Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creativity – A Divine Actuation

"While it is true that scientific results are entirely independent from religious or moral considerations, those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science were all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universe of ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving for knowledge. If this conviction had not been a strongly emotional one and if those searching for knowledge had not been inspired by Spinoza’s Amor Dei Intellectualis, they would hardly have been capable of that untiring devotion which alone enables man to attain his greatest achievements." …………Albert Einstein

The source of human creativity in the fields of art, science and technology has been the study in various disciplines such as neurobiology, philosophy, anthropology etc,.
When I read the observation of Einstein, I could relate to his understanding from two different perspectives.
One of these perspectives is a subjective experience, especially as person who dabbles in poetry and how there seems to be no rational in the way ideas form in your mind and as to how the poetry flows as you start to pen the words. There seems to be some hidden force which propels this action. The idea with which the poem was started and the way it has evolved during the time it takes shape are many times in no way connected. It is like patterns of liquid flow emerging when one topples a bottle of ink on to a white sheet of paper. An emerging fractal which can be extracted only through a very discerning mind.
The second perspective is more objective and weaned from the deep understanding of this great mind, namely; Einstein. He had this uncanny capability to question all established norms and he thoroughly understood the process of creativity without the vain glory of an ego dominated reasoning. Scientists like Galileo Galilee, Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and many of his contemporaries, especially with whom he had conducted thought experiments on Quantum physics, were deeply religious people.

A strong faith in the power of that which is beyond the human intellect prepares the ground for sowing the seed of innovative thinking. This reasoning can be approached through a process of falsification. If one has belief only in one’s own intelligence or a self collated database, there sets in a limitation or boundary beyond which the mind cannot probe. As all processes involving the human species are evolutionary in nature. The past and its contents, especially intellectual, cannot be the source for innovative and creative thinking or action. The needed inputs have to be pulled in from a domain yet unravelled.

It is interesting that Einstein refers to Spinoza and his “Amor Dei Intellectualis”. It would be interesting to see why.
Lewis Almeida writing a commentary on Spinoza captures the background of Spinoza’s philosophy and his “Amor Dei Intellectualis” in these words:
“Ruach Hakodesh pervades the writings of Baruch Spinoza, the Holy Spirit that has breathed through the wisdom literature of Israel from the days of the philosopher king, Solomon, and even earlier.  Spinoza’s amor Dei intellectualis, the spiritual love of God, is closet to the Hebrew simchah shelmitzvah, the joy of the law.  In the ideology of Spinoza, living by the law of wisdom was identical with obedience to the divine principle.  The teachings of the Kabbalah had tremendous influence upon him.  The cardinal idea of the Kabbalah, the Ain Sof (no-end-infinite) from which all being emanates, can easily be identified with Spinoza’s Substantia, the Endless, the All.
 Spinoza’s epistemology is based on the three forms of knowledge: 1) Vague understanding; (2) reason, and (3) intuition.  It bears close resemblance to the Kabbalastic idea of (a). chochmah, wisdom: (b). binah, reason, and (c). daat, perception.”

Einstein, given his Jewish upbringing and his intellectual openness mapped his ideas on to another great Jewish philosopher, Spinoza.

Einstein was a deeply spiritual person and his spirituality transcended the personal God and thus he was in a position to tap into this vast resource beyond narrow limitation into the creative Divine potential available to all who seek with an intuitive mind.

Love to you all

Friday, September 7, 2012

To be Transcendentally Situated

“He who sees everything in relation to the Supreme Lord, who sees all living entities as His parts and parcels, and who sees the Supreme Lord within everything never hates anything or any being.”...... Verse 6, Isa Upanishad

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” .......... Bhagavad-Gita 18: 54

These are two important verses in the Vedic literature which clarifies what needs to be done to be at the transcendental level, which is our true nature.

Human consciousness is dominated by the intellectual outputs we constantly seek as a source of affirmation.

David Icke says in his article “Transcendence through Intuitive Thinking”;

“The intellect is overrated and underrated because few understand its true purpose. In truth the intellect is a passive tool that evolves a given input towards an output according to certain rules and takes a premise toward its logical conclusion.”

