Friday, April 6, 2018

Blessings of the Flesh


Let me open this article with a quote from one of the earliest Church fathers whose wisdom was rooted in a deep understanding of Christ and through him the Divine. If God created human beings in his image why was physical domain consigned to the fall by the Church. We will examine this question and certain revelatory truth that we perceive through evolutionary biology.
“The tender flesh itself will be found one day
- quite surprisingly - to be capable of receiving,
and yes, full capable of embracing the searing energies of God. Go figure. Fear not.
For even at its beginning the humble clay received God’s art, whereby one part became the eye,
another the ear, and yet another this impetuous hand.
Therefore, the flesh is not to be excluded from the wisdom and the power that now and ever animates
all things. His life-giving agency is made perfect, we are told, in weakness -  made perfect in the flesh.” [1] ………….Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (c.130-c.202)
“So the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground, breathed life into his lungs, and the man became a living being.” [2]
The ‘humble clay’ which Irenaeus talks of is probably, in the early earth when water carrying comets or asteroids crashed into the earth pulverizing the solidified volcanic rocks, the first substrate in which complex molecules such as RNA (consisting of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, which come together in very specific conformations or structural arrangements) are  put together when sufficient atmospheric electrical activity is present in the form of lightning. This has been experimentally proven in laboratories.
It was Bernal (1951), however, who first suggested that clay minerals played a key role in chemical evolution and the origins of life because of their ability to take up, protect (against ultraviolet radiation), concentrate, and catalyze the polymerization of, organic molecules. [3]
I have quoted this biological evolutionary concept in order to point out that creation is not one time act with the wave of a Divine magician’s wand. One of the current theory of evolution in which I have a strong belief is that of “autopoetic continuous evolution” towards higher complexity or Theistic Evolution.
To our current knowledge, man stands at the very front end of this 3 billion years of evolutionary complexity. In our bodies, consisting of 35 trillion cells, there is a massive scale of replication of DNA going on every second of our lives. An example is our entire skin gets renewed in 18 weeks.
We still cannot comprehend, at the very primal quantum level at which the course of our evolutionary pathways are laid out, what is the driving force? While scientists are attributing this process to physical laws with its limitations, spiritual masters are attributing this process to the substrate of Divine or Cosmic consciousness.
The basic truth is that we carry in this framework of flesh, which includes all material composition of the human body, the driving force of life which the Divine gift reflecting the very creative energy. Every life form from the humble bacteria to man is invested with intelligence and provided with sustenance. The natural forces in work through our Harmons resulting in emotions are Divine investment and have to be rightly utilized both for self-preservation and for empathy and compassion towards all creation.
When the resources provided for the wellbeing of the flesh are over indulged or deprived, the natural harmony of the body is upset. The house of God becomes structurally weak. These conditions result in self-destruction at the physical level through disease and a runaway process of craving and low selfhood.
The constant indoctrination of the corrupting nature of all that is our physical self leads to a  psychological condition resulting in low self-esteem This in turn leads to the biggest trap of dragging one into seeking success, popularity, or power at all cost.
St. Augustine went on a hyper drive on the concept of the sins of the flesh (original sin) which he claimed came through the yielding to the temptation of the flesh by Adam and Eve. This was mainly a reflex action to his own condition due his own past life of reckless debauchery.
St. Jerome, the first author of the Latin Bible and great Church father who was the advocate chastity for the clergy, confesses:
“O, how often have I thought myself to be in the midst of the vain delights and pleasures of Rome, even when I was in the wild wilderness.” Again, “I, who for fear of hell had condemned myself to such a prison, thought myself oftentimes to be dancing among young women, when I had no other company, but scorpions and wild beasts. My face was pale with fasting, but my mind was inflamed with desires in my cold body: and although my flesh was half-dead already, yet the flames of fleshly lust, boiled within me, etc.” [4]
I would conclude this article from a very apt concept in Vedanta. On the practice of Yoga, Sadguru says:
“The very body is divine as far as yoga is concerned. One aspect of Shiva is that he is Angaraj. Angaraj means the king of limbs. You may be doing Angamardana, which is a process of gaining mastery over the limbs. Shiva is the king of limbs because he has completely mastered them, and now the very body has become divine. If the system, which is moving from unconsciousness to consciousness, becomes 100% conscious, if even the physical body becomes utterly conscious, then this is a divine body. That is what it means when we say Shiva is Angaraj. These limbs can be an unconscious mass of flesh, or they can become so conscious that they are like a divine body. This is about transforming a piece of flesh into a deity.” [5]
We have this inbuilt potential of transformation but it requires a great effort in moving our involuntary functions such as the bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat and liver function and our mental function into the domain of conscious awareness.
Let us make a small beginning.
Love to you all.



