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