Friday, March 29, 2013

Esoteric Symbolism of the Cross

Today is Good Friday, when the Christian community commemorates the crucifixion of Christ, an event that took place two millennia in the past. The concept of Christ sacrifice on the cross as a culmination of a redemptive process has been discussed by me in past articles and also by many scholars and theologians.

The crucifixion of Jesus is a historical fact which has been hardly mentioned outside the Gospels, especially by the then contemporary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who wrote a twenty volume composition of the happenings of the time “Antiquity of the Jews”.
What is important for any one seeking to grasp the significance of the redemptive process and the role of the crucifixion is to step outside the physical event and look for deeper meaning.

One of the earliest cruciform symbols used by Christians was the Chi Rho, as you can see in the image attached to this article. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters of the word "Christ" in Greek (Χριστός, Χ = chi and ρ = rho). Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ. The earliest evidence of the Chi Rho symbol is Constantine's use of it on the labarum, the imperial standard, in the early 4th century CE.

Whoever thought of this symbol understood the relation between Yeshua which was the Hebrew name of Jesus the person and his spiritual status as the ‘Christos’. In his book “Inner Christianity – A Guide to Esoteric Tradition” Richard Smoley writes that symbol X can be seen as two intersecting lines signifying the representation space and the other as time, both of these dimensions being perceived in a linear form. This is exactly what we see in the theory of Einstein as the inseparable nature of Space-time. If space is represented on one line, the intersecting line represents time with infinite number of points through which space progresses at different points of its existence. The intersecting point is the present moment in space time in which our consciousness operates giving meaning to our existence in a given form as humans. The vertical line through the intersection indicates the path of progress of the soul or our consciousness which can be both above or below our current level of consciousness in this manifestation. The purpose of current existence is to rise to the very top which represents Divine consciousness as symbolized by closed loop of the vertical line in a semi circle.

The closed loop is the Ouroboros. The Ouroboros in early mythical symbolism and in Jungian archetypes often represents the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. This is very much the same as the pre-existent Logos or Christ consciousness which was made flesh or given a form through Yeshua.
A more appropriate form on the top of the vertical line would be the Egyptian symbol of the Ankh  as shown below. This figures in the Coptic cross which is one of the earliest Christian
Communities in Christendom.
The pagan Egyptian ankh was a symbol of eternal life. Specifically, it was the eternal life granted by the gods. In images the ankh is commonly held by a god, sometimes offering it to the nose and mouth of the deceased to grant the breath of life. Other images have streams of ankhs poured over pharaohs. Thus, it is not an unlikely symbol of resurrection for early Egyptian Christians.

Summarizing, the crucifixion and resurrection are integral part of every soul and Christ’s redemptive act, in death and resurrection, is in establishing a powerful symbolism of how each one of us has to be crucified in our current existence to this space-time domain yet through our spiritually empowered life, through prayer and love of all creation, ascend to the eternal which is our true nature.

Love to you all. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Voice from the Rooftops

Yeshua said, "What you will hear in your ear, in the other ear proclaim from your rooftops.
After all, no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, nor does one put it in a hidden place. Rather, one puts it on a lamp stand so that all who come and go will see its light."
……….. Saying 33, Gospel of Thomas

These words have to be understood for their deeper meaning which an initiate receives in his own consciousness through intuitive perception. The act of listening through the sensory organ of the ear, has a deeper esoteric meaning which is the capacity for reception and perception, therefore also influx, for the things which are received and perceived with the capacity to transcend the very nature of the consciousness of the receiver. The teachings of Divine truth can only be grasped at the highest level of consciousness and also it can be communicated to others in an appropriate way only when the Guru or the teacher is at this state of elevated consciousness. The words “proclaim from your rooftops” means exactly this. As the roof top is the highest point in any mansion so also the roof top of a manifested creation is the highest state of its consciousness.

