Thursday, December 25, 2014

Symbolism of the Magi

"Consciousness, in Her freedom, brings about the attainment of the universe."
.............Pratyabhijnahrdayam (translation by Swami Shantananda)

"Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage. ........... they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was." ...................Matthew 2:2,9

"Nothing perceived is independent of perception, and perception differs not from the perceiver; therefore the perceived universe is nothing but the perceiver." .........Isvarapratyabhijnavivrtivimarsini, 1/710.

It is very appropriate to write something regarding the deeper meaning of Christmas on this day (25th December). There are a number of debates on the exact date of Jesus birth in the academic circle citing Josephus and Tacitus, the two contemporary historians of the first century A.D. There is also the first century Babylonian almanacs surviving to date which points out that there was no comet or any significant astronomical event on 1 A.D  However there was a triple Conjunction Jupiter-Saturn in 7 B.C in the constellation of Pisces. This triple Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occur once in 800 years.

The deeper meaning of Christ birth is the radical differentiation of consciousness in a child born in that specific space time. Especially we humans and all manifestations are deeply associated with the cosmic realm. The foundational energy of the entire cosmos, both manifest and unmanifest, is the same. The first quote, which is the first verse of the Pratyabhijnahrdayam, a Saiva siddanta text,  explains the very nature of the universe as an unqualified freedom of Divine consciousness. Certain cosmic alignments in this four dimensional context lies beyond the perception that is possible from its own inherent limitations, These alignments originate at the three levels of cosmic, galactic and planetary hyper dimensions and are responsible for this Divine consciousness to align and incarnate within a specific body which in reality is a four dimensional framework.
This is the unique expression of the Cosmic consciousness as a higher order manifested consciousness in the spiritual person of Jesus. This consciousness is known as Christ or the anointed one or messiah.

Then we have a further affirmation in the Bible story of the visit of the three wise men from the east.
In the Old Testament, the east is the abode of Divine wisdom. Prophet Isaiah says:
"Who has roused a victor from the east, summoned him to his service? He delivers up nations to him, and tramples kings under foot; he makes them like dust ............" ...........Isaiah 41:2
Again in prophet Ezekiel says:
"............They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them." ....................Ezekiel 10:19
Hence the wise from the east are men of Divine wisdom or higher spiritual consciousness seeking the
incarnation of a higher order of spiritual consciousness. The star of Bethlehem or the rare event of celestial planetary conjunction leads them towards this source. But when their consciousness is brought under the influence of Herod, which is the abode of a very low order of consciousness the linkage to the guiding celestial tie snaps and they become ignorant of the destiny which is the higher order of Spiritual consciousness. The link gets re-established once they move out of the ambit of the corrupting consciousness. It is not a journey or path that has to be understood from a physical perspective but a seeker's journey in a consciousness realm that is narrated in the Bible.

The reason why three wise men are essential to seek the incarnation of a higher order of consciousness is to do with the Law of Three in spiritual attainment. The three wise men represent the self mastery of body, emotion and mind to reach an enlightened stage.

G. I. Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher of the twentieth century, describes "The Law of Three" as "the second fundamental cosmic law". This law states that every whole phenomenon is composed of three separate sources, which are Active, Passive and Reconciling or Neutral. This law applies to everything in the universe and humanity, as well as all the structures and processes. The Three Centres in a human, which Gurdjieff said were the Intellectual Centre (mind), the Emotional Centre (heart) and the Moving Centre (physical), are an expression of the law of three. Gurdjieff taught his students to think of the law of three forces as essential to transforming the energy of the human being. The process of transformation requires the three actions of affirmation, denial and reconciliation.

In the story of the Magi, the affirmation is through a higher level of knowledge, the denial through withdrawal from the corrupting influence of Herod and reconciliation through new knowledge derived from the interpretation of the chief priests and scribes of the people.

This law of three process is repeated in their return journey. The affirmation is through acquiring new knowledge bestowed by the angel, the denial is through avoidance of the established return path and the reconciliation is to the new path through which they return to their home land.

In the journey of the three wise men these three elements play out in seeking the higher dimension of incarnated Christ.

The third quote at the beginning of the article outlines the basic principle that it is our own individual spiritual journey and its perceptive derivatives that are elements of enlightenment.

May this seeking and our deeper perception beyond the mere literary understanding give us the power to elevate our consciousness.

