Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Seeking the Creator in the Created

“When it starts to rain we do not ask “Who is making it rain?” because we know that rain is caused not by someone but by something—natural phenomena like heat, evaporation, precipitation, etc. When we see smooth stones in a river, we do not ask “Who polished those stones?” because we know that the smooth surface of the stones was caused not by someone but by something—natural causes like the abrasive action of water and sand.
All of these things have a cause (or causes) but this need not be a being. It is the same with the universe—it was not brought into being by a god but by natural phenomena like nuclear fission, gravity, inertia, etc.” [1]

I have a problem with this logic as the obvious question that follows is what causes fission, gravity, inertia, etc. If we classify them under a set of processes, the question that we have raised is still not answered.
Is there a way around this seemingly regressive analysis of seeking a creative agent for all that we see as manifest creation.
There are two converging pathways one in the realm of esoteric philosophy and the other in the arena of modern science which can be merged to arrive at an answer.

In the path of esoteric philosophy, Kashmir Saivism is a good source wherein the deeper wisdom of reality is expounded. The following first three verses of Pratyabhijnahrdayam, which comes from the Sanskrit roots formed from prati – "something once known, now appearing as forgotten", abhi – "immediate" and jna – "to know". So, the meaning is direct knowledge of one's self-recognition.

“The absolute Citi (consciousness) out of its own free will is the cause of the Siddhi of the universe.
By power of her own free will does She (Citi) unfold the universe upon her own screen.
This (i.e. the universe) is manifold because of the differentiation of reciprocally adapted objects and subjects.
The individual (experiencer) also, in whom Citi or consciousness is contracted has the universe (as his body) in a contracted form.
Citi (universal consciousness) itself descending from (the stage of) Cetana becomes Citta (individual consciousness) inasmuch as it becomes contracted in conformity with the object of consciousness.[2]

The first five verses of this deeply esoteric text explains the nature of all manifestations and the created observer. It is necessary to explain some of the Sanskrit terms. ‘Citi’ means ‘Universal consciousness’ and ‘Siddhi’ means ‘bringing into existence in this universe, organizing, and finally annihilating or withdrawing’.
‘Chetana’ is the female gender of consciousness as at the manifest level it is endowed with the capacity to co-create. And finally ‘citta’ means ‘individual consciousness’.
The undifferentiated nature of the source, the process and end product are beautifully illustrated in this wisdom document.
The artist, the canvass and the artwork are all basically a derivative and different manifestations with different forms and names, such as artwork, canvass and artist, of the single mind which is the source.

The second pathway is the route through modern science and cosmology. Especially the deeper study of Relativity, Quantum physics and the unification of the four forces of nature. Modern cosmologist are in a major agreement that we live in a multiverse and our own universe may have a total of ten spatial dimensions apart from time. New theories are questioning the ‘Big Bang’ process of the universe creation and one of the latest paper to be presented proposes a cyclic universe in which the birth and death of the universe is an eternal process. There is also a theory of ‘Big Bounce’ in a multiverse scenario.

The following reference from the dawn of postmodern thinking is an earnest appeal to reposition our thinking.

“We can and should leave modernity behind - in fact, we must if we are to avoid destroying ourselves and most of the life on our planet… [Constructive or revisionary] postmodernism … by contrast [to deconstructionism] … seeks to overcome the modern worldview not by eliminating the possibility of worldviews as such, but by constructing a postmodern worldview through a revision of modern premises and traditional concepts. This constructive or revisionary postmodernism involves a new unity of scientific, ethical, aesthetic, and religious intuitions. It rejects not science as such but only that scientism in which the data of the modern natural sciences are alone allowed to contribute to the construction of our worldview… Going beyond the modern world will involve transcending its individualism, anthropocentrism, patriarchy, mechanization, economism, consumerism, nationalism, and militarism. Constructive postmodern thought provides support for the ecology, peace, feminist and other emancipatory movements of our time.” [3]

This insight is the basis for our new understanding of the process through which the recent findings in science can reposition our thinking from the classical view of analysis by deconstruction and fragmentation to one where a synthesis can be arrived at through our deeper probing of the plenum of all existence and the laws that govern them.