The intellect is like a neural computer it passively carries out its programmed function but with a limited capacity to generate adaptive programme. What the intellect produces depends on three things; namely the sensory inputs, the store consciousness of past experiences and evolutionary imprints and their action on the mind and an acquired capacity in the present life time to make sense of these inputs in the space-time ambience in which the processing takes place. The resulting consciousness is then deemed real and valid and imprints are created. These imprints could be object related or concept related but the process is a chain of perceptions which have limitations. This is because we assume that sensory inputs and store consciousness content are infallible in nature.

In metaphysical terms, the underlying reality which is unchanging is called the Supreme Lord or Supreme Brahman or Divine consciousness. There are three levels of relating to this reality but none of them include a rational or mind oriented action. The intellect can only thus far be taken so as to negate any false perceptions. This is the neti-neti (not this – not this) mode of realizing the absolute.

It is purely an intuitive route that one has to employ to open up one’s consciousness to the Divine intervention. It is a two way process wherein the seeker and the sought merge.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.2.47 points out “A devotee who faithfully engages in the worship of the Deity in the temple but does not behave properly toward other devotees or people in general is called a prākṛta-bhakta, a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest position.” This person is also known as “kaniṣṭha-adhikārī”.

The next level is known as “madhyama-adhikārīs”. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.2.46 points out “An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikārī, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.2.48 says the ultimate level of transcendence is the stage of “uttama-adhikārī”. “Even while engaging his senses in contact with their objects, one who sees this whole world as the energy of Lord Vishnu is neither repelled nor elated. He is indeed the greatest among devotees.”

The dual perception of false reality as the self and external objects leads the mind to grasping and desire but the non-dual perception that at the most fundamental level all manifestations are the same aspect of the Divine leads us to be rooted in our true transcendental nature.

Love to you all

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Type Casting the Guru

Yeshua said, "No prophet is welcome on his home turf; doctors don't cure those who know them.”............... Saying 31, Gospel of Thomas

This saying of Yeshua is the result of his experience in his own home town and which is reflected in the canonical Gospel of Matthew “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honour” ....Matthew 13: 53-57
  Human perception is highly conditioned by sensory experiences we go through. There is a tendency to rationalize and fit all our encounters into an imagery we already have in our mind map. Modern cognitive studies have clearly indicated that we constantly seek patterns into what we perceive and any new experience is consigned to uncertainty and the result is a typical emotional response seeking a level of comfort in our physical and intellectual survival.

The deep messages of Yeshua were put to the common man through parables in which the kingdom of heaven was compared through common imagery such as the mustard seed and the pearl and the indoctrinated mind of the listeners refused to accept his higher knowledge, when he preaches them by deeper interpretation of the Torah, through radical rejection and social classification.

The second part of the saying is very relevant from what we know of the mind-body connection in modern medicine. If, as a patient, I am very familiar and have different relationship to the doctor on a personal level then it is difficult for my mind to become unbiased to a medical advice I receive. Faith is an important element in the mind accepting unknown or unknowable information as truth. Faith and an unconditional acceptance in a revelation of truth cannot be evoked unless one has absolute and unqualified trust in the source of this knowledge. This is a very important aspect of accepting a very radical teaching. Yeshua was trying to provide a radical shift in the way the law and ritual oriented Pharisaic teachings of Torah, which though it had profound value was not rooted in value based action, needed a new approach.

This is amply explicit in the canonical Gospel. "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them"..... Matthew 23:1-4

There is also another dimension of this part of the saying from a historical perspective as John Dominic Crossan points out. “If Jesus was a well-known magician, healer, or miracle-worker, first, his immediate family, and, next, his village would expect to benefit from and partake in the handling of that fame and those gifts. Any Mediterranean peasant would expect an expanding ripple of patronage-clientele to go out from Jesus, through his family and his village, to the outside world. But what Jesus did, in turning his back on Nazareth and on his family, was repudiate such brokerage, and that, rather than belief or disbelief, was the heart of the problem.” Yeshua chose to attenuate any preferential influence of his social action. He practiced egalitarianism to the core.

In spite of all the effort taken and from historical events preceding his own ministry, the radically different message coming from a carpenter’s son could not be accepted. The Guru was type cast and consigned to a role which only the ignorant could comprehend.

Love to you all