Love to you all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Second Coming of Elijah

"And the disciples put this question to him, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?'
He replied, 'Elijah is indeed coming, and he will set everything right again; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of man will suffer similarly at their hands.'  Then the disciples understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist." ............Matthew 17: 10-13

Elias (Hebrew 'Eliahu , "Yahweh is God "; also called Elijah), was loftiest and most wonderful prophet of the Old Testament. The ministry of Elijah, in the 9th century B.C, was to defend the worship of Yahweh over that of the Canaanite god Baal (which he considered as idol worship); he raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up "by a whirlwind." In the Book of Malachi, Elijah's return is prophesied "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord," making him a harbinger of the Messiah and the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. Derivative references to Elijah appear in the Talmud, Mishnah, the New Testament and the Qur'an. [1]

It is also stated in the book of Kings in the Old Testament that His skin garment and leather girdle (2 Kings, 1, 8), his swift foot (1 Kings 18:46), his habit of dwelling in the clefts of the torrents (xvii,3) or in the caves of the mountains (xix, 9), of sleeping under a scanty shelter (xix, 5), betray him as the true son of the desert. This is the same life style of John the Baptist

John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and baptism. He predicted the day of judgment using imagery similar to that of Malachi. He also preached that the Messiah was coming. All of this was done in a style that immediately recalled the image of Elijah to his audience. He wore a coat of camel's hair secured with a leather girdle (Matthew 3:4, Mark 1:6). He also frequently preached in wilderness areas near the Jordan river.
In the Gospel of John, when John the Baptist was asked by a delegation of priests (present tense) "Art thou Elias", he replied "I am not" (John 1:21). Matthew 11:14 and Matthew 17:10–13 however, make it clear that John was the spiritual successor to Elijah. In the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in Luke, Gabriel appears to Zechariah, John's father, and told him that John "will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God," and that he will go forth "in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:16–17). [2]

Just as Elijah turned the people of Israel towards Yahweh so also John the Baptist preached repentance and John declares in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'" Both Elijah and John taught repentance.

We must refer to the words in the book of Sirach where he declares "Blessed, those who will see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too shall certainly have life." .............Sirach 48: 11
This specific passage refers to the people who are physical witness to the presence of Elijah as well as those who have departed this world for all will witness the new Elijah in the person of John the Baptist as confirmed by Christ himself.

The intimate relation, at the consciousness level, between Jesus and John the Baptist in the pre natal stage as well as on the banks of Jordan river and subsequently the revelation to his closest apostles the intimacy of Christ and Elijah at a transcendental level during the transfiguration at Mount Tabor, all clearly reveals the reincarnation of the soul in different bodies befitting a Divine plan in the soteriological (redemptive) process. Both Elijah and John the Baptist can be seen as prophets preparing the way for a great teacher to arrive. It would rather be too radical and incredible if an existing system is shaken to the core by a new interpretation by a seemingly unqualified Master. In order to ease the acceptance of the Master, a precursor is sent to prepare the mind of the recipient. The close tracking of the individual personalities of Elijah and John the Baptist and their role in society points to the same soul reincarnating in different periods of time to play the same role. 

The redemptive process is the elevation of individual consciousness to the Divine level and all teachers and precursors play the catalytic role in this cosmic process.

Love to you all

[2] Ibid

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sin in Judaic-Christian Tradition

"The Bible says this about warriors from Benjamin, “Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” .............. Judges 20:16
This phrase in Hebrew לֹא יַחֲטִא (pronounced: lo yachti) means “missing the target”.
Related to "חֵטְא"  (pronounced: chet) is another longer form of this word "חַטָּאת" (pronounced: chatat) this was the name of “sin offering” in Jerusalem Temple (Levictus 4:3).
It is breathtaking to see how Hebrew language can work. This same word that meant “sin/making an error/missing the mark”, connected to the sin offering in the Temple itself, becomes a word that can signify the concept of purification!" .............................. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

The word for sin in Greek used in the Bible is "hamarita"
"The term "hamartia" derives from the Greek μαρτία, from μαρτάνειν hamartánein, which means “to miss the mark” or “to err”. It is most often associated with Greek tragedy, although it is also used in Christian theology. Hamartia as it pertains to dramatic literature was first used by Aristotle in his Poetics." ..............Wikipedia

What was the purpose of choosing these words with the meaning "to miss the mark" by the spiritually enlightened scripture writers.
Missing the intended mark or target of human life is to realize our true nature. Here again we have subtle as well as targeted information provided both in the canonical Gospels as well as in the apocryphal writing as to what is the target in our life.
In the Gospels we have the parable of the prodigal son told by Jesus as to the son going away from the father and squandering away all that he inherited. He repents and come back to the father who is overjoyed. The inner meaning of this story is that we are born in the richness of the father and we are the heir to his wealth which the divinity invested in us. But if we waste away our spiritual nature and wallow in the filth of material pleasures, we miss the primary purpose of our life. This is the sin we commit. I f we realize this we can at any point go back to our original home, which is the nature of being divine.

In the Acts of Thomas, there is an episode called the "Hymn of the Pearl"
The hymn, which has been preserved and especially treasured in Manichaeism, is commonly seen as a Gnostic view of the human condition, that we are spirits lost in a world of matter and forgetful of our true origin.
In this poem the son who comes from the heavenly palace of the father to acquire the pearl of Gnosis or spiritual wisdom in Egypt from the serpent guardian forgets the purpose of his visit. This is the missing of the target. He enjoys the rich food and drinks and goes into deep slumber. He takes off the princely robe and wears a tunic of the common Egyptian. This signifies the disrobing of our spiritual nature and putting on our worldly and sensory nature. This is the slumber of the human condition trapped in worldly affairs. Ultimately he is reminded of the true purpose by a messenger sent from the father signifying the message of Christ. The Song of the Pearl is a Gnostic tale of salvation, of sleeping in error and awakening to light, of quest not only for the pearl but for the benefit of possessing the pearl and a return to the light.

