Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Intellect as Prime Mover

"A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well." ............Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 6 verse 5

"A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything–whether it be pebbles, stones or gold–as the same." .....Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 6 verse 8

"Above the senses is the mind, Above the mind is the intellect, above that Is the ego, and above the ego Is the unmanifested Cause. And beyond is Brahman, omnipresent, Attributeless"
.........Katha Upanishad, Part II, Chapter 3, Verses 7-8

These are three fine sayings that stress the need for the development of the intellect through the instrument of human mind. Let us delve a little more deeper into what is the meaning and what methodologies are implied in the above statements.

Man acquires knowledge through his sense perceptions. The five senses are the greatest gift that is endowed on the physical body. The route to the inner realm of the human being is through the sense organs, the mind and then the spirit or soul or inner consciousness. The perceptions of our sense organs are translated into concepts and then imagery which are then accessed by the mind and stored in the consciousness field. the combined matrix of consciousness and the human brain produces the epiphenomenon of mind. From the mind thoughts emanate as a derivative of the environment, our objective perception, the stored concepts and the relationships we develop from prenatal to the very instance of origination of our thoughts. Based on these thoughts our emotional outputs  kick in so as to enable appropriate response in terms of speech, physical movement or action.

The more one moves away from conditioned responses from the free ranging mind which has the default response inculcated into our brain of evolutionary survival at all cost, one can explore the alternate domain which lies deeper in the spirit. Acquiring knowledge through the senses and a realization that these objective manifestations are provided to us not only for physical and emotional survival but to gain knowledge of the deeper source of all dualities as mere illusion of our own limited perception. This is the reason why Bhagavad Gita says ".............. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything–whether it be pebbles, stones or gold–as the same."

Then we have the understanding of Katha Upanishad. It clearly states the hierarchy of the intellect. All collated sensory data and information is the knowledge repository which are hierarchies in the processing that constantly takes place in the human brain and result as the state of ego. The highest level of the mental hierarchy is the intellect or wisdom. But beyond this lies the unmanifested cause. This understanding is essential. If our inquiry stops at the ego level then we use our intellect purely for the service of the ego which is subject to dissolution at the end of our life. But is we move beyond the level of the ego and understand the nature of the primal cause as the source of all manifestation then we initiate a process of transcendence. This process cannot be initiated until the intellect is able to overpower the ego.

This is the reason Meister Eckhart, the great German Catholic Mystic said in one of his sermons:
"Above thought is the intellect, which still seeks:   it goes about looking, spies out here and there, picks up and drops. But above the intellect that seeks is another intellect which does not seek but stays in its pure, simple being, which is embraced in that light."

It is through this higher intellect that we should seek the unitive nature of all manifestations and merge in the source which "stays in its pure, simple being, which is embraced in that light."

Love to you all

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star of Bethlehem

"The spiritual friend’s role is to take you out for a walk to look at the star of Bethlehem. It is a real experience at that point, no myth. There is the star of Bethlehem out there shining, and it is not a matter of conmanship at all. It’s a real experience, very real. It can be called the meeting of two minds. The main point here is making enlightenment real, rather than purely a myth."
..............................The Path is the Goal by Chögyam Trungpa

The Buddha taught meditation as the key spiritual practice. Nothing else mattered more. Chögyam Trungpa, in this book, the Path is the Goal, reveals how the deliberate practice of mindfulness develops into awareness, insight, and openness. He also guides us away from the ego's trap: the urge to make meditation serve our ambition.

Seeing a star is an act of faith. Even though we may see a speck of light flickering in the sky, this visual perception gives rise to a concept called Star, though that speck of light is reaching us millions and billions of years after it has left a heavenly body, the actual star itself is not there at that specific location when we perceive this speck of light. It is the path of a specific light source when it culminates in our eyes that we assign it a name. It is only because we live for a very small period of time in comparison to the vast distance the light travels that we never catch up with the actual location of the source of light. If the Sun suddenly became dark, after it has burned its nuclear fuel, we will not know it for nine minutes after it has happened as light takes nine minutes to reach us from the Sun.

Why am I explaining to you this fairly well known fact to you? It is to illustrate the fallacy of observation with our senses. This is a universal truth that all our observations are subject to error both at the macro level as well as at the micro level, both being due to the extremely high speed of light compared to the speed of response of our senses.

The Star of Bethlehem, as commonly understood was not a comet as with all information available through modern science and computer simulation, this is now proven was not true. It is important to understand the spiritual significance of this event so as to bring it more nearer to our individual selves.
This is why Chögyam Trungpa says "The spiritual friend’s role is to take you out for a walk to look at the star of Bethlehem.................". The spiritually enlightened soul points out to the Star of Bethlehem not as a physical object but as a light that shines illumining the truth within the soul of a seeker.