[1] Adapted and translated by Scott Cairns, Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (Paraclete Press: 2007), 5-6.
[2] Genesis 2:7 – International Standard Version
[3] Bernal J. D1951The Physical Basis of Life. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 364p.
     To find more information about this publication, try searching -  PubMed/NCBI - Google scholar
[4] Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
[5] http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/demystifying-yoga/from-piece-flesh-to-divine- force/

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Media and the Mind


"Have you ever looked at the flame on a log? One night when I was backpacking, I was watching the flame on a log, and I couldn't see where the flame touched the log. Either there was a gap between the flame and the log, or the flame was so pure and colorless that it couldn't be seen. In a similar way, there is an absolute base in the heart where there is emptiness. This is the place before the Truth becomes alive, before it leaps out into existence. And here, even the union of the heart subsides into a ground of being that is so simple. It is that place 'where distinction never gazed,' as Meister Eckhart called it, where even oneness makes no sense, where the mind of insight has fallen silent, where the heart has fallen silent, and there is just a resting in the simple ground of being." ……………Adyashanti
In grasping reality, the mind goes through various stages and retentions. It also draws upon the varied depositary of memories of related or similar events. The observation of Adyashanti is a very deep insight. Rarely any one of us understand the above fact that out of pure non-observable energy, the flame comes out to the external world.
From the point of view of cognitive sciences, there are many functions of the brain which are autonomous like breathing, digesting and many other biological functions. If the brain has to go away from these autonomous functions into a sequential information processing mode then the processing time and the energy required to keep humans alive would be enormous and subject to malfunction endangering life. Hence vital biological functions are programmed to be autonomous.
Now the brain also acquires capacity for autonomous functioning when certain precision activities in our daily lives need to be performed. There are plenty of examples such cycling, driving a car. Apart from this professional sportsmen and players, over a period of time, acquire instant reflexes which bypasses the full frontal neocortex functions. A good example is the response of a professional baseball or cricket player. When a cricket player faces a fast bowler, bowling at nearly 145 km per hour, the time for the ball to travel the 22 yards of the pitch is within half a second. To follow the trajectory and to respond the batsman cannot operate on a purely rational mode. He acquires a store of autonomous function mapping based on various parameters for which he has learned and trained to become skilled.
Why am I pointing out all these factors is because we think we have full control over our rational mind. The embedded layers of our mind which forms the ground of being of our psyche is built up by exposure to the constant barrage of information flooding our mind through various senses.
This fact is very clearly understood by marketing companies. The profile of corporate players who exploit this nature of mind encompasses different products from food, personal care, home comforts and many more. A false sense of assurance, far beyond the real and sometimes imagined, is promoted incessantly through the media.
The social networks have become an easy and very low cost tool for these players. The reason for the phenomenal growth of companies like Amazon, is the use of social media with powerful software for data mining to predict and suggest products and services suited to specific customer.
There are material available in the social media which completely alters and impacts the academic performance as well as personal orientation of youth in relation to their personal and social behaviour.
Many of you are aware of the disaster caused among misguided youth with the introduction of the “Blue Whale Challenge” on the social media. The number of suicides, both reported and unreported, indicates the extremity to which the young mind can be altered.
The false sense of comfort which most of the advertisement companies promote on the social media goes unabated. The entertainment industry is one that capitalizes on this perceptual need created through the media in terms of long haul soap opera both in the west as well as in the east. There were time when I used to travel to UK in the 1980s and 1990s when social drama was very limited but now with cable and dish TV  and internet channels like Netflix and YouTube, the access to the entire media entertainment is at the beck and call of your hand-held remote.
All this flood of information puts the human brain on overload and what the brain does is go on to a selective filter mode and pushes some of the repeated themes and contents into the autonomous mode which completely operates as bedrock on which one’s perception of reality is built.
The other danger we face is this type of autonomous functioning based on false reality totally block our inner self and one becomes soulless. Most self-destructive behaviours, from personal suicides to a personal sacrifice in terrorist acts, are the result of this condition. The extreme insensitivity to social harmony and ecological health is the result of this mental conditioning
Today the main culprit in what is happening in the Middle East, terror acts in Europe and the school shootings in the US are the result of the crony capitalism dominating our markets. The biggest market driver of war, terrorism and violence is the ammunition industry. The wars in Kuwait and in Iraq were primarily motivated by the vested interest groups in capturing the region’s oil wealth through dictated trading routes.
In December 2016, responding to a question from a journalist about whether or not there is a link between Islam and terrorism, more specifically addressing the fatal attack on a priest by a Muslim extremist in France the previous week, Pope Francis said,
“Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the “god of money” and not the person.” This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity,”
No religion endorses terrorism. It is only the conditioned mind subjugated by fueling ignorance and media promotion of a false reality by interested groups, which are the perpetrators of this evil.
Love to you all

