Adi Śakara are primarily influenced by the advaita (nondualism) philosophy and Jñana marga and hence the concept of Nirguna Brahman. The commentaries of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, are influenced by Sri Krishna consciousness and are primarily rooted in Bhakti marga through the concept of Saguna Brahman. Both routes effectively communicate the meaning and intension behind the words of the verse.

My personal reflection is rooted in understanding the nature of reality which is revealed to us today by science. The gap between the physical and the metaphysical has been narrowing down through the current level of understanding in the field of particle and Quantum physics. Those of you who are regularly reading my articles and writings would sense the direction I am taking.

The fundamental nature of all manifestations can be irreducibly scaled down to what in Physics is called ‘Vacuum Energy’. This energy is the result of constant cancellation of virtual particles at the level of the sub-Quantum manifold. This energy is calculated to be extremely high. Though there is constant action of vibrating between existence as particle-antiparticle pairs, there is absolute vacuum and absence of action at the perceptual and measurable level. (the potency of the vacuum energy is calculated only through a mathematical construct).

Quantum entanglement, about which I have written a number of times, is a phenomenon beyond space-time constrains. This has been theoretically proposed by the Bell Theorem and experimentally  verified by leading researcher such as Alan Aspect and others. For Quantum entanglement, the entangled particles have to originate from the same source and this is a clear mandate for all creation from Big Bang to be entangled to the primary source at the most fundamental level but only manifested as duality through our limited space-time consciousness.

From the above two scientific facts, the fundamental realty or the true Self is beyond space-time constraints. "

My personal understanding is that this knowledge which we are exposed to in the 21st century is the same which our Vedic Sages intuitively understood but had to write down within the limitations of language and culture.

Love to you all. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Descent of Inanna and Rebirth

In their well researched and concisely written book “The Wisdom of the Serpent: The Myths of Death, Rebirth and Resurrection”, Joseph Henderson and Maud Oakes say:

“The element of sacrifice and sacrament, of dismemberment or immolation, which is so common in all the myths of the dying and resurrecting gods whether as youths or maidens, is reflected in Inanna's descent, by her willingness to make the sacrifice of the symbols of worldly power (her garments and jewels) during six or seven stages into the place of death. She is ready to risk all for an uncertain return to life reborn. What is chiefly remarkable is that the myth of rebirth never fails; the ravished daughter or the dead son-lover is always resuscitated: Inanna, though "turned into a corpse" and "hung from a stake," is always brought back to life.”

The events relating to Inanna and Tammuz, Isis and Osiris, Cybele and Attis, Aphrodite and Adonis, in the Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman myths all are varied shades of the same theme of a sacrifice unto death with an impending rebirth of which there is no certainty when the journey to death is undertaken. What are these myths trying to tell us. The characters in the myths have a great relevance to the Jungian archetypes of the collective unconsciousness. The story of the descent to the underworld by Inanna is very illustrative of the purpose with which the mythologem is constructed.
If we take a close look at the human life, the gross body and astral body are in constant bond, likened to lovers, but in the process, influencing each other both in their constituent structure as well as in their existential attributes which are beyond space-time. 
At physical death the separation of the lovers, namely the gross body and the astral body, occurs. The gross body , which is represented in the myth of the descent of Inanna, as the heavily bedecked, jewelled and costumed Inanna descends through seven levels casting off the ornaments and clothes to appear in her full nakedness in the underworld. This dissolution or dismemberment in various other myths points to the disintegration of the gross body which is always associated with the male principle or Shiva in Vedic mysticism as the saguna deity of destruction.
The female principle which is always associated with Divine wisdom or the Shakti symbolism is associated with the astral body which is held in hibernation until the God of wisdom, Enki whose daughter was Inanna, sends ‘gala-tura’ and the ‘kur-jara’ to revive Inanna and bring her back to the living world.
In the narration of the myth, ‘gala-tura’ and the ‘kur-jara’ are two androgynous or asexual beings and they are given the power of astral travel (the myth says “Go and direct your steps to the underworld. Fly past the door like flies. Slip through the door pivots like phantoms.”). There is a very deep esoteric content in these words. The astral body is revived to take a gross form in rebirth through a messenger field which is denoted by its asexual and hyper-dimensional attribute.

The encapsulation of individual consciousness is beautifully brought out in the following lines; 
“So when Inanna left the underworld, the one in front of her, though not a minister, held a sceptre in his hand; the one behind her, though not an escort, carried a mace at his hip, while the small demons, like a reed enclosure, and the big demons, like the reeds of a fence, restrained her on all sides.” 

The sceptre points to the directional vector of destination and ultimate life empowerment and the mace represents the weapon of protection. The translucent fencing points to the evolving nature of gross existence which does not attain its gross nature till it reaches the land of the living.

These myths have evoked powerful archetypal imagery in the human psyche in order to purify and help evolve to our higher nature over the last 5000 years.

Love to you all.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Grand Marvel of Incarnation

 Yeshua said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty." …………Gospel of Thomas: Saying 29

First of all we have to look at the process of human manifestation as being a process incarnation. The word ‘incarnation’ comes from the Latin root ‘caro, carnis=flesh’. Life is bestowed into the basic inanimate matter due to the Spirit, which can be called by different names. One that I am comfortable with and which rings true to what we discover both in science and in the deeper philosophical enquiry is Divine or Universal consciousness.

It is indeed a great marvel how the atoms and molecules, which constitute the fundamental components of the nearly 100 trillion cells in the human body, become alive and duplicate themselves and create higher orders of complexity to form organs and the entire complex of a human being. This is the marvel of life as we see it. But this process of observation both through the scientific path or the intuitive path of the supramental domain requires the operation of the physical body. Unless life is sustained in the body, conscious observation can not take place. Hence understanding this deep truth, Yeshua, declares that “spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels.”

There is an inseparable bond which gets established between the flesh and the Spirit once incarnation is initiated. In the Canonical Gospels the various reference to the flesh and the Spirit and their relationship is rather dualistic and does not amplify the inner bond that can be discerned once we understand the true process of incarnation.

We need to understand the words in the Gospel of John where there is a references to the flesh and the Spirit. “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” ……….John 3:6
It is true that we inherit the material body from our parents but the individual consciousness is the direct inheritance from the Divine Spirit. But also we have to understand that our bodies and their constituents and hence our parentage are all chosen by the Spirit.
Prophet Jeremiah declares: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”………..Jeremiah 1:5
This is true for every human being which is born.

This is the reason that in the above saying Yeshua says “flesh came into being because of spirit”

Note carefully the words that are used. Spirit begets the flesh which means the basic constituents of material nature are the result of the pure nature of the Spirit. This is very true  as we now understand that all fundamental components of the atom are nothing but pure energy in various modes of vibration. But the body, which means the composite nature of human manifestation, when viewed from an integral dimension, embodies the individual consciousness or the Spirit, which has been subject to modification.

It is a great cosmic wonder how this marvellous attribute of consciousness (spirit) resides in an individual body and provides a life of self awareness and perception through which we are bestowed with a capacity to comprehend the action of the Spirit on a Universal dimension.

Love to you all.