This renewed mindfulness can be achieved through a development of awareness, insight and openness.
Awareness becomes the prerequisite as it is through awareness that we falsify some of the grounded belief system which cloud our consciousness. In order to reposition our perceptions, we require deep insight beyond common knowledge and then there has to be openness to accept the new insight and eradicate old belief systems. Let us take how Copernicus changed the  geocentric world view, which was universally ingrained since the days of Johannes Kepler, into a Heliocentric one through expanded awareness, a deeper insight and an openness to challenge the autocratic authority of the Church and intelligentsia.

The Star of Bethlehem has many interpretations both astronomical and mythical. I believe that given the background of astronomical tradition in the Egyptian-Greco-Roman world and the mythological assignment of the birth Solar deities in the ages before Christ, the star of Bethlehem could be represented by the star Sirius and the alignment of the three stars in the Orion belt with Sirius and the rising Sun three days after the winter Solstice could be a seen as a harbinger of a new consciousness called Christ. This is the new light breaking forth from the winter darkness of the individual soul to illumine a new reality.

"In The Catholic Encyclopedia article entitled “Christmas” we learn that “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts.... Concerning the date of Christ’s birth, the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The census (see Luke 2) would have been impossible in winter; a whole population could not then be put in motion..... The well-known solar feast of "Natalis Invicti", celebrated on 25 December has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date (for Jesus’ birth). For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire and syncretism with Mithraism has collected the evidence for the feast which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274 A.D.”

So do not attach any importance to the historical Jesus birth but as the Sun travels from darkness to light after the winter solstice, let our soul seek the birth of the light of Christ consciousness on this date in our individual consciousness.

Love to you all

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dual Nature of the Enlightened Soul

“Even the enlightened person remains what he is, and is never more than his own limited ego before the One who dwells within him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the earth and vast as the sky” ................Carl Jung, Book of Job, Para. 758.

I would like to share my view on Jung's statement as some have expressed disagreement on one who has achieved enlightenment could still operate within his limiting ego.
The disagreement centres around the argument that "an enlightened person destroys his/her ego and becomes "one" with God. It is then supposed that this person may "use" the ego in some way in order to live in this world, but considering the view of Meister Eckhart:

"As the soul becomes more pure and bare and poor, and possesses less of created things, and is emptied of all things that are not God, it receives God more purely, and is more completely in Him; and it truly becomes one with God, and it looks into God and God into it, face to face as it were; two images transformed into one." ..............*Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart, A Modern Translation, Ed. Raymond B. Blackney.

So the argument goes that the mystic is in a state that is far beyond worldly 'awareness'.

My counter argument to the above is twofold; one, basically is on the concept of 'ego' and the second is on the concept of 'awareness'.

Let me first begin with ego.
When Jung speaks of Ego, we should not assign it a negative connotation based on a common understanding of all the negative attributes of a personal ego. The ego is the sum total of all attributes that results in self awareness but due to the conditioning of the individual consciousness, the negative elements predominate in most of humanity.
In the process of enlightenment one reaches the potential of transcendence beyond the limiting ego.
It is like the "Event Horizon" of Black Hole.
In enlightenment we acquire the potential to travel through into the Divine plenum but as long as we live on this earth, there is a limiting ego to which we return. This limiting ego is the basic the basic derivative of the mind / body matrix through which earthly life manifests.
As the principle argument quoted Meister Eckhart, I would like to quote him in the context of counter argument:

" … The union of the soul with God is far more inward than that of the soul and body…. Now, I might ask, how stands it with the soul that is lost in God? Does the soul find herself or not? To this I will answer as it appears to me, that the soul finds in the point where every rational being understands itself with itself. Although it sinks in the eternity of divine essence, yet it can never reach the ground. Therefore God has left a little point wherein the soul turns back upon itself to be a creature …." ....................... Meister  Eckhart as quoted in Inge's Mysticism in Religion (p. 39)

The second counter argument is the appropriate understanding of "Awareness"
Every individual is invested with a consciousness which is the instrument of self awareness and he or she is also invested with an intuitive awareness which can be invoked from a state of heightened consciousness which we call enlightenment. Here again I would like to quote Meister Eckhart:

"I have occasionally spoken of a light in the soul which is uncreated and uncreatable... This light is not satisfied with the simple, still and divine being which neither gives nor takes, but rather it desires to know from where this being comes. It wants to penetrate to the simple ground, to the still desert, into which distinction never peeped, neither Father, Son nor Holy Spirit. There, in that most inward place, where everyone is a stranger, the light is satisfied, and there it is more inward than it is in itself, for this ground is a simple stillness which is immovable in itself. But all things are moved by this immovability and all the forms of life are conceived by it which, possessing the light of reason, live of themselves." ................Sermon DW 48

Though the language of Meister Eckhart is difficult, the essence of what he is saying is; our awareness has the potential to seek the true source of our being which Eckhart calls "......the still desert, into which distinction never peeped, neither Father, Son nor Holy Spirit (even the concept of an objective nature of God disappears)*. " This is the undifferentiated plenum of Divine consciousness or Paramatma and defined by Eckhart as "a light in the soul which is uncreated and uncreatable"

These two types of awareness are, the one in which we are rooted to the created world and the second is the awareness which is the result of a potential derived through enlightenment wherein transcendence is at hand. Due to this process, a truly enlightened person is able to freely traverse the domain of the world as well as the domain of the spirit.

