Sunday, June 30, 2013

Transcendental Knowledge

"The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.
This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science." .............Bhagavad-Gita chapter 4:1-3

These are the first three verses of chapter four of Bhagavad-Gita wherein the science of Transcendental Knowledge is taught to Arjuna. The introduction explains the lineage of the supreme knowledge. This knowledge is the relationship between the manifest humanity and the supreme Godhead. This is the meaning of Yoga, it is that which ties together the two aspects of the manifest and the supreme unmanifest.

In classical commentary, it is normally taken to be that the very scriptures, the Vedas, have come down in unbroken fashion from time immemorial to the present day. This was a misunderstood concept as the second verse says that the succession was broken due to the shift of consciousness  as classified in the yuga system. If a system of communication of this supreme knowledge was to be achieved without corruption, then this mode of communication has to be above the pure mental or intellectual level as all derivatives of these faculties such as language and art are subjective to local culture and conscious experience.

Imperishable science cannot be taught at the intellectual level through speech or writing as a language is involved and language is a pure structural derivative of mental concepts. The instruction and its communication has to transcend the intellectual domain. This is the reason it is called 'Transcendental Knowledge'. This leads to the examination of the nature of communication which could not have been epistemological or ontological. An objective world view as to the nature of the supreme would have utterly failed to transmit the true knowledge. A teleological grasping of this supreme reality would also be very limiting as any a posteriori concept would not be beyond falsification.

The only method which achieves the transmission of 'Transcendental Knowledge' without corruption is through a cosmological, intuitive methodology. This is what the first verse points out that the first transmission was from the Supreme Godhead to Vivasvān. Vivasvān then instructs Manu, the father of mankind and he in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku. In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.51.14, it is clearly pointed out that Ikṣvāku was the grandson of Vivasvān, the Sun God. This is an allegorical hierarchy of the unpolluted lineage of the all knowing Divine potential from the individual soul to the primal man and on to the creator, the Solar deity and then on to Cosmic domain. Today we are classifying in the study of consciousness the four levels which have an unbroken chain of connectivity. This being self consciousness, planetary consciousness, Solar consciousness and Galactic consciousness (cosmic consciousness).

When the individual becomes rooted in self consciousness, dominated by the sensory modifications and materialistic cravings of the ego, the imperishable science of yoga is lost and a disconnect happens between the individual and the supreme Godhead.

The purpose of the instruction of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna was to impart this supreme knowledge through an inner awakening.

Love to you all.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Perpetration of Evil by God

"Another day, the sons of God came to attend on Yahweh and Satan came with them too." ............................. Book of Job Chapter2 verse 1
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I shall return again. Yahweh gave, Yahweh has taken back. Blessed be the name of Yahweh!"
............................Book of Job Chapter1 verse 21

The Book of Job, which is categorized in the wisdom tradition, along with the Song of Solomon, the Psalms and the Proverbs, brings our certain deep meanings in the Judaic theology. Without understanding this deeper layer we will tend to consign the God of Israel to a definition of a despot and with all the anthropomorphic attributes that become evident in the pages of the Tanakh.

In Indian literature there is a story, first told in the Mârkandeya Purâna, which is similar in theme to that of Job.
The gods and goddesses were assembled with the seven Manus [ascetics] in the heaven of Indra. The question was asked whether a single human prince could be found who would be without stain or blemish. Most of the members of the divine assembly were of the opinion that there was none, but Vasishta insisted that a certain Harichandra was perfect. Shiva offered to prove the contrary if the prince were delivered into his power. Vasişţha accepted the challenge, and it was agreed that, depending upon the issue of the wager, one would yield to the other all merits acquired in a long series of penance. Shiva (the destroyer) thereupon submitted Harichandra to all sorts of trials, deprived him of his wealth, kingdom, wife, and only son, but the prince persisted in his virtue. The gods rewarded him with munificence and returned to him his previous estate. Shiva gave his own merits to Vasişţha, who passed them on to Harichandra.

