Friday, September 20, 2013

Transcending the Limitation of Fragmentation

In Bhagavad Gita chapter 7:2 Lord Krishna declares “I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know.”
As in the commentary of this verse, Swami Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, says;
“Complete knowledge includes knowledge of the phenomenal world, the spirit behind it, and the source of both of them. This is transcendental knowledge. One should be intelligent enough to know the source of all knowledge, who is the cause of all causes. When the cause of all causes becomes known, then everything knowable becomes known, and nothing remains unknown.”
The Vedas (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.3) say, When the cause of all causes becomes known, then everything knowable becomes known, and nothing remains unknown.

Now having quoted from the scriptures and from eminent scholarly guru, I would like to provide a meaning of this verse from contemporary knowledge from a cosmic perspective. The three modes of nature that are defined in the scriptures, which tie us down to lower levels of consciousness , are Rajas (Passion), Sattva (goodness) and Tamas (ignorance). But these three modes are caused by something inherent in the human manifestation. Every human being is born into this world and inherits the soul or consciousness based on the past karma (Original sin). The body becomes a vehicle in a new incarnation with the sole purpose of consciousness purification (Purgation). As pointed out by Swami Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, complete knowledge comprises of the knowledge of the phenomenal world, the spirit behind it and the source of them both. Which means one must obtain the knowledge of the very source from which all entities are derived.

Quantum entanglement and the Super String Theories have pointed the way to the fundamental implicate order being a pure energy field and geometry. As of this month, Quantum mechanics just got easier to understand. A team of physicists have released a paper showing their discovery of a jewel-like geometric structure that takes equations, which can be thousands of terms long, and simplifies them to a single term. This discovery is poised to dramatically simplify the equations particle physicists use when calculating particle interactions. It also proposes the uncomfortable idea that space and time are not fundamental aspects of our reality, and it brings us much closer to unifying gravity and quantum theory under one comprehensive model. (for detail article see: )

This has a familiar ring to the Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra: Francis Harold Cook describes the metaphor of Indra's net from the perspective of the Huayan school as follows:
“Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering "like" stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.”
Regressive process of trying to unravel the fundamental reality leads one to grasp the infinite singularity which is the cause of all manifestation in the phenomenal world as well as the spirit behind it.

I would like to conclude by quoting a renowned Zen Buddhist whose insight is a great revelation.

"Even the absolute universality of the law of causality does not necessarily limit a person’s freedom, because the law of causality not only enables him to explain the past and predict the future, but also encourages him to use his intelligence to create new causes and attain new results." .........Hu Shih

Love to you all.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kingdom of God – A Cosmic Perspective

“Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." .......Luke 17: 20-21

Today this saying becomes very relevant as in a highly dogmatic and ritualistic belief system, we tend to externalize the Kingdom of God and lose all the spiritual significance. This inner experience is the experience of being the Son of Man through a deeper wisdom and every human being is endowed with this potential for inner transition. When we refer to Jesus as the Son of Man, this is exactly the meaning. This is also amply evident from the next saying of Jesus in continuity of the above verse.
"The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.” ........Luke 17: 22-24
As the human life, on a cosmic timescale, is very transitory, Jesus refers to this life to the duration of a lightning. He also admonishes as to the futility of a search for an external Son of Man.

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg in a recent commentary on the meaning of the Hebrew and Aramaic word ‘Bethlehem’ says; “The word Bethlehem is actually made up of two Hebrew words: Beit (House) and Lechem (Bread). The meaning emerges clearly. Bethlehem is nothing short of - that’s right - the House of Bread! It is interesting that in Aramaic (a parallel to Hebrew Semitic tongue which Jesus spoke) the word “Lechem” does not mean bread, but rather meat. This tells us that the idea behind the House of Bread is an idea of food, nourishment and life sustenance!” This is also evident from the wisdom writings of the Old Testament.
Samuel, the prophet who anointed David to rule over Israel, was from Bethlehem (1 Sam.1). The water that three soldiers brought to David’s cave which sustained his life was also from Bethlehem (2 Sam.23:13-17). The prophet Micah declared that the ultimate King of Israel (the saviour who sustains the world) would also be born in this town (Micah 5:2).

This has great spiritual significance. When Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Communion, the conversion of bread into flesh, it really signifies that only the individual who receives the bread converts it into life sustaining flesh and hence becomes the Son of Man, The soul becomes the new Bethlehem at this very moment and this spiritual status has to be maintained in one’s life so that we experience the Kingdom of God within our individual self.

In the Gospel of Thomas, saying 3, Jesus says; "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.” The Kingdom of God is the immutable implicate order from which all manifestations originate.

“In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the "explicate" or "unfolded" order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the implicate orders” ......David Bohm

Hence whatever exists and whatever is the unseen energy is the Kingdom of God which originated in a cosmic singularity of the Big Bang. This leads to the universal understanding that what existed before the beginning of space-time and what exists now is all the Kingdom of God.
Man with his consciousness is the containment of both the implicate order in his pure being and the creator of the explicate order through his perceptions.

