Monday, July 22, 2013

Hierarchy of Being

"...those who 'ascend and descend' are the 'Hosts' of what we loosely call 'celestial Beings.' But they are, in fact, nothing of the kind. They are Entities of the higher worlds in the hierarchy of Being, so immeasurably high that, to us, they must appear as Gods, and collectively – GOD.... there may be a certain limited communication between some of those worlds and our own. To the highest, we are taught, belong the seven orders of the purely divine Spirits; to the six lower ones belong hierarchies that can occasionally he seen and heard by men, and who do communicate with their progeny of the Earth; which progeny is indissolubly linked with them, each principle in man having its direct source in the nature of those great Beings, who furnish us with the respective invisible elements in us."  ........................The Secret Doctrine, i 132-133

The deep wisdom of Madam Blavatsky is apparent in the verse above taken from the Secret Doctrine.
This deeper understanding of the transcendence of mankind into higher realms of consciousness was also pointed out in the Genesis story of Jacob and his dream.

"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying." .........Genesis 28:12-13

Mankind is promised this kingdom of created consciousness which is identified in the Kabbalah as Malchut, the kingdom of matter. But above this level is the levels of ascendance and descendence of higher beings endowed with higher level of consciousness. The symbolism of angels with wings denotes specifically this meaning. The name Israel means 'one who wrestles with God'. This is the struggle to reach the higher levels of consciousness. The 'Tree of Life' in Kabbalah has seven levels above the level of Malchut. This is reflected in the passage above as seven orders of purely Divine spirits.

Man is given the kingdom of matter for the sole purpose of ascendance of the spirit. But unfortunately, we use this gift for gratification of our flesh which subject to dissolution.

There is constant communication between these levels but one needs to be spiritually tuned to tap into these channels. This is an intuitive process in our higher awakened state of being. The six levels that Blavatsky points out are below the level of Keter, the crown, which is as in Kabbalah the functional structure of the sephirot (vessels) in channeling Divine creative life force, and revealing the unknowable Divine essence to Creation.

The seven levels or dimensions of creative Divine essence can also be seen in Vedic philosophy, as detailed in Bhagavata Purana. The concept of a multiverse can also be seen here:

"Every universe is covered by seven layers — earth, water, fire, air, sky, the total energy and false ego — each ten times greater than the previous one. There are innumerable universes besides this one, and although they are unlimitedly large, they move about like atoms in You. Therefore You are called unlimited." ..............Bhagavata Purana 6.16.37

This verse has very deep wisdom in explaining how the infinitude of the multiverse is contained within the Self and this attribute qualifies every human being to be vessel of the infinite Divine essence.

The hierarchy is intended, as a symbolic representation, to provide a path of true liberation of continued ascendance, similar to a stairway, and should not be understood in terms of a physical or spatial reality. The hierarchy is an anthropomorphic qualification of the levels of consciousness which is already available within oneself but which has to be evoked in this path of ultimate unification with the Godhead.

Love to you all

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Death through Knowledge

And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." ......Genesis 2:16-17

"The ignorant pursue external pleasures; (thus) they fall into the wide– spread snare of death. But the wise, knowing the nature of immortality, do not seek the permanent among fleeting things. Those who are devoid of discrimination and fail to distinguish between real and unreal, the fleeting and the permanent, set their hearts on the changeable things of this world; hence they entangle themselves in the net of insatiable desire, which leads inevitably to disappointment and suffering. To such, death must seem a reality because they identify themselves with that which is born and which dies. But the wise, who see deeper into the nature of things, are no longer deluded by the charm of the phenomenal world and do not seek for permanent happiness among its passing enjoyments." .......Katha Upanishad part 4:2

" For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." ........... Galatians 6:8

This article is to understand the esoteric meaning behind the tree of knowledge. The garden of Eden here stands for the pristine consciousness which was bestowed upon man in his creation. This is the reason that we read that God created man in His image.

"And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." ............Genesis 1:26-27

But having created man, he is invested with the potential of discrimination. This is indicative in the instruction he receives that he might eat of the fruit of all the tree of life but he shall not eat of the tree of good and evil. In this entire episode of the garden of Eden, life means spiritual immortality and death has the opposite connotation. The thinking man when he becomes the slave of his thoughts and is attached to the resultant pleasure of the senses operates in a mode of depletion of his spiritual well being. The flesh is the temporary vehicle of consciousness, which is everlasting and immortal. When God of Genesis gives man dominion over the animals and all other creation, this has to be understood as man is invested with the power to ascend beyond the lower nature of consciousness which pervades the mineral, plant and the animal kingdom. But as Paul points out when we nurture the flesh at the expense of the spirit then we face the loss of everlasting life. The concept of Samsara is embedded in Paul's writing.