There are two fundamental basis for understanding these types of mythological or wisdom writings. The first is that the consciousness of good and evil are only real in the space-time consciousness of individual human being and second the Divine being, usually referred to as God in his creative, preserving and annihilation role, is an anthropomorphic revelation from a subjective collective consciousness exhibiting as an external objective phenomenon with all its assigned attributes. Only through these two basis that we can explain why in a monotheistic tradition the sons of God and Satan share the same status in the presence of the Almighty.

The dualistic attributes of good and evil being bestowed upon Yahweh and Satan result from this human consciousness. As long as the individual consciousness operates in the created ambiance, duality and existence of polar opposites become rampant in our thinking. Every experience of the human being, when it is derived from sense perception leading to emotional states such as happiness, peace, suffering and pain, is the result of our current state of modified consciousness which results from our karmic field and our 'current life' space-time consciousness.

With the above understanding the story of Job is the individual perception of a sequence of events that happens in his life and its causality is assigned to Yahweh who allows atrocities to be perpetrated through the agency of Satan. Yahweh and Satan are the dualistic aspects of the one Divine consciousness, which is omniscient,  in the individual consciousness which is trying to grasp the realities life experiences with its limitation of karmic and manifested impressions.

The nakedness of which Job speaks is the original state of being, the state of Adam before the fall which was in the image of the Divine. And the desire to go back in the same state of purity to the Yahweh, the Divine plenum, is the true spiritual wisdom which the story of Job teaches us.

Love to you all.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ignorance and Knowledge

"Into blinding darkness enter they who worship ignorance. And into still greater darkness, as it were, enter those who delight in knowledge itself.." ..........Isa Upanishad - Verse 9

This verse is a prelude to explaining the modes of transcendence and how many of the spiritual seekers are rooted in the deluding stages of ignorance and knowledge which is derived purely from the ego mind.

This reminds me of the words "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few." ........Shunryu Suzuki: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, p. 21
This is the relative darkness of which the sage says in this verse. While there is a floundering darkness in an aspiring soul which is still open to acceptance of alternate knowledge paths, the more ego driven individual who assumes in his or her mind that there is adequate knowledge within his or her reach to know the deeper self, closes off all portals through which illumination can be derived and thus is surrounded by a greater darkness than what an initiate or spiritual amateur experiences in their path of seeking the ultimate truth.

In his comment on this verse Scott Teitsworth, a disciple of Guru Nithya says:
" A significant part of the impact comes from the gauntlet thrown at the feet of our ego, which invariably takes delight in knowledge. Even those who denigrate knowledge are showing off the superior knowledge they have that knowledge is overrated. In fact, knowledge is the ego’s primary protective defense. As we have learned, defenses constrict our world, and so are inimical to the thrust of liberation. There is a very thin line, if any, between bondage and our defensive fortifications. As seekers it is time to free ourselves from these limited parameters." This the blinding darkness which the verse speaks of.

Another great mind, Noam Chomsky, writes in his book, "The Common Good" 
 “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion (relative ignorance)*, but allow very lively debate (conditioned dialectical knowledge)* within that spectrum....”  This is the type of darkness into which people are locked up in organized belief systems or orchestrated instructions by archaic masters, who are typecast in an impervious knowledge domain. Many spiritual commentaries written or interpreted in  per functionary literal tradition fall under this category.

We should carefully note that the Upanishad is speaking here of "worshipping ignorance" and "delighting in knowledge". Ignorance and knowledge are normal and inevitable aspects of objective consciousness, but when we habitually cling to them they tend to isolate our inner experience which always operates in a subjective and dialectical way (this dialectical way might involve the self and another illumined external source or an intuitive alter ego of divine nature). In 'worship' one becomes a slave of the concept that the unknowable is beyond all forms of personal experience and in 'delight' one feeds the ego mind and through both we are sure to become stuck fast in a mental dungeon.
Only by liberating ourselves from the comfort of ignorance and ego attachment to current level of knowledge, we will ever be able to expand our awareness.

Love to you all

* Authors comment