Love to you all

* Italics by the author

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Displaced by the Flood

I have been displaced from my home and work place due to the flooding in Chennai.
Hence I have no access to my writing resources. I am sending this message from my son’s laptop.
I should be back to my routine shortly.
Please keep sending your good intentions for all the people who are devastated by the floods.
Thank you for your patience. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Accessing the Gate of Heaven

"A deluded person is one who is ruled by ego thoughts, desires, opposing emotions - and by the delusions they produce, instead of being guided by reality. Delusion binds you to a state of constant mental torment. But devotion to reality leads to liberation." .......... Bhagavad Gita, 16.5.

"Every new moment in life is a new opportunity for you to fight against your enemies on earth: opposing desires, thoughts and emotions. It’s the door to heaven. Grab every one of these opportunities and fight. Fight for your true home – the home of reality." ...... Bhagavad Gita, 2.32.

Friday, 13 November 2015 saw one of the bloodiest terrorist activities around the world. But I posted the following on my Facebook page, "I did not want to comment on the Paris and other attacks around the world because any reaction to this culture of hatred is only a negative energy which confirms the existence of a strongly entrenched culture installed by values other than spiritual.
Today we live in a culture where there are too many meetings, seminars, conventions and talk on issues facing the world but we fall short of deliverable from these events and exercises. There is too much discordant vibrations in these exercises. The larger the number of people participating the discord, at the intentional level, is much higher.
The need of the hour according to me is deep silence in which from the depth of our heart we send out peace. Let each one of us spend a few minutes every day sending out this positive energy vibration."

The notion of reacting to any situation, good or evil, is a form of attachment and is a derivative of the ego mind. This is what is told by Lord Krishna in the first verse taken from chapter 16 verse 5 of Bhagavad Gita. These attachments produce delusions which in turn give rise to anxiety. This is a private hell where we spend all our energies. I would like to illustrate this through following real life example.

A few years ago the Dalai Lama was concerned that many young monks in his monastery were affected by type II Diabetes and he invited Dr. Mario Martinez, a Biocognitive expert to find out the reason. After interviewing the monks and medical tests, he discovered that their blood cortisol level was very high and this is directly related to stress level. He found out that there is a high level of subconscious suppression of anger against the Chinese and their activities in Tibet.

This is the delusion of being attached to what we objectively perceive as dictated by the ego mind.
When Arjuna refuses to fight his enemies, it is his ego mind that assigns attributes to his personal relationship with the very perpetrators of evil design. The fight is not for the worldly kingdom but for upholding dharma or righteousness.

This is amplified in the next quote from Bhagavad Gita, chapter 2, verse 32.   Every moment of human life is a fight against our limited perception conditioned and engineered by the ego mind and hence it is a constant struggle to move away from the false reality namely; opposing desires, thoughts and emotions. Our true home of reality is not this world as it is only a transit point in our eternal journey.

In another scripture in the Christian tradition known as "Acts of Thomas", there is a beautiful story told in a song called the "The Hymn of the Pearl" in which a prince was sent by his father to fetch a pearl guarded by a serpent at the very depth of the sea. But the prince loses his aim of the journey by the intoxicating influence of the opulence of the Egyptians who knowing why he has come and try to distract him.

The prince's lamentation on realization that he has been distracted is as follows:

"I forgot that I was a King’s son,
And became a slave to their king.

I forgot all concerning the Pearl
For which my Parents had sent me;

And from the weight of their victuals (opulence)
I sank down into a deep sleep."

This is exactly the malady of the human consciousness which has been seduced into a slumber due to the temptations of the world.
Upon realization the prince wakes up wears his princely robe and fetches the pearl and returns to his father's kingdom.
This realization is the opening of the gate to heaven.

The Hymn of Pearl ends in these verses:

"I clothed me therewith, and ascended
To the Gate of Greeting and Homage.

I bowed my head and did homage
To the Glory of Him who had sent it,

Whose commands I [now] had accomplished,
And who had, too, done what He’d promised.