Spiritual wisdom of sacred writings such as Pratyabhijnahrdayam and an open mind to deeply probe and accept findings in modern science would be the way forward. The rational mind is an inadequate tool to probe the relation between the creation and the creator but this same mind is the key to open the inner layers of wisdom.
Let me end this article with a deep insight:

“Self-creation never ends. You are continually creating yourself from the field of infinite possibilities. You are, in every moment, born again. And so is everyone else.”[4]

Love to you all

[1] A.L Silva “A Buddhist Critique of Christianity”
[2] Jai Deva Singh. Pratyabhijnahrdayam: The Secret of Self-Realization (3rd revised edition). Motilal Banarsidass. Delhi, India - (1980).
[3] Griffin, David Ray (ed.), The reenchantment of science, New York: State University of New York, 1988, pp 1-3.
[4] Neale Donald Walsch

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Importance of Rituals in Our Lives

"Spiritual practice is a direct experience. When we follow our breath in the Zen tradition, or repeat the names of God in Islam, or kindle the Sabbath candles and welcome the Shekinah on Shabbat, or offer the light of a butter lamp to Mata Durga, we are harnessing timeless technologies precisely engineered to open the heart and transform consciousness. Practice knocks on the door of the soul and it opens to the presence of the sacred. It shifts us from the intellectual realms of theology into the embodied space of spirit as it pours into and animates all that is." ................................Mirabai Starr, author and adjunct professor of philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos, on practicing a tradition and what it brings [1]
Many times I have confronted people asking the question as to why I go to a Catholic mass or participate in any ritual when I write and speak so much about the need for an intuitive journey and believe in spirituality which has a unique personal character. I think the above quote on the role and power of ritual in spiritually empowering us.
First of all we have to understand the evolution of rituals which had a survival bias and slowly evolved into the psychological space as the human consciousness evolved from magical character in the hunter – gatherers into the rational sphere in the post-modern human beings. Underlying the entire spectrum of human consciousness evolution is always a belief system. 
In the early homo sapiens, before he went out on a hunt, they used to gather around and draw the rough picture of the animal they intended to hunt and the leader of the hunt would shoot an arrow into the heart of the drawn figure and this ritual was rooted in the belief that somehow this act would transpose itself on the prey when they go on the hunt. Later when man settled down near the source of water as agrarian society, the fertility of the soil, the nourishing rain and the warmth giving and heat from the fire to cook and ward off animals were symbolized as Mother Goddess, Rain god and the God of protection and transformation. These gods were then worshiped in the hope that they would be bountiful and provide the seasonal flooding of the river, the timely rain and the life enabling food. The ancient worship of Agni and copious reference to it in the Vedas is an example. Recent archaeological investigations have revealed that the figurines of mother goddesses unearthed reveal that Mother Goddess worship dates back to more than 20,000 years.
It was the practice of the Nile valley civilization that in every process in the agricultural operation, from breaking or ploughing the ground , the planting of the seed to harvesting was celebrated with singing and dancing. The breaking of the ground and planting of the seed was symbolic of the burial of the god Osris and the sprouting of the grain a symbol of resurrection of Osris  and final the harvest festival was the symbol of Osris, his consort, thanking Isis for reviving him from the dead. This was celebrated by singing and dancing while a sheaf of corn was raised towards heaven. Can you see the similarity between this ancient practice and the raised offering of the host to ask Christ to resurrect back into the material realm. (I had written an article on the symbolism of the Holy Mass earlier [2])
“Archaeologically, the earliest evidence for Indo-Iranian fire worship is found at the transition from the Sintashta-Petrovka to the Fedorovo culture around 1500 BC, together with first evidence of cremation. While cremation became ubiquitous in Hinduism, it came to be disavowed in Zoroastrianism. However, even earlier evidences of Vedic fire altars have been found at the Indus Valley sites of Kalibangan and Lothal, giving rise to speculations towards earlier assumed the geographical location of the early Indo-Iranians.”[3]
The ritual of fire sacrifice or yajña is a worship of transformation which is the continuous process in all manifestation. The ingredients fed into the ritual fire such as Sandalwood, Clarified butter, incense and other millets produce a specific sensory smells and together with the Vedic chanting induce a transformation of consciousness.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad hymn 3.1.6, states that the mind is the Brahma of yajña and the goal of yajña is complete release and liberation (moksha).
The spiritual significance of Hajj is the elevation of the faithful to a cosmic dimension. There is a parallel to the movement of cosmic objects and sub-atomic particles orbiting around a central Black Hole, which is an entity beyond human comprehension and hence representing the unknowable and unnameable power which is expressed as a common act of worship in the language man. While electrons ceaselessly orbit the nucleus of an atom, the earth and planets tirelessly traverse space in an orbit around the sun. In turn, the solar system becomes the whirling dervish orbiting the centre of the Milky Way. It seems that circling a central point of reference is a universal act of worship. Muslims join in this cosmic mode of worship and synchronize with the whole universe and all existence by circling the Ka'bah as the reference point of the oneness of Divinity.
It is important to realize that rituals evolved from a purely mind-body matrix to its current state at the stage of mythological consciousness of the homo sapiens (from 5000 B.C)  through the wisdom of those who codified and formatted these processes of spiritual exercise. The aim was elevation of consciousness by symbolically appealing to the higher mind that lies beyond the rational domain.
Love to you all