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Inner Kingdom of Man


“…… Every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world, and becomes an active entity by associating itself, coalescing we might term it, with an elemental - that is to say, with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence - a creature of the mind’s begetting - for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power, an evil one as a maleficent demon.  And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which reacts upon any sensitive or nervous organization which comes in contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity.” …………..“The Occult World”, by Alfred P. Sinnett, 1884 edition
Alfred Percy Sinnett was an English author and theosophist. He has captured the composition of the subconscious world of an individual in a language that, as best as possible, describes the cumulative process through which every thought from the human mind is either attenuated or amplified to form the building blocks on which the subconscious structure is built up. These building blocks which can be fundamentally classified as ‘Qualia’ or units of consciousness comes with attributes which are generally termed as “a good thought (which is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power) or an evil one (which is described as a maleficent demon), but I would rather use the Vedic attributes of ‘Guna’, namely; sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). Though we may unconsciously and spontaneously conceptualize the nature of a current situation and evolve a suitable response, deep down the base on which these individual positioning happens very much depends on the cumulative state of our subconscious consisting of the admixture of the three gunas. The perfect balance of three gunas leads to a harmonious triad of supreme power that has limitless creative potential.
I would like to add a further analysis of the extended process that continuously takes place in an individual’s psyche. The Jungian construct of the entire world of consciousness has to be called upon to understand this process of the psyche. Individual consciousness is the immediate manifest component of the aggrandized subconsciousness of any individual as described at the start of this article. But this whole world of individual consciousness is the floating iceberg in the field of Universal unconsciousness. The universal unconsciousness is the grand integral of the entire evolutionary history of human consciousness which further extends into the planetary and cosmic consciousness.
From this conceptual view point of the entire structure of the world of consciousness, we can understand that we are connected to the entire creation. This grand unified field being in perfect creative harmony, spontaneously acts on any variations from the perfect state.
The last sentence of the above quote; “ ……. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which re-acts upon any sensitive or nervous organization which comes in contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity.”, is a vital truth, This has further been validated by our current study and understanding of human consciousness and human Biology.
Epigenetics is a new type of science that is growing in popularity and promise in the scientific world. Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes. It works to see the true potential of the human mind, and the cells in our body.
This is a science that even eminent scientists are beginning to see the potential in. Sir Adrian Bird defined epigenetics as the structural adaptation of chromosomal regions that register, signal and perpetuate altered activity states. Another scientists with decades of experience who is also leading the way with epigenetics is Dr. Bruce Lipton, who has written three major books on the field and how it can enrich our own lives.
Every thought we put out is not only has a unidirectional outward flow and influence but is very much a universal flow which also influences our inner world at the genetic level. Today every medical practitioner knows that mental stress is the biggest killer and a cause for a variety of diseases such as hypertension, heart ailment and cancer.
Let me conclude with a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley written by this great cosmic visionary in 1821
'Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light
Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffused
A Spirit of activity and life,
That knows no term, cessation or decay;
That fades not when the lamp of earthly life
Extinguished in the dampness of the grave,
Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe
In the dim newness of its being feels
The impulses of sublunary things,
And all is wonder to unpractised sense;
But, active, steadfast and eternal, still
Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,
Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,
Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;
And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly                    
Rolls round the eternal universe and shakes
Its undecaying battlement, presides,
Apportioning with irresistible law
The place each spring of its machine shall fill;
So that, when waves on waves tumultuous heap
Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven
Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords--
Whilst, to the eye of shipwrecked mariner,
Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,
All seems unlinked contingency and chance--                     
No atom of this turbulence fulfils
A vague and unnecessitated task
Or acts but as it must and ought to act. 
                                                                        