[And there] at the Gate of His House-sons
I mingled myself with His Princes;

For He had received me with gladness,
And I was with Him in His Kingdom"

Love to you all

Friday, November 13, 2015

Inseparable nature Of God and the Devil

“When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why god? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, There's just something about you that pisses me off.” ...................Stephen King, "Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay"

Though this quote is in lighter vein, there is yet a great truth buried in it when we go deeper and try to understand the esoteric meaning it conveys.
The very fact that there was a dialogue and a wager, between God and the devil, in the Biblical book of Job means it is a wisdom text written to convey deep spiritual truth. This is the reason for Carl Jung to write his famous book "An Answer to Job"

Let me first briefly tell the story of "The Storm of the Century". In this story an island on the coast of Maine, USA. which is notorious for violent storms, is hit by a very powerful hurricane and the island is totally cut off from the mainland. No one is able to leave the island. While trying to deal with the ravages of the  storm, tragedy strikes when one of the town's residents is brutally murdered by André Linoge, a menacing stranger who appears to know the town members' darkest secrets, and who gives no hint of his motives other than the cryptic statement "Give me what I want, and I'll go away. There are also many suicides and nightmares among the island's population. And it comes to pass that what Linoge wants is one of young daughters of the island to take away with him as his protégé.

This story exactly maps the story of Job and the devil's visitation to torment him until he gives what the devil wants, which is rebellion against God. This can be mapped to the child like consciousness with which he places absolute trust in God. The devils task is to deprive him of this precious gift of pure consciousness.

There is another very important message in the story of Job which we tend to ignore. It is unfortunate that in most of our religious instructions God and the devil are portrayed as two objective realities. The four friends visiting Job during his tribulations are also treated as external realities. A myth has to descend to a lower level of perception so that the human mind can comprehend a higher truth. It is like a ladder that aids us reaching a higher level but as we can see different levels of perception as we climb the ladder we tend to inhibit our ascent at the dogmatic or purely objective level rather than ascend to the highest point which any mythical ladder can take us.

Let me now explain the story of Job from a purely subjective level. Our individual psyche has access to both the deeper universal unconsciousness (which is the all pervading undifferentiated consciousness beyond the vagaries of dependent arising) and the objective waking consciousness. When our psyche is deeply embedded in comprehension of reality through our universal unconsciousness, we are in the Divine domain of God but when our psyche is purely driven by objective realities derived from the mind, then we operate in the domain of darkness or the devil.
The concept of God and the devil are purely two states of our own inner spirit. The temptations and tribulation which Job suffers are purely self inflicted through his lower self dominating over his previous state of purity. The four friends who visit him are the multiple dictates of his objective perceptions and the internal dialogue that ensues is represented in a mythological context.

Hence when Stephen King writes "Why god? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, There's just something about you that pisses me off.” Though Job raises the question to God (his higher self), the booming voice he hears in reply is the voice of the devil (his lower self).

Let me conclude this article with the following allegory from Vedic philosophy:

The two alternate states of individual self can is represented by two symbols, the crocodile and the turtle. The turtle can withdraw its four legs and the head into the shell. It has the possibility to go out into objectivity and also to withdraw again into subjectivity. The crocodile can’t do this; it has a strong grip and keeps a firm hold on what it has seized. Thus the man who is dominated through the senses in objectivity is compared to a crocodile. The Sanskrit word for crocodile is 'Makara', literally meaning the five fingers and representing the five senses. It says that man as a crocodile, Makara, has to transform into a turtle, called 'Kurma', so that he can become a 'Kumara', a Son of God. Thus nothing can hold the Son of God in objectivity, but he or she is firmly grounded in spirit.

Love to you all

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Shrewdness in Seeking Spiritual Wisdom

Yeshua said, "The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.
As for you, be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves." ..........Saying 39, Gospel of Thomas

Let me begin this article with, the story, In a 1915 book of fables by Horace Scudder titled The Arab and His Camel,
The gist of the story is about the camel and its master and how one cold and stormy night camping in the desert, the camel asks for a small space to put his head within the tent and the master permits but eventually the camel takes the whole tent and the master is pushed out into the cold night.
When Moses formulated the Pentateuch his aim was for the people of Israel to have a guiding source of spiritual knowledge. This was followed by the Books of wisdom and the books of the prophets comprising of the whole compendium of spiritual knowledge. As always everyone is not given the mental and intellectual capacity to understand esoteric texts and hence scholars and scribes from the Levite tribe of Israel took upon themselves the task of being the interpreters. Thus was born the elite class of Pharisees, Sadducees, Rabbi and scholars.