The voice that is to be heard is already referred to by King David in the Psalms:

“The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, "Glory!".”  ……..Ps. 29:3–9

The power of this voice and its potency is explained in this psalm. The significance of as to why the nature of Divine wisdom is communicated to the initiates through two sensory aspects, namely; the sound and the light, is because they are fundamental to human perception at the mental level when received  by any individual through the ears and eyes. So also the Divine truth must be grasped through the inner ear and the inner eye but can be communicated to any discerning initiate only through the recipient's  physical ears and eyes beyond which it is a solitary journey of the receiving soul to reach the higher levels of its own consciousness.

The purpose of receiving this gift of Divine wisdom is not to hold it within oneself but to radiate it from the highest level of consciousness to the entire creation. This is the very purpose of our own manifestation in this world. Yeshua again refers to the house top in another saying when He talks of the “end of the age” in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, wherein He says: “……….Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.” ………..Mt 24: 17
The esoteric meaning of this saying is that one should endeavour to remain in a state of highest consciousness when his physical and worldly existence is nearing its end so that the individual soul is ready for the journey to a higher level of existence within the Divine plan. Going down into the house means to descend to lower levels of consciousness into the materialistic and physical domain.

Yeshua also talks of putting the lighted lamp on a lamp stand. The menorah (lamp stand in the Jewish tradition) has seven limbs with seven flames signifying the seven energy centres of human body. When a person is an embodiment of Divine wisdom, all his energy centres radiate this glory.

Let us bask in the radiant light of Yeshua and his wisdom empowering words.

Love to you all. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reflection of the Self

“The self, the knower, the lord of all, the real being, is the cause of all the vision that is in the universe, but it is impossible for him to see himself or know himself, excepting through reflection. You cannot see your own face except in a mirror, and so the self cannot see its own nature until it is reflected, and this whole universe therefore is the self trying to realize itself.”            ………………....Swami Vivekananda

What a great and profound truth? There are a number of fine elements in this saying  of Swamiji.
First we have the knower and a correct definition of the knower is needed to do any further reflection on this subject of knowing and the known.

Knowing and known are intimately entwined. A knower can be defined as the aggregate of all that he knows.

Knowing is an intellectual perception born out of a acquisition of mental maps and their attached concepts. When I make a statement “I see a white rose”, there are two distinct concepts that come together in my perception of what I see. The first concept is that of a colour; namely white and the second is the concept of a specific ‘name and form’ to which my mental map has assigned the name ‘rose’. Hence a ‘knower’ is an aggregator of acquired mental concepts, right from the time of an awareness of self consciousness and the phase of subject-object duality consciousness sets in within the individual. All our acquired concepts and their resulting mental maps, with assigned names and forms, make up our intellectual content.

There is also another type of knowing which is intuitive and can not be attributed to direct perception of the stored repository of mental maps. This intuitive knowing emanates from the subconscious and the universal unconsciousness of which Carl Jung researched and wrote much. The knowledge resident in the subconscious is the result of the integral sum of all knowledge in the domain of human species from its planetary evolution. The knowledge in the ambit of universal unconsciousness evolves from a multidimensional cosmic field or what some mystics call ‘Akashic records’ of all the intelligence of the cosmos.

Beyond all this is the pure consciousness of the Divine. This is called by different names and in Vedanta it was known as Turiya.

Turiya is not that which is conscious of the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness nor is It unconsciousness. It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable and indescribable. The essence of the Consciousness manifesting as the self in the three states, It is the cessation of all phenomena; It is all peace, all bliss and non—dual. This is what is known as the Fourth (Turiya). This is Atman and this has to be realized”…………… Verse VII of the Mandukya Upanishad

The Self (Atman) is beyond the resultant of the aggregate of all these three consciousnesses, namely; the waking mental perceptions, the sub consciousness  and the universal unconsciousness.