Love to you all

Friday, March 9, 2018

Understanding the Language of Nature


“If you would learn more, ask the cattle, Seek information from the birds of the air. The creeping things of earth will give you lessons, And the fishes of the sea will tell you all. There is not a single creature that does not know That everything is of God’s making. God holds in power the soul of every living thing, And the breath of every human body.” …………….Book of Job 12:7-10
"You may wonder: Why is nature constructed along these lines? One can only answer that our present knowledge seems to show that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe. Our feeble attempts at mathematics enable us to understand a bit of the universe, and as we proceed to develop higher and higher mathematics we can hope to understand the universe better." ………..Paul Dirac, winner of Nobel prize in physics in 1933
Nature is a Divine creation. It is an autopoietic, self-organizing process through which life comes into being and evolves in complexity. This is billions of years old process creating what we call nature or the ecosystem. Current studies have shown that nature, though it might appear to be the result of a chaotic process. Is fundamentally a well-organized structural pattern. There are patterns conforming to now the famous ‘Fibonacci Series’ and similar mathematical constructs.
Paul Dirac sums up his thoughts on the imperceptibility of the laws of nature with the words: “….One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”
Ever since this statement was made, we have come to ever increasing understanding of the nature of interconnectedness that pervades nature and the Cosmos. Quantum physics and the principles of entanglement as well the hyper dimensions in M-Theory has given us a better grasp but I should warn that we are far from understanding or grasping the true nature of the ecosystem as well as that of the universe at large..
Plant biology, with its advanced tools and experiments, has pointed to what Rupert Sheldrake calls ‘Morphic fields’, ‘Morphic Resonance’ and ‘Morphogenesis’. In his book “A New Science of Life” revised and published in 2009, Rupert Sheldrake proposed this new understanding of how life evolves in plants. He writes:
“Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organizing systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance.”
30 years of research by Dr. Suzanne Simard has revealed the sophisticated communication among trees in the Canadian forest. This is what she found:
 “That’s when I knew that I was onto something big… In the past, we assumed trees were competing with each other for carbon, sunlight, water and nutrients. But my work showed us trees were also cooperators. They communicate by sending mysterious chemical and hormonal signals to each other via the mycelium, to determine which trees need more carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon, and which trees have some to spare, sending the elements back and forth to each other until the entire forest is balanced.
The web is so dense there can be hundreds of kilometers of mycelium under a single foot step. The mycelium web connects mother trees with baby trees, allowing them to feed their young. A single mother tree can provide nourishment for hundreds of smaller trees in the under-story of her branches, Mother trees even recognize their kin, sending them more mycelium and carbon and reducing their own root size to make room for their babies.”
At the fundamental level, all of nature including human beings, are constituent of a set of basic elements which is defined in the periodic table. These elements have evolved in the nuclear fusion of the stars and spread through the universe during the collapse of these stars at the end of their life. The collapse itself is a two way process that we see in all life; namely there is a release of energy through dispensing with all the heavier elements, which form the seed for the next generation of life, and the collapse into the very basic building block of elements which is the neutron or into what cosmologist call a Black Hole or pure gravity.
All these points to a basic substrate of a field of energy or, as I tend to call it, consciousness which pervade the entire universe from which information is tapped in the process of evolution.
In the Book of Job, though the language used is more than 3000 years old, brings out the cosmic dimension of this universal field, which he calls God, through which every form of life evolves both in its physical as well as in its energy of sustenance. The author of the ‘Book of Job’ differentiates the soul and breath in the lower life forms and in human beings. From the foregoing information I have provided we know that all of nature including humans are interlinked and sustained by this cosmic field of consciousness which in the spiritual parlance we call ’GOD’.
If we align with Nature's wisdom then life on our planet will thrive once again. By inculcating a broader dimension of the ecocentric nature of existence a sustainable ecosystem beneficial to all can be established.
All that is required of our species now is that we use our creative imaginations and open our hearts, honour our connectedness to Nature, experience all life as precious and sacred.
Awakening to awareness of ourselves as living expressions of Nature's Dance could transform human consciousness. Nature is calling us back to her now, so that our species once again aligns with the wisdom and security of Mother Earth.
This is the wisdom of Ecospirituality, the wisdom of who and what we truly are in this creation.
Love to you all

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dismantling Religious Fundamentalism