But over a period of time the Pharisees and Sadducees, as custodian of this knowledge, kept to themselves the knowledge and subjected the common man to ritualistic routines and draconic laws promulgated to their convenience. The complexity is overwhelming and the "The Mishneh Torah (also known as the Yad HaHazaka for its 14 volumes; "yad" has a numeric value of 14), by Maimonides (Rambam; 1135–1204). This work encompasses the full range of Talmudic law; it is organized and reformulated in a logical system — in 14 books, 83 sections and 1000 chapters — with each halakha stated clearly. The Mishneh Torah is very influential to this day," ..........Wikipedia

Yeshua openly and in every given occasion refuted the validity of these laws. His view on ritual washing of the body while there is no concern about the inner purity and about observing the Sabbath being more important than compassion are clear examples in the canonical texts of the New Testament Gospels.

The keys to the source of spiritual wisdom have been conveniently hidden by the priestly class keeping the common man in a sort of religious slavery through meaningless dos and donts.
This is the common fallacy that is applicable to all organized religions even today. While laws are essential, ever since homo sapiens settled down in larger tribes and societies during the agricultural age, to promulgate ethical, just and moral behaviour in society, extending this domain to matters spiritual defeats the very purpose of spiritual wisdom which in its empowering role has to be tailored to individual needs at a subjective level. All other code of conduct should be formulated to the need of individual cultures and social needs.

The words of Yeshua, uttered 2000 years ago, still holds good in our world today. His final advice to the disciples is very valid.

Serpents and Doves are strong metaphors in spiritual texts. Right from the very beginning of mythological narrations, the serpent is given the role of being the bearer of knowledge. The serpent on plain ground is highly visible but a serpent camouflaged in a tree is the very symbol of stealth and cunning. It is the vertical or cosmic dimension that can bring us spiritual wisdom and empowering knowledge. This metaphor can also be seen in the brass serpent hung on the tree through which life was restored to  the Israelite in the desert.
The Dove, in its purity, is the representation of the invisible force through which peace and Holy Spirit is manifested in scriptures.
These two powerful symbols are evoked by Yeshua to advice his followers to gain the key to Spiritual wisdom through means that are not man made.

I had earlier done a commentary on Carl Jung's observation on the process of salvation which should give additional input on the process of seeking spiritual wisdom.

Love to you all

Friday, October 30, 2015

Searching for the Messiah

"Once a rabbi met the prophet Elijah. The rabbi asked Elijah, “When will the messiah come?”
Elijah said, “Go and ask him yourself when he’s coming.” The rabbi said, “Where is he?”
Elijah said, “He’s sitting at the city gate, covered in bandages’
So the rabbi went and asked the messiah, “When will you come?” The messiah said, “Today.”
The rabbi came back and relayed this to Elijah: “The messiah is coming today!”
Elijah responded with temperance, saying “the messiah meant today, if you listen to God’s voice.
The world to come is here. The unknown is as close as your breath. What this means is that, as Wendell Berry writes, “What we need is here”; yet we must be careful to not grasp in the presence of that knowing, lest we fall to irretrievably into the world of names." .............Joshua Boettiger, "NAMING THE UNNAMEABLE: Advice on living in two worlds, PARABOLA, Fall 2012, “The Unknown.”

When I read the above passage I was moved by the immensity of its meaning and power. The word "messiah" comes from the Greek word Kristos and according to one theory, it is ultimately derived from the Egyptian word "kheru", meaning "Word" or "Voice" (cognates: logos, chrism; charisma).
For me the holistic meaning of Messiah from both etymological background and from a deeper spiritual evocation is the presence of the never changing consciousness from the very beginning of all manifestations. It is the primal energy or as told in scriptures, the Word or Logos or Vac in Vedic spirituality.

The Egyptians were probably the first to deeply understand the cosmic nature of the human manifestation and all creation. Their iconic representations and their scriptures are ample proof of the eternal nature of the primal causative energy or consciousness that pervades all creation.
Egyptian mythology is steeped in representation of the events in human life, death and resurrection through mapping of astronomical events.
This convinces me that the word Kristos or Messiah had its root in the Egyptian word Kheru.

Having established this background, I want to take us to the story of the Rabbi and Prophet Elijah.
What is the link as to why for knowing the coming of the Messiah, Elijah is consulted by the learned Rabbi. What foreknowledge did he have. This takes us to the episode in the life of Prophet Elijah. When there was a Divinely ordained famine in the land of Israel, Elijah hears the word of God to go to the Land of Sidon where he will be given food. He meets a very poor woman who has just enough ingredients for a last meal for her and her son. But Elijah tells her that God will provide and to bake him  the first bread. The woman implicitly obeys and we are told that there was a perennial supply of bread.
The deeper meaning of this is normally interpreted as having faith but we need to go beyond just blind faith. It is the deep understanding of the Divine presence as a continuous entity pervading all space and time. The limitless and timeless nature of the Divine Logos is the Messiah. If we limit it to one historical or human person then we fail to grasp the deep import of this concept of Messiah. This story tells us that not only Elijah but the poor woman of Sidon was a Messiah.