I have specifically chosen the translation of Swami Paramananda of the Sanskrit version of the verse from Katha Upanishad as it elaborates the deeper meaning therein implied. The nature of death and immortality as related to the transient and the permanent reality is brought out in his translation. All our sense perceptions and the resultant thoughts and emotions are primarily for the well being of the physical body which is important in so far as in nurturing this vehicle of Divine consciousness. But sense gratification which is driven by the ego mind depletes the potential of this consciousness and deviates its action from nurturing the Spirit. Identifying with all impermanent entities results in the identifier's consciousness also achieving an impermanent state.

All spiritual writings, throughout the ages in their various forms and cultural context, convey the same message. Good and evil are the discrimination of the thinking mind. Good is the attribute of the Spirit and Evil is the attribute of flesh through sense attachments. This might lead to the question of why then the flesh. Flesh is the result of corruption of the primal consciousness and is a vehicle of transportation in our journey of reentry in to the uncorrupted state of consciousness. Till man ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he never knew that he was naked.

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;...." .....Genesis 3:7

This denotes the predomination of the senses over integral nature of existence and it is our life endeavour to re-enter the Garden of Eden to live in our Divine nature. This is the end of Samsara.

Love to you all.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Teachings of Natural Elements

"Earth teaches us patience and love. Air teaches us mobility, Fire teaches us warmth and courage; Sky teaches us equality and broadmindedness, Water teaches us purity and cleanliness."
............... Panna 1018 - Guru Granth Sahib

The recent disasters in Uttarakhand and this week's floods in northern China have instilled a sense of awe in the human mind. The fury that nature exhibits is difficult to understand from a human perspective in spite of the technical and scientific advancements that we have made in the twenty first century. I read the above verse from Guru Granth Sahib and immediately I was struck by a dimension which the first sentence conveys. Patience is a virtue which we lack in our busy modern day life but the tectonic process through which the beautiful landscape formed over billions of years and the slow process involving millions of years through which diamond naturally forms in the womb of mother earth through the compression of the common carbon atom into an unique lattice giving rise to the hardness and lustre, teaches us the virtue of patience. Starting from the very basic elements such as hydrogen and Helium, all elements that are present on the earth's core have been formed through chemical bonding in a process of nuclear synthesis, either here on earth or aggregated through the cosmic process of supernova explosion. This is the epitome of love at the mineral kingdom. The plants that grow in such abundance, the mighty trees from Redwood to the Baobab and the animals that roam the earth have all taught us the love that exists in nature through which they have multiplied and flourished and given us a habitable home.

The air we breathe acquires its mobility through the differences in pressure over the earth's surface and the temperature differential between the land and sea. The ocean currents and temperature determine the severity of the hurricanes. Mobility and the all pervading nature of air is equated to the omnipresence of the Divine.
 As Jesus says "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." ........John 3:8

Fire gives us warmth. This warmth is both external and internal. To keep our bodies warm in the cold of winter we resort to the comforting warmth of the fire. But we need the nature of fire in our metabolic process to consume the food we intake and convert it to energy needed to keep us alive.
Located in the area of the solar plexus, navel, and the digestive system, the fiery third chakra is called Manipura, the "resplendent gem." Associated with the color yellow, this chakra is involved in self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation; it also governs digestion and metabolism. The tattwa (principle) for this chakra is the element of Fire.

The sky, especially the deep sky beyond the clouds, is undifferentiated and teaches us equality and equanimity. An all encompassing acceptance of the universal nature of creation. The duality sets in only when we perceive external objects through our ego dominated mind.

Finally, water can be equated to the mind. When not agitated or rushing in turbulence it remains still and pure. All the dross and sediments settle down. In one my earlier post I had told the story of the disciple who went to fetch water for Lord Buddha and found it muddy. Buddha teaches him to wait for the water to settle down and then fetch the clean water for drinking, with the admonition that the mind is also like the water in the pond.

Nature is a great teacher because we are part of this very nature from which we have become so alienated.

Let this verse from Guru Granth Sahib enliven our spirit.

Love to you all.