I think the silent majority know that when scriptural texts are literally interpreted and politicized, it breeds unbridled violence, terror and war. This is true across all religions. This is the reason for what Albert Einstein said is so true:
"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity."
There are two main reasons why religion is failing to meet its true purpose as an enabler of harmony in the world today. The saying of the original spiritual masters have been first written down as scriptures or sacred texts (Vedas, Torah, Biblical texts and Koran) which were trying their best to put down mystical inner experiential revelations in the best available language which had its cultural limitations.
In the course of time a set of teachers who had no spiritual inheritance from the Masters, through sheer proximity to the power centres of the time, claimed to be the authority for promulgating the teachings they claimed to have inherited.
They transformed the sacred messages into a set of dogmas, diktats and laws to suit their own private agenda and to ensure organizational sustainability of the religious power centres, they demanded strict control and subjugated their followers to stringent confirmation through societal laws promulgated as of Divine origin (such as the Manusmriti, Talmud, the Dogmas and the Canon Law of Christianity and the Sharia Law and corresponding strict adherence to rites and rituals).
There is a common element in both religious fundamentalism as well as In the operating agenda of terrorism. This is the element of fear. In monotheistic religion it is the reward or punishment through metaphysical realms like heaven and hell. In terrorism, it is the constant fear of death, destruction and disruption of social harmony through an element of surprise.
 The other reason why this disconnect between spirituality and religion is increasingly happening is due to the fact that all sacred events and their corresponding meanings, which were scripted in a mythological context, are increasingly fitted into a historical context under a misunderstood concept that a historical perspective would render an unquestionable authenticity while they are meant to be interpreted in a spiritual and esoteric manner as revealed to individuals through their own inner experience. This is what the ancient Vedic sages, the Kabbalistic mystics, early desert fathers in Christianity, the later Benedictine, Capuchin and Franciscan and Sufi mystics went through and wrote and preached, but they were suppressed and censored as heretics and banished by the power and wealth centres of religious institutions.
Today with the advent of advanced tools in archaeology such as deep penetration radar and improved carbon dating as well as through comparative literary analysis, the literary interpretations of sacred texts fail to withstand any valid conjecture between what is the intended revelation and what is stated in the texts as interpreted in a historical and materialistic context.
My own personnel approach is that the current culture of fundamentalism and violence cannot be reversed through a reactionary mode but rather through inculcation of a cosmic perspective of individual spirituality. We have to become aware of how deeply our reality has been distorted.
As Morpheus says to Neo in the movie Matrix: “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." The term red pill refers to a human that is aware of the true nature of the Matrix or the false reality in which we live.
Today science, especially through discoveries in Quantum physics, biology, cognitive sciences and Cosmology, is coming to our aid and it is high time that many are made aware of the true nature of our real self and the basic purpose of creation.
“The very meaning of the word universe is to “turn around one thing.” There is either some Big Truth in this universe, or it is an incoherent universe. We are hardwired for the Big Picture, for transcendence, for ongoing growth (another name for evolution), for union with ourselves and everything else.” …….Joseph Chiltern Pearce
Karl Rahner, German Jesuit Priest and twentieth century theologian, said:
“We are “pressured” from within to evolve. That pressure is what we have always called the Holy Spirit, Prana or Chi. And the Spirit is creatively at work in this moment, urging us to evolve, to become a new kind of human being such as the world has rarely seen before. But what has been rare must now become commonplace.”
A great message was given by great Indian spiritual master:
“Different people call on [God] by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it 'jal', others at another place and call it 'pani', and still others at a third place and call it 'water'. The Hindus call it 'jal', the Christians 'water', and the Moslems 'pani'. But it is one and the same thing.” ………Ramakrishna Paramahmsa
Love to you all