[1] Parabola Magazine July 28, 2014

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Initiation through Sacred Geometry

"Accustomed to looking at philosophy as a makeshift, a groping toward truth, changing in accordance with the acquisition of mere information, there are few people nowadays who can even grasp the assertion that there is an ultimate truth against which everything can be measured, and which is accessible to man" ………………………………Idries Shah, The Sufis
"Within the human consciousness is the unique ability to perceive the transparency between absolute, permanent relationships, contained in the insubstantial forms of a geometric order, and the transitory, changing forms of our actual world. The content of our experience results from an immaterial, abstract, geometric architecture which is composed of harmonic waves of energy, nodes of relationality, melodic forms springing forth from the eternal realm of geometric proportion." …………Robert Lawlor, Sacred Geometry
In today’s article I wanted to deal with a subject which is very subtle and which we experience many times in our lives and yet we ignore or pass over these moments of experiences as we do not have the requisite indwelling and knowledge regarding the source from which these emotions of exhilaration are experienced. Mostly we assign these feelings to a perception of beauty in our experience or encounter with an object. Beauty as is defined in an abstract way lies in the form that is presented to our senses. A few examples are the well-proportioned and perfectly chiseled features of a fellow human being, an unblemished Sunflower in full bloom or a nautilus shell radiating a rainbow spectrum through an incident ray of light or the perfect spiral of a Galaxy. All these perceptions have a common form which is a Fibonacci spiral. Nature is full of these fundamental geometric form and the observation of these resonates with our own inner craving for perfection.
Man has spent many centuries in the pursuit of answer to relationships that exist both in the tangible manifest world of structures and the intangible forces that govern these relationships.
Pythagoras and Plato firmly believed that Forms can have neither attributes as either material objects or any other qualities of material objects, nor mere concepts in our brains. They have an independent nature of existence, apart from the physical universe, and they are eternal and immutable. Physical objects are what they are by virtue of their participation in these specific Forms.
This participation happens through the indispensable nature of the observing consciousness which resonates at a specific energy to transpose the immutable form on to the object being perceived.  Our normal perception through a conditioned sensory consciousness is that the fundamental form is an emergent property of the material object while in reality the objective reality that we sense is an emergent phenomenon of the fundamental form under a specific context or milieu.
This is the reason that complex, fractal patterns are reducible to fundamental forms through non-Euclidean geometry. A classic example is the Einstein’s General theory of relativity, where space-time curvature leads to gravity. To understand this complex structure of space=time a differential topology known as  pseudo-Riemannian manifolds (note the word manifold which is a complex form), which (in four dimensions) is employed. (please ignore this paragraph if the reader is not mathematically inclined)
In the current stage of advancement of science, both the macrocosm and the microcosm at the manifest and unmanifest level can be reducible to fundamental sub-quantum units of information and these units are geometric in nature, such as lattices of energy, looping, twisting, folding and unfolding.
The very basic structure of life on this planet, the DNA, is double helix, a geometric pattern. The level of coiling known as ‘negative coiling’ and ‘super coiling’ leads to different expression of the DNA function.
It is very important to realize that as participating consciousness in bringing about objective reality, we are inherently inter-twinned with geometric patterns immanent both in the subject and object. Any philosophy, in its literal analysis, woefully falls short of defining a method of this process and this what Idries Shah, the Sufi mystic so eloquently says; “………..there are few people nowadays who can even grasp the assertion that there is an ultimate truth against which everything can be measured, and which is accessible to man".
These few people are those of us who pause and probe the reason behind an epiphenomenon that takes us unprepared when we encounter the emergence of  beauty from the inherent forms of nature.
Let me close this article with a quote:
"At this stage modern man must face a series of paradoxes of his own making. This 'objective' mathematics, for all its success in mechanics, makes use of abstractions that correspond to nothing in experience. The square root of minus one, the zero, infinity are abstractions corresponding to nothing in that physical realm we call 'reality'. And without these abstractions the formulae do not work. In other words, to describe the phenomenal world 'scientifically', science must have recourse to abstraction. . ." ……………………….John Anthony West, “Serpent In the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt”
Do not be alarmed by abstraction they are very nature of hidden forms that finds expression through our intuitive probing.
Love to you all.