Love to you all

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Creative Art and Awakening

"Creative artists ... are mankind's wakeners to recollection: summoners of our outward mind to conscious contact with ourselves, not as participants in this or that morsel of history, but as spirit, in the consciousness of being. Their task, therefore, is to communicate directly from one inward world to another, in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered: not a mere statement for the information or persuasion of a brain, but an effective communication across the void of space and time from one centre of consciousness to another." ..........Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology

In the spectrum of human consciousness there are levels which remain mostly in accessible to our experience. This is due to two primary reasons. The first is the lack of knowledge as we brush aside any prompting that arises in our experiences being trivial or of no consequence. The other reason is our rootedness to our waking consciousness as the fundamental plenum of reality and use it as the concrete and indispensible tool to our relation to the world around us.
In the fifth century BC, the Chinese philosopher, Confucius rightly defined four of his six essential learning as ritual, calligraphy, arithmetic and music. These four areas of learning are to do with our relationships to more fundamental realities than what can be perceived by the physical sense. They transcend into the emotional and spiritual realm which are evoked through the higher levels of consciousness.

It was during the rule of Pericles (495 – 429 B.C.) that the Parthenon, dedicated to Athena, was erected at the highest point above the Acropolis. The uniqueness of the temple was the concept of imperceptible curvature of the columns. This art or science is called ‘entasis’. This word comes from the Greek verb ‘enteinein’ which means ‘two opposing forces holding an object in their power’. Socrates and his father were involved in this project. Why I mention this in the context of this article is that human understanding of reality and deeper nature was very prevalent in ancient civilizations.

Joseph Campbell brings out lucidly the role of creative artistry as the process in which there is a bridge established between the waking consciousness and the inner layers of the psyche through a rude awakening to shake off the complacency of our awareness. A look at the gory masks of tribal dancers or the human form in Picasso’s paintings or the meaningless wiggles and patterns in a mandala intoxicates the human mind to transcend to unseen dimensions.
As we are looking at contemporary meanings, I would like to quote some of the thought leaders as to why mandala is used as contemporary creative art towards evoking higher level of consciousness.
According to the psychologist David Fontana, manadal’s symbolic nature can help one "to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises." The psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as "a representation of the unconscious self," and believed his paintings of mandalas enabled him to identify emotional disorders and work towards wholeness in personality.
Mandalas are also created using sand and grain. The process itself, which could takes days to create, provides a keen sense of purpose thus a heightened awakening.

Hence the next time we see some contemporary art form which defies the intellect to provide any meaning within the realm of our perception, pause and reflect what deeper meaning there could be hidden within.

Love to you all.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Trinitarian Emanation

“When all was as yet Chaos (Kon-ton) three spiritual Beings appeared on the stage of future creation: (1) Ame no ani naka nushi no Kami, "Divine Monarch of the Central Heaven"; (2) Taka mi onosubi no Kami, "Exalted, imperial Divine offspring of Heaven and the Earth"; and (3) Kamu mi musubi no Kami, "Offspring of the Gods," simply.
These were without form or substance (our arupa triad), as neither the celestial nor the terrestrial substance had yet differentiated, "nor had the essence of things been formed."” .................The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, 214

Many wisdom traditions and spiritual thoughts have tried to define the concept of a Trinitarian deity within the constraints of individual cultures and languages. This article tries to find similarities in this concept starting from a Theosophical background. The reason I have chosen the Theosophical reference is due its simpler format with specific attributes through an Anthropo-Cosmogenesis understanding.

The Chaos which pre-existed to the first emanation is positioned in the Zohar, the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah, as the Ain-Soph, the Absolute Endless No-thing, uses also the form of the One, the manifested “Heavenly man” (the first cause) as its chariot (Merkabah, in Hebrew; Vahan, in Sanskrit) or vehicle to descend into, and manifest through, in the phenomenal world. This is referred to by Madame Blavatsky as the "Divine Monarch of the Central Heaven" or in the Christian theology as God the Father.

Given the advancement of our current understanding of cosmology and in the context of probable existence of a multiverse, it is adequate to position the emanation of the primal cause within the current beginning of time and thus include a limited aspect of space-time and manifold Divine manifestation in this universe. From a primal singularity of pure Being which is the energy of consciousness, the Father begets the Son and all created material-energy matrix in this Space-time. This matrix is without essence which necessarily would define materiality or substantiality.

I do not wish to get into a debate at this juncture as to the how the Absolute can use anything, or exercise any attribute whatever, since, as the Absolute, it is a pure Being. There is voluminous literature on both Onto-Theological and Theo-ontological perception of God. My position is that from a rational perspective, an Onto-Theological approach can be adopted but from a limited consciousness and inner experiential perspective we need to adopt a faith based Theo-Ontological approach. However both methodologies provide a very limited and true perception of the Divine. It is only through dissolution of manifestation that a true perception of the Divine is possible.

Having arrived at this Causa Sui, as the first level of Divine manifestation, it is the First Cause (Plato’s Logos) the original and eternal idea, that manifests through Adam Kadmon, the Second Logos, so to speak. This second Logos is the truly begotten, meaning one with unmodified Divine consciousness or Christ consciousness, as incarnated in Jesus. This is the second level of which Blavatsky speaks of as "Exalted, imperial Divine offspring of Heaven and the Earth".

The next level of emanation is the Divine essence as manifest in all creation. There is a seamless implicit order that links all three levels and connects back to the Godhead or Ain-soph.
This seamless implicit order which acquires specific attributes in manifestation thus defining a specific created entity are grouped into categories (Aristotle's Categories) which are the "Offspring of the Gods".

The important thing to remember is that all these three levels are yet without substance or materiality. While there is total absence materiality in the first level, the next two levels operate within the manifest material domain. Materiality of these levels is realized only through an observing or thinking mind which operates at a fragmented level of consciousness.

Love to you all.