Friday, February 23, 2018

Myths of Mortal Gods

"Sometimes gods die for the benefit of their people (sacrifice), in which case they're a savior. Other times the god is reborn, actually or symbolically, representing regeneration or seasonal rebirth." ……Alan Watts
In many spiritual tradition that flourished after the onset of agrarian age such as the Indus valley civilization, the Egyptian civilization or the Greek and Hebraic civilization and later the Mayan Civilization, the mythos of sacrificial God and Divine reincarnation was a common theme.
In the various avatars of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of creation, Lord Rama’s story of disappearance from earth happened when he entered voluntarily into the Sarayu River. In the Krishna Avatar he is killed by the arrow of the hunter Jara.
In the Egyptian mythology, the story of Isis, Osiris and Horus in the third century BC was typical of the theme of the virgin birth of Horus, Horus was a redeemer of health and humans in their earthly form; not of souls needing salvation from sin and eternal punishment. Horus the Child was one of a number of so-called 'child gods' of ancient Egypt who appeared in the form known as Shed (Savior) but was a savior from earthly troubles, not eternal ones. The legend of restoration of Horus from death on the intercession of Isis by Thoth is the resurrection theme seen in the Egyptian mythology.
“Examples of gods who die and later return to life are most often cited from the religions of the Ancient Near East, and traditions influenced by them including Biblical and Greco-Roman mythology and by extension Christianity. The concept of a dying-and-rising god was first proposed in comparative mythology by James Frazer's seminal “The Golden Bough”. Frazer associated the motif with fertility rites surrounding the yearly cycle of vegetation. Frazer cited the examples of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis and Attis, Dionysus and Jesus Christ.
In the study of comparative mythology, Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung point to the dying deity motif in various mythologies such as Baldr in Norse mythology to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl in Mayan mythology to the Japanese Izanami.
After having some background on this powerful mythological theme, let us examine some practical understanding of the life process from a cosmological perspective.
When we look at nature, both in our near vicinity or on a global scale, we see that birth and death are universal phenomenon. In our evolving consciousness, humans witnessed this when they moved from being hunter gatherers into settled agrarian societies. The process of growing food and replenishment of all that nourishes the individual and family as the very rudimentary requirement for survival became a vital daily function. In planting and germination of the seed, its growth and harvest as well as in nurturing domesticated animals and feedstock from birth to slaughter for meals was witnessed as purely in an objective mode. At the individual level birth and death was witnessed as something inevitable and not to be abhorred and was integral in nature with the early human’s psyche. With the onset of increased rational thinking and especially with the installation of monotheistic religion, humans were indoctrinated into believing that they have only one life and then we are faced with the uncertainty of eternal reward or damnation. This introduced and increased the fear element into the human psyche when they face death. This is because we have consigned all the deep meanings of mythological symbolisms to a story or fantasy of human imagination deprived of better occupation.
When we lift our eyes to the heavens and look at the stars and how over the ages they have evolved, we can have a more realistic process of thinking about our own existence. Let us see our own Sun. The Solar system and our own Earth is roughly 4.6 billion years old and our Milky Way galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old. This means that our Sun is a middle aged star and it has already gone through three life cycles of creation or birth as well as death. The elements in our body like calcium, Iron and Oxygen are from exploding stars or death of stars. When we eat and nourish our bodies with elements such as Calcium, Iron etc. they come from the very cycle of birth and death. It would be extremely unnatural to perpetuate life and not participate in the cosmic process of eternal revival. What I have written so far is on the physical level but then there is the underlying substratum of vibrating energy of consciousness which is the binding and nurturing force. In truth only through this substratum we receive our individual identity.
The mythology of mortal Gods should evoke our thinking to accept this cyclic process of birth and death or creation and annihilation.
In his book “The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying”  The great Tibetan Buddhist master Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
”When I first came to the west, I was shocked by the contrast between the attitudes to death I had been brought up with, and those I now I found. For all its technological development and achievements, modern western society has no real understanding of death or what happens in death and after death.
I learned that people today are taught to deny death, and taught that it means nothing but annihilation and loss. That means that most of the world lives either in denial of death or in terror of it. …”
Life is cosmic process and let us participate fully by going with the flow.


Love to you all

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mythos and Logos

Since I am teaching a course on “Science  & Theology – From Conflict to Confluence”, I thought, for the benefit of my students as well as my blog audience,  I will share two very deep insights. The first from a Nobel prize winning Physicist of the early twentieth century and the father of Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum physics, Niels Bohr and the second from the contemporary Franciscan Theologian Fr. Richards Rohr. OFM, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, promoting universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition.
"We ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far." …………., Niels Bohr “Subjective vs. Objective Reality and the Uses of Religion in a Secular World.”
“The Judeo-Christian creation story is told in the form of a cosmic poem (Genesis 1). The realm of myth, art, and poetry can heal and create coherence, connection, and deep trust for the human psyche much better than prose that “tells it like it is.” Rather than orient us toward solving a problem, symbolic language and images turn our focus toward being itself, toward meaning, purpose, and inner life forces. They evoke the depths hidden beneath the practical, self-centered ego, and speak to our personal unconscious—as good therapy does—and our collective unconscious too—as story and myth often do.
There are several levels of knowing and interpreting reality—a “hierarchy of truths,” as Pope Francis calls it.  Not all truths are of equal importance, which does not mean the lesser ones are untrue. So don’t fight useless battles against them. Something might be true, for example, on a psychological, historical, or mythological level, but not on a universal level. Fundamentalists think the historical level is the “truest” one, yet in many ways literalism is the least important meaning for the soul. Facts may be fascinating, but they seldom change our lives at any deep level. I do believe the “historical-critical” method of interpreting Scripture is a helpful frame, without which fundamentalists create a fantasy that looks a lot like their own culture and preferred class perspective.
Scholars since Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) have been making good use of a distinction between logos, or problem-solving language, and mythos. Logos language includes facts, data, evidence, and precise descriptions. Rob Bell describes how “logos language and thinking got us medicine, got us airplanes. . . . For the past three hundred years we have had an explosion of logos language. . . . But the problem is, there are whole dimensions of our existence that require a different way of thinking.”
Bell rightly says, “The Bible is mostly written in mythos language. . . . Good religion traffics in mythos. . . . Mythos language is for that which is more than literally true. . . . Evolutionary science does an excellent job of explaining why I don’t have a tail. It just doesn’t do so well explaining why I find that interesting!” We need mythos language to express the more-than-factual meaning of experiences like falling in love, grief, and death.
Good religion, art, poetry, and myth point us to the deeper levels of truth that logos can’t fully explain. Early Christians knew this; but the Western Church spent the last five centuries trying to prove that the stories in the Bible really happened just as they are described. For some Christians, it’s imperative that the world was created in six literal days, otherwise their entire belief system falls apart. Christianity came to rely heavily on technique, formula, and certitude instead of the more alluring power of story, myth, and narrative. These give room for the soul, mind, and heart to expand. Ironically, from such an open and creative stance, we can actually solve problems much more effectively.
The whole point of Scripture is the transformation of the soul. But when we stopped understanding myth, we stopped understanding how to read and learn from sacred story or Scripture. Children delight in hearing the same fantastical stories over and over again because they are open to awe, mystery, and discovery. Oh that we could all read the creation story with similar childlike wonder and open-heartedness!” ………….Fr. Richard Rohr from “Daily Meditation – Creation”
The beauty of the advancements in current sciences and new findings and hypothesis proposed in Biology, Physics and Cosmology points to a realm of pure abstraction through the use of new language of higher dimensional manifolds and mathematical concepts which are akin to the language of mythology.
Love to you all