We are easily fooled by name and form. The external appearance or a status assigned by society cannot qualify a person to be a Messiah. Vividly, the above story tells us that the true knowledge of when the Messiah is to come is available with a beggar covered with sore at the city gate.
When Christ is asked by the disciples, He said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised."] ................Saying 5 "Gospel of Thomas"
This is what is called in Buddhism as the Awakened state. To be awake does not just means to keep your eyes open but to be deeply aware of the true nature of all things.

This is beautifully summed up at the end of the opening quotation.
"What this means is that, as Wendell Berry writes, “What we need is here”; yet we must be careful to not grasp in the presence of that knowing (knowledge through objective perceptions)* , lest we fall to irretrievably into the world of names." [* my addendum in Italics]

This is the cosmic perspective of the messianic message that is to cast away our limited sensory or objective understanding and to realize that the constant presence of Divine consciousness as the Messiah within and without and thus transcend space and time to relate to the WORD that resonates from the beginning of creation. 

Love to you all.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Deity as a Function

"In the poetic mythological systems, the power that one is addressing out there is a magnifying image of the power that's operating in oneself. One's deity is a function of one's own ability to experience and conceive of the divine. It is the reflex of one's own position in the spiritual hierarchy.
As the Chāndogya Upanishad puts it; "Tat tvam asi" (Thou art that").
The mystery of your being is that mystery which you cannot conceive of, which lies beyond the touch of the tongue, and which is metaphorically referred to by the images of your pantheon.
.......................... "Joseph Campbell, "Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine," p. 101

It is most common that the Deity or God is seen as an object of great external universal power and hence there arises in humans a need to worship, venerate and appease this object from a need for self preservation and well being with all its associated worldly assets with a bit of spiritual reward or punishment thrown in as an additional motive.
It is in Advaida philosophy that the concept of non duality is clearly brought out and in clear terms Swami Vivekananda writes:
“There is no God separate from you, no God higher than you, the real 'you'. All the gods are little beings to you, all the ideas of God and Father in heaven are but your own reflection. God Himself is your image. 'God created man after His own image.' That is wrong. Man creates God after his own image. That is right. Throughout the universe we are creating gods after our own image. We create the god and fall down at his feet and worship him; and when this dream comes, we love it!”
.....................Swami Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda: v. 3

While the words of Swami Vivekananda is powerful, how does a common devotee relate to this esoteric concept. This is where we have powerful iconic representations with associated mythologies that can form a continuous bridge between the four domains of one's consciousness, namely;
  •          The lower curve represents the Gross, Conscious, Waking state level, called Vaishvanara.
  •          The centre curve represents the Subtle, Unconscious, and Dreaming level, called Taijasa.
  • ·        The upper curve represents the Causal, Subconscious, and Deep Sleep level, called Prajna.
  •          The fourth state, the absolute consciousness, which encompasses, permeates, the other three, and is called Turiya

Joseph Campbell, who researched and wrote extensively on world mythologies including Vedic, Sumerian and other Occidental and Oriental mythologies, defines deity as a function. This function is creation of an image within a mythological narrative and as Swami Vivekananda says: "............. Man creates God after his own image. That is right. Throughout the universe we are creating gods after our own image. We create the god and fall down at his feet and worship him; and when this dream comes, we love it!”

This Anthropomorphic, objective image creation has so dominated the monotheistic religions and traditions of humanity that we have increasingly moved away from the ancient and pagan traditions where iconic images of deities, though created with anthropomorphic forms had superhuman attributes (such as possessing many arms signifying cosmic level comprehension and functioning, disproportionate breasts and hips of Goddesses of fertility signifying continuous creation, wings for messenger Gods, etc.,) to evoke the stirrings in the innermost reaches of human consciousness to connect to the supreme spirit.

This is the function that Joseph Campbell talks of in his book. The pantheon of Gods and Goddesses we create are the functions of our inner longing from the state of Turiya or absolute consciousness and given expression to provide a tangible validity for instant future evocation.
Whenever we read mythological narratives or look at images of Gods and Goddesses, it is obligatory on our part to move to the inner realms of our consciousness and find that all important functional connectivity.