This correction of approach is mandatory for the redemption that we must seek or the purification that is needed to return to the original light with which we are born.

In his book "Original Blessing" Matthew Fox writes:

"Thomas Aquinas writes that every person is "capex universi" that ia capable of the universe. He is inviting every human person to a cosmic awakening, a cosmic relationship............"

So if every person is capable of a cosmic perception, we tend to operate in a limited way throughout our earthly life and this results in a vacuum.

In reality this limited existence is the sin of missing our true target and this needs constant correction.

French philosopher Gabriel Marcel says:

"The important thing - and I think it is hardly possible to insist on it too much - is that in this cosmic  outlook the  true aim of knowledge and life is to be integrated in the universal order, and not at all to transform the world by bringing it into subjugation to the human will, to man's needs and desire"

Let this renewed understanding of sin empower us towards a cosmic existence.

Love to you all.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Prerequisite for Transference

"A student approaches a teacher and declares, “I desire to learn from you.” The teacher responds, “Very well, follow me.” The teacher leads the student to the ocean and motions for him to follow into the water. When they are about chest deep in the water, the teacher grabs the student and forces his head underwater.
At first, the student is calm, thinking, “This is just part of some test. He will let me up in moment and I will impress him.” After a minute passes, the student begins to worry and struggle. Soon, he is desperately trying to surface and becomes frantic. The teacher holds the student under the water to the point where the struggling ceases and the student almost passes out.
Upon releasing him, the student angrily gasping for air shouts, “Are you crazy? You almost drowned me!” The teacher looks calmly into his eyes and says, “When you desire to learn from me as much as you desired to get a breath, then return, and I will teach you.”
When the desire for liberation is as intense as the desire of the drowning person gasping for breath, then the student is ripe to go to a teacher for initiation into the mysteries of the Self!" ....................Vivekachudamani

This is beautiful episode from the Vivekachudamani composed by His Holiness Adi Shankara.
Why did the Guru subject the disciple to the point of physical death? It is because as much as breath is vital to one's physical survival, jñāna or knowledge is vital for spiritual survival. This spiritual knowledge does not come by intellectual pursuit alone but by having an inherent faith in the Guru who teaches you and whom you have selected volitionally. This selection if it is based only on hearsay references on the capacity or the power of the Guru then there is something inherently lacking in the Guru-Shishya relationship. There must be an absolute surrender to the dissemination power of the Guru. This communication goes beyond the sensory reception and inputs received by the disciple but transcends into the direct perceptual mode which goes beyond the mind and is called transference.

There is another beautiful example in the Bible. In the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 14 there is an incident of Jesus walking on water and Peter, the primary disciple, is asked to go to him. But after walking a short distance he started to sink and the Bible says:
"...........But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"..........Matthew Ch 14: 30-31

 The similarity of the sense of drowning in both the Vedic and Christian thought and the teaching of implicit faith that needs to be attached to the Guru, which should go beyond logical reasoning, is a strong indication of the absolute prerequisite for learning spiritual wisdom from a Master.

Implicit faith in the Master is essential when the teaching reaches perceptual levels beyond the mind. As it is unnatural to walk on water so is the understanding of spiritual wisdom as it is beyond the rational mind and unless there is utter surrender to the power of the Master it is impossible to transfer that capacity within oneself.

One of the biggest key in the path of highest form of self-awareness is the knowledge that our perception of the Guru has nothing to do with him but everything to do with us. We literally structure our own perception of the Guru based on our own relationship with ourselves and our own personality traits. The ego, fearing attention being brought to it, tends to always look outside of itself for someone or something to latch on to so that its power is not diminished. Every spiritual exercise is based on the elimination of Ego and hence we need to recognize the ploy the Ego adopts in diverting our attention.

When Adi Shankara says: "....... When the desire for liberation is as intense as the desire of the drowning person gasping for breath, then the student is ripe to go to a teacher for initiation into the mysteries of the Self!", what he means is that it is the primary liberation from the Ego that is mandatory and this desire should be as vital as one's life breath.

The most important thing to remember is that transference and counter-transference are opportunities for personal growth both for the disciple and Guru. Be curious about what is going on in the relationship. If and when you suspect some kind of transference, give voice to your curiosity and seek advice. If you remain in a non-anxious presence in the face of transference or counter-transference, you will be able to harness this opportunity for growth and development.

This is why when the Guru starts a session the mantra that is recited is:

"Om, May God Protect us Both (the Teacher and the Student),
May God Nourish us Both,
May we Work Together with Energy and Vigour,
May our Study be Enlightening and not give rise to Hostility,
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace."

This is a mutual egoless transference which is the only channel through which higher wisdom can be communicated.

Love to you all