To realize the Self we need a reflecting medium which can reflect, without any attenuation, the entire picture available in all three domains of consciousness which are but reflection of the pure state of consciousness. But this is a very difficult task as most of our perceptions are rooted in the mental and non-intuitive domain. Here also we have gradations of attenuation. An individual who is rooted in purely worldly pursuits, sees the reflection of the self only in the distorted materialistic realm but one who fathoms the depth of the cosmos sees a better reflection of the Self in the grandeur of the cosmic dimension. Even at this scale we are limited as this is not devoid of distortion.  This is why Swami Vivekananda says: “……….this whole universe therefore is the self trying to realize itself.”. It is still only an attempt in the right direction.
The transfiguration of Christ wherein the Cosmic consciousness of Christ was revealed on Mount Tabor or the Universal vision granted to Arjuna by Lord Krishna are both pure reflection of the true and absolute Self.

Love to you all.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Twinkle of Maya

“Just as milliards of bright sparks dance on the waters of an ocean above which one and the same moon is shining, so our evanescent personalities – the illusive envelopes of the immortal MONAD-EGO – twinkle and dance on the waves of Maya. They last and appear, as the thousands of sparks produced by the moon-beams, only so long as the Queen of the Night radiates her lustre on the running waters of life: the period of a Manvantara; and then they disappear, the beams – symbols of our eternal Spiritual Egos – alone surviving, re-merged in, and being, as they were before, one with the Mother-Source.” ………..The Secret Doctrine, i 237

Today we celebrate, in a purely commercial sense, Women’s Day. I have specifically chosen the above passage from Madame Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrine” because it resonates with the broader symbolism of who true we are in this earthly manifestation. In our awakened consciousness, we need to understand that there is a source from which we come and that source is not limited to our ancestral genealogy. The physical part of our manifestation can be traced to an evolutionary sequence but our true identity as a conscious being can not be traced in a linear fashion.

Our unique consciousness has a much longer journey compared to this current physical form. Our consciousness is a cosmic entity transcending beyond the physical realm. When one refers to the fundamental source of our being then we are faced with a hyper dimensional concept that defies mental grasping. Language is always a limitation when dealing with such concepts and this is the reason that we need symbols and mythological narrations to make available to the human psyche a lead to deeper interpretation of stimuli from the universal unconsciousness realm.

Jung’s archetype of the Mother can be seen in the referral to the moon as the Queen of the night begetting all the subtle images as defined in the above passage. Each human manifestation is a ‘twinkle and dance on the waves of Maya’ which are resident in the ‘running waters of life’.
Water again symbolizes consciousness in most mystical traditions.
According to Bhagavad Purana, God Vishnu in one of his incarnations, appeared as Vamana (dwarf) in the sacrificial arena of Asura King Mahabali. Then in order to measure the universe, he extended his left foot to the end of the universe and pierced a hole in its covering with the nail of his big toe. Through the hole, the pure water of the Causal Ocean (Divine Brahm-Water) entered this universe as the Ganges River. What is to be noted is the Casual Ocean is the cosmic consciousness or Divine consciousness which is the fundamental constituent of all creation.
In Aramaic, the alphabet ‘נ’ = ‘nun’ means "fish." The mem ‘מ’, means the waters of the sea, is the natural medium of the nun, fish. The nun "swims" in the mem, covered by the waters of the "hidden world." Creatures of the "hidden world" lack self-consciousness or are immersed in Divine consciousness. This the mother source and primal cause for all birthing in this world.

The best tribute that we can pay the women of this world is in recognizing the Divine feminine which is an integral part of all creation. Sexual differentiation, rooted at the physical level of creation, is very much at the anthropomorphic level and leads to a very narrow and extremely limited view of the role the feminine. This is the malady of today’s world.

“There are two aspects of individual harmony: the harmony between body and soul, and the harmony between individuals. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is the best given by producing harmony in one's own life.” …………….Hazrat Inayat Khan

But to see the birthing mother symbol in all creation and the integral nature of the animus and anima of the human psyche leads to harmony and elevation of our consciousness to a Divine level.

Love to you all.