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.