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Humanity as Cosmic Pilgrims

In Bhagavad Gita lectures Srila Prabhupada defines the Supersoul as Adhiyajña, and the soul as Adhibhūta.
The Adhiyajna or the Logos is the perennial source from which a human being is breathed into or breathed out of a cosmic body or vesture. Each is a blessed beneficiary of the ceaseless cosmic sacrifice, from dawn to dusk, from birth to death. The meaning of sacrifice must be understood here in its proper context. The word ‘sacrifice’ comes from two Latin words meaning ‘to make holy’. Hence the material manifestation of man is made holy through the investiture of Adhibhūta. At the initiation of manvantara (the end of man) and pralaya (the cosmic dissolution), it is through gratitude and devotion to the Logos as Adhiyajna (the concept off true worship), maintained over many lifetimes and ascending through ordered levels of manifestation, that human beings fulfill the true purpose of their cosmic existence. This gradual ascent is the work of the whole of evolution, and in the end it takes the host of immortal souls to the great day of 'Be-With-Us', which is not a fixed locus or final epoch but a sublime state of spiritual consciousness or in human terms Krishna Consciousness.
In Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky puts the above concept in her own illustrious way:
“It must not be supposed that the Logos is but a single centre of energy manifested from Parabrahmam; there are innumerable other centres...and their number is almost infinite in the bosom of Parabrahmam.' Hence the expressions, 'The Day of Come to us' and 'The Day of Be with us,' etc. Just as the square is the Symbol of the Four sacred Forces or Powers – Tetraktis – so the Circle shows the boundary within the Infinity that no man can cross, even in spirit, nor Deva nor Dhyan Chohan. The Spirits of those who 'descend and ascend' during the course of cyclic evolution shall cross the 'iron-bound world' only on the day of their approach to the threshold of Paranirvana.” …..............Secret Doctrine i 134
For the information of Christian believers, this resonates with the evolutionary trajectory proposed by Teilhard de Chardin as the Omega Point culminating in the Divine Logos. Teilhard argued that the Omega Point resembles the Christian Logos, namely Christ, who draws all things into himself, who in the words of the Nicene Creed, is "God from God," "Light from Light," "True God from true God," and "through him all things were made." In the Book of Revelation, Christ describes himself thrice as "the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." The Divine manifestation in the human nature of Krishna or Jesus must be referred as Krishna consciousness or Christ consciousness (Teilhard called this as Cosmic Christ). We dilute and distort this beautiful and spiritually empowering concept when we assign only the historical and physical dimension of a Divine manifestation.
In his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy “ Pope Benedict XVI, wrote:
“And so we can now say that the goal of worship and the goal of creation as a whole are one and the same—divinization, a world of freedom and love. But this means that the historical makes its appearance in the cosmic. The cosmos is not a kind of closed building, a stationary container in which history may by chance take place. It is itself movement, from its one beginning to its one end. In a sense, creation is history. Against the background of the modern evolutionary world view, Teilhard de Chardin depicted the cosmos as a process of ascent, a series of unions. From very simple beginnings the path leads to ever greater and more complex unities, in which multiplicity is not abolished but merged into a growing synthesis, leading to the “Noosphere”, in which spirit and its understanding embrace the whole and are blended into a kind of living organism. Invoking the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, Teilhard looks on Christ as the energy that strives toward the Noosphere and finally incorporates everything in its “fullness’. From here Teilhard went on to give a new meaning to Christian worship: the transubstantiated Host is the anticipation of the transformation and divinization of matter in the christological “fullness”. In his view, the Eucharist provides the movement of the cosmos with its direction; it anticipates its goal and at the same time urges it on.” (emphasis added by the book’s author)
Let every moment of our lives, which is a Divine gift for restoration of our true Divine nature, be spent in constant endeavor towards a sacrificial worship, making holy, through every thought, word and deed.