Let me conclude this short article with an apt quote:
“You do not need any preacher or prophet to learn about God. The teaching is spread on the trees and the mountains, on the stars and the river, on the Sun and the moon. The ultimate teaching is written in your heart. You just need to wake up and see.” .........Banani Ray

Love to you all.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Consciousness is Breath of Life

"I am the breath of life, I am the consciousness of life. Adore me and think of me as life and immortality....It is consciousness of life that becomes the breath of life and gives life to the body. The breath of life is the consciousness of life and the consciousness of life becomes the breath of life." ..........Kaushitaki Upanishad III. 2-3

" ............and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground, then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." ........Genesis 2: 6-7

We have a very limited perception of the meaning of life. Most of us except a few scientist think of life form as based on carbon and breathing oxygen. But today with the aid of science we know that plants breathe in both oxygen as well as carbon dioxide and some bacteria sustain themselves near sub-sea volcanic vents on hydrogen sulphide. But we all agree that life forms react to stimuli, impact the environment, metabolize and use energy and reproduce.
But there is also a system's view of life. In the broadest possible definition "Life forms continuously exchange information with their environment"
Here we should not make the mistake of thinking that information has to be a set definition based on numerical or symbolic data. Information in the ecosystem consists of a set of fundamental energy units common to the entire system. In the study of micro systems involving the human, animal or planetary cellular structure, we are forced into studying the energy exchange that is vital for life to exist and to propagate. At the most fundamental level of the microcosm, we encounter the barrier at the Planck units. When we are seeking the further levels of building blocks of life below the Planck scale, which has to be common to all manifestations from sub-atomic particles to the still mysterious Dark matter and Dark energy, we see a faint path in the corridors of Quantum entanglement pointing to Universal or Cosmic consciousness as the basic unit of all structures (as this structure lies beyond space-time). This is a rather difficult and arduous channel for the common man to comprehend. This is the reason a broad categorization and pronouncements have come into existence in the sacred scriptures.

The Kaushitaki Upanishad of Rig Veda clearly states that consciousness and the breath of life are one and the same. If we examine the process of procreation, the moment the sperm and the egg come in contact the complex process that unfolds in creating the most complex structure with hardly 30,000 genes as building blocks defies all scientific scrutiny. We are still scratching the surface in understanding the complexity of the brain and a host of other biological process within the living system. One of the basic question that defies all neuroscientist and philosophers is what is defined as the Hard problem of how matter (brain) produces consciousness.
But fundamentally we are aware that every life form has consciousness but we need to transcend to the idea that it is consciousness that gives life.

Even in evolutionary studies, we find that there is a sudden spurt of evolution of species followed by a period of no new life forms. This in evolutionary studies is called "Punctuated equilibrium". What is that which causes and controls this evolutionary hiccup. We have no clue. Both at the epoch level of macro system and at the level of level of cell level micro system the complexity of information exchange is so complex and yet there results a defined evolutionary trend that we are forced to admit, in a non anthropomorphic view, that there is fundamental, all pervading natural order which is pre-existent and unchanging. This is call the breath of God or Divine Consciousness.

In the simplest of forms the Genesis, enumerating the process of creation of man, says " a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground..........."
There are four important words (in italics) in this short statement that defines the whole process of human creation from an evolutionary perspective. These words are dust to man and mist of the earth and the breath of God.
This defines the lower most element from which the most complex manifestation was created and the basic sustaining ingredients were the transformative mist to mould the elements (dust) into the body and the breath of God (consciousness) to give life.

While our human mind may find it difficult to comprehend the deep mysteries of life, let us. in line with the gentle reminder of Kaushitaki Upanishad have faith and understand this deep reality "I am the breath of life, I am the consciousness of life."

We are the indwelling manifold of Divine consciousness.

Love to you all 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oblivious to Lesser Goals

“Isa one day saw some people sitting miserably on a wall, by the roadside. He asked: 'What is your affliction?' The said: 'We have become like this through our fear of Hell.'
He went on his way, and saw a number of people grouped disconsolately in various postures by the wayside.
He said: 'What is your affliction?' They said: 'Desire for Paradise has made us like this.'
He went on his way, until he came to a third group of people. They looked like people who had endured much, but their faces shone with joy.
Isa asked them: 'What has made you like this?' and they answered: 'The Spirit of Truth.
We have seen Reality, and this has made us oblivious of lesser goals.'
Isa said: 'These are the people who attain. On the Day of Accounting these are they who will be in the Presence of God.'…..” …………………..Imam El-Ghazali

Imam El-Ghazali relates to tradition form the life of Isa, ibn Maryam: Jesus, Son of Mary. Imam El-Ghazali was a Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic of Persian descent in the twelfth century. The above parable is an admirable example of how he combined Sufi thought through other spiritual leaders such as Christ.

The direct perception of God as an individual mystical experience runs very deeply in Sufi tradition.
Our aim in life or life purpose is the realization of our true potential to self-identify our Divine nature.
As long as we are attached to mental concepts and perceptions and live our life in a series of relationships with objective reality, we raise barriers in our progress in the true path that can lead us to the destination of self-realization.

