Saturday, April 29, 2017

Called Out of Bondage

“One must remember the central truth... about Easter and Passover. We are all called out of the house of bondage, even  as the Jews were called out of their bondage in Egypt. We are called out of bondage in the way in which the moon throws off its shadow to emerge anew, in the way that life throws off the shadow of death.” …………..Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That, page 104.
When we are called out of bondage, the transition is not spontaneous but there is a stage of purification or purgation, In this process all the attachments and trappings that we had in the worldly manifestation needs to be burned away.
I would like again to refer to the events narrated in Genesis and the instruction given to Moses by God regarding the ritual of Passover. The sacrificial lamb is slaughtered and the blood which carries the life force is to be used for marking the door post as a sign of purified habitation. The meat is to be consumed so as to provide the energy needed for the new body in liberation to reach the safe shores from the pursuing Egyptian army which is the symbol of the enslaving elements in our previous existence. But any remnant of the meat which signifies the unwanted nourishments that sustained our physical existence must be burned. This is the significance of eradicating all physical attachments. The Passover ritual has a beautiful spiritual symbolism.
Here I would also like to visit the episode of Nachiketa, the teen age son of  Auddilaki Aruni, who is given away to Yama, the Lord of death by his father as a concluding element of the Viswajet Yajña.
Nachiketa descends to the kingdom of death and has to wait for three days to meet Yama. The three days of descent into hell is a common metaphor and can be seen in the descent of Christ into hell after his physical death. A wonderful understanding of the significance of this descent from a spiritual perspective is brought out by Carl Jung, in his book “Psychology and Religion”:
“The present is a time of God's death and disappearance. The myth says 'he was not to be found where his body was laid'. 'Body' means the outward visible form, the erstwhile but ephemeral setting for the 'highest value'. The myth further says that the 'value' rose again, in a miraculous manner, transformed. It looks like a miracle, for when a value disappears, it always seems to be lost irretrievably. So it is quite unexpected that it should come back. The 'three days' descent into hell during death describes the sinking of the 'vanished value' into the unconscious, where by conquering the power of darkness, it establishes a new order, and then rises up to heaven again, attaining supreme clarity of consciousness. The fact that only a few see the 'Risen One' means no small difficulties stand in the way of finding let alone recognizing the transformed value."
Yama grants Nachiketa the three boons he has asked. These boons signify a state of restoration from a previous existence into a higher realm of consciousness
The first boon is a fulfilment of acknowledging with gratitude the relational bond in the previous existence. The first boon is that; ““As the first gift, O Lord, offer this to me: when I return, released by you to the world of my father, may he receive me with a calm mind, free from anger, recognising me as I have been before; not thinking that I am dead and returning.”  ……Kathopanishad Chapter I Verse 10
This is a conscious choice of a liberated soul. This is the continuation of the final conscious words of Christ on the cross “Father forgive them for they not what they do” …………….Luke 23:34
The second boon is the liberation of all souls. This magnanimous gesture can only come from a self-realization of the non-dual nature of all existence. This is a subconscious choice through transcending the ego and physical barriers of separation. This can only be achieved from a state of total annihilation of all attachments and this is why Yama grants this boon and names it Nachiketa Yajña.  
The Holy Mass in the Catholic tradition is a ritual meant to signify this subconscious transformation where the Divine takes residence in the human.
The third boon is the state of the soul after death. Reluctantly, Yama teaches him Atma Vidya or the true knowledge of the soul. This wisdom is the wisdom embedded in the universal unconsciousness. Using this wisdom the transcending self realizes ultimate liberation.
Let me conclude this article with a quote from Kathopanishad:
“Atman, smaller than the small, greater than the great, is hidden in the hearts of all living creatures. A man who is free from desires beholds the majesty of the Self through tranquillity of the senses and the mind and becomes free from grief.” ………………….Kathopanishad Chapter II Verse 20
This lived in wisdom is the true liberation from bondage.
Love to you all

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