Love to you all

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Divine Dancer

"The mask, the costume, and the living of the role through to the end: by this device man detached himself from his personal pains and joys—just as a dancer does in a dance. Human life was literally sublimated, and man's body became, as it were, the vehicle of a god; that is to say, a symbol of the play of eternity in time." ………The Ecstasy of Being, Joseph Campbell
Only a person who could feel the emotions induced by mythology  deeply within himself could write these beautiful words.
This also resonates with what William Shakespeare spoke through the mouth of Jaques in “As You Like It”:
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”
It is Joseph Campbell who identified that In narratology and comparative mythology, the monomyth, or the hero's journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. a framework for all the life journeys of heroes in mythological stories.
Our life purpose is this adventure. We come to be victorious and to be transformed to return to our home.
Each one of us in this world are in a monomyth in our spiritual journey. The physical body is only a vehicle. This theme is common in many spiritual traditions.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the chariot as the body, the horses as the senses and the Divine charioteer clearly symbolizes the Divine instructions and guidance we receive in our physical and spiritual life through the path of Bhakti, Karma and Jnana to return to the Godhead.
The Merkabah mysticism of the Jewish mystic tradition signifies the vision of Ezekiel where he witnesses the glory of God carried in a chariot by four angels, four beings, four faces and driven on four wheels all signifying the four dimensional existence of the vehicle which is the manifest image of God. The image of the ‘Seraphim’, the angels that are in the images of flashing fire ascending and descending signifies the life force in the body of creation. The chariot itself is driven by the ‘likeness of man’ sitting of jeweled throne, signifying God as the prime mover.
Like the vision of Ezekiel, the duration of the human life is but brief. We do not see with the wisdom of Ezekiel the true revelation of life but get rooted in the outward sensory perceptions which reside in surface realities. As Campbell says; we devote our attention to the mask, the costume and the role that we take on that dominates our life. We do not pay attention to the inner self which is playing the role.
I have had the personal experience of how impressionist we can become. Once I was travelling on a flight from Chennai to Tiruchirappalli, which is a very short journey of forty minutes. One of the greatest film actor of the time, Sivaji Ganesan, was sitting in the front row. The plane, being a turboprop, had only about twenty rows of seat. Being a very illustrious actor many people struck up a conversation with him. I was amazed how his normal conversation was almost fully theatrical. I think this is what acting various roles for over 300 films can do to you. Imagine the roles we play every moment of our lives.
We forget who we are in reality and what is our origin and what is our destination. To illustrate this let me close this article with the quote from the sixth chapter of one of earliest Assyrian myths; “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. This chapter is aptly named “The Return”
“Utnapishtim said, ‘As for you, Gilgamesh, who will assemble the gods for your sake, so that you may find that life for which you are searching? But if you wish, come and put into the test: only prevail against sleep for six days and seven nights.' But while Gilgamesh sat there resting on his haunches, a mist of sleep like soft wool teased from the fleece drifted over him, and Utnapishtim said to his wife, ‘Look at him now, the strong man who would have everlasting life, even now the mists of sleep are drifting over him.' His wife replied, ‘Touch the man to wake him, so that he may return to his own land in peace, going back through the gate by which he came.' Utnapishtim said to his wife, ‘All men are deceivers, even you he will attempt to deceive; therefore bake loaves of bread, each day one loaf, and put it beside his head; and make a mark on the wall to number the days he has slept.'”
Utnapishtim is the man of wisdom and his wife symbolizes the prompter, our inner voice and she says: “…………., Touch the man to wake him, so that he may return to his own land in peace, going back through the gate by which he came.”
The gate through which we come is the entrance to our physical realm and our true waking up is the return to the land from where we came.

Love to you all