Ghazali says in his writings:
“A human being is not a human being while his tendencies include self-indulgence, covetousness, temper and attacking other people”

This can be expanded with our current knowledge to include the interconnectedness of whole ecosystem to our very being. By isolating objects we fall into the trap of assigning a relative status in establishing a relationship with the objects thus isolated. This diminishes our perception of the Divine as the essence that pervades all manifestations.

Ghazali goes one step further in this parable, through the words of Isa, in including concepts such as hell and heaven. Hell and heaven are our internal states of consciousness as perceived through a subjective experience but assigned an external futuristic reality. When our consciousness is alienated for the true path and attached to lesser realities, it is like a soiled mirror and does not reflect the Divine light and the corrupted image induces a constant fear. This is the state of hell. But when we constantly desire to see the unsoiled image of our true self we long for paradise and until we succeed we are in constant anxiety.

Hence hell and paradise are again not true reality. Hell and paradise are no different from the pain we suffer and the pleasure we long for in our physical and emotional realm.

But when the Spirit of Truth resides within us, we shine like the unsoiled mirror and Divine light is fully mirrored in our being. The imbuing of the spirit of truth is not a trivial task and requires constant striving and this is told in the parable as those ‘who endured much’ were those who had the spirit of truth.

The physical world and all its associated objective realities such as beauty, harmony, pleasurable sensations, sweetness and heady scents are provided as efficient tools to sculpture the Divine image out of the physical medium in which we live.

Day of Accounting is not some distant future date but the moment when we come to the end of this manifestation.
When we say that the mystics, sages and saints lived in the presence of the Divine, this is reflected in Ghazali’s saying “We have seen Reality, and this has made us oblivious of lesser goals”.

Love to you all

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Life Sustaining Water in the Desert

In today’s article, I would like to make the connection between few of the passages from the Hebrew Old Testament, Gospel of John and St. Paul’s letter where the subject of water in the desert are told and establish the common thread of spiritual implication underlying these verses.

In Exodus 17: 1-17 the incidence of Moses leading the people of Israel from the wilderness of Sin into the place called ‘Rephidim’ (which name comes from the noun root ‘repida’ and which means ‘rest’). It should be noted that any action involving rest is for the purpose of rejuvenation. But there is no water and people start to become rebellious. Moses appeals to God and he is instructed to take a few elders and go to a place called Horeb and strike a rock, which the Lord will show, with the rod that he used for turning the Nile red and we are told that water rushed forth for the people to drink. Moses called this place ‘Massah’ which in Hebrew means ‘testing’ and ‘Meribah’ which means ‘quarrelling’.
It would be beneficial to note that it is the rod of deliverance out of Egypt that is again used to deliver the people of Israel from thirst

In Numbers 20:1–14 the incidence of water scarcity at the near end of the forty years of wandering and how again Moses is instructed to strike the rock to bring forth water is explained. At this time it is not only the people of Israel but also Moses doubts the Divine instruction and Moses and Aaron are not allowed into the Promised Land. Because the Israelis argued with the Lord and he was set apart among them, this place was called the Meribah Springs.

St. Paul writing to the Corinthians says:
“… For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.” ……1 Corinthians 10:4

There is an intimate connection between all these verses.
The journey of the chosen people of God is the metaphor for the individual life journey of every human being. This journey is sustained through Divine nourishment.

This is more evident from the first-century C.E. source called Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities which says:
“But as for his own people, he led them forth into the wilderness: Forty years did he rain bread from heaven for them, and he brought them quails from the sea, and a well of water following them” ……..Chapter 10. Verse 7.

When we are born, we begin our journey at the very bottom rung of the tree of life, the realm called ‘Malchut’ It is associated with the realm of matter/earth and relates to the physical world, This is the journey out of the wilderness of Sin referred to in the book of Exodus. As the Divine nourishment of Manna and the waters of Meribah spring provided sustenance for the people of Israel so also each one of us requires Divine nourishment to elevate out consciousness from the level of the ‘Malchut’ to the highest level of the Promised Land namely ‘Keter’ which means ‘Crown’. The name of God associated with Keter is ‘Ehyeh Asher’
Ehyeh is the name through which God revealed himself to Moses from the burning bush. "It is from the name Ehyeh that all kinds of sustenance emanate, coming from the source, which is the infinite"

The significance of forty years in the desert is a period of preparation, It would also be interesting to note that it was at Horeb that Elijah went forty days without food or water and Jesus fasted for forty days before his ministry.
Hence our life on Earth is a preparation for the promised Land of elevated spiritual consciousness

As St. Paul says In the New covenant, the life sustenance comes through Christ consciousness. When Jesus says to the Samaritan woman at the well:
“………….. But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never become thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become a well of water for him, springing up to eternal life.” …………John 4:14

It is therefore those who have this well of spiritual nourishment as their constant inner source who will continue their life journey into the Promised Land and become one with the Divine Kingdom.

Love to you all