Monday, January 15, 2018

Metaphor of the Promised Land

Today the whole of America celebrates the “Martin Luther King” day.
 “And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out, or what would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers.
Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life–longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man.” ………..Martin Luther King, a few days before he was martyred
Promised land is a metaphor for ecstatic spiritual experience.
Ecstasy comes from the Greek word ‘Ekstasis’ which means to "to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere". Let me digress a little here into Existential Philosophy where the sum total of one’s consciousness is the result of the exterior world through one’s senses and hence we always stand outside of ourselves. This then provides us with a situation where in to stand outside of oneself means outside of one’s objectively modulated consciousness. This is in contrast to the term ‘enstasis’ which means from "standing-within-oneself" which relates to contemplation from the perspective of a speculator. This therefore means that in ecstasy  one has to undertake a subjective experiential journey away from our usual psychic space. There is a double negation from a logical perspective. Hence we may conclude that in ecstasy, the removal to elsewhere, one has to move away from dualities.
This ‘elsewhere’ is the promised land. In our lives we are given glimpses of the promised land from time to time from mountain tops of spiritual experience. We ignore these wonderful moments thinking that the promised land lies in the future, in some heavenly reward.
When we read the Bible, we always attach the metaphorical reference to God’s promise of the promised land to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses and the children of Israel to a geographical location. But this level of thinking comes from a low level of spiritual consciousness. If we examine the situation at various context we can see that Abraham, who was son of an idol maker, is taken to new land which is symbolic of new level of spiritual consciousness. When Abraham sets out from the land where he lived, the land was struck with severe famine, this is spiritual starvation, and he moves to the land of Egypt, which is a symbol of spiritual wisdom and abundance.
Why I make this claim is that the great depth psychologist, Carl Jung, assigns Egypt as the place of spiritual wisdom. In his book “The Seven Sermons to the Dead”, which is he writes in the name of Basilidas of Alexandria, he says,; Alexandria is the city where the East meets the west”. His very first lines of the first sermon says:
“The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought. They prayed me (Basilidas) let them in and besought my word, and thus I began my teaching.”
Jerusalem was notorious for a place desired by the worldly powers and has a materialistic significance.
The vision of the promised land is always from the mountain top, signifying a very level of spiritual consciousness. Moses was shown the promised land from Mount Nebo before he died.
It is apt for Jesus to manifest his Divine consciousness, through transfiguration, on mount Tabor.
Martin Luther King says: “………... I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”
In everyone’s life we are shown the promised land. The experiences we have when we touch someone’s inner wellbeing, when we experience love and compassion, when we bestow an act of kindness without any expectations or when we behold the creation of the Divine on a clear dark night with millions of stars and the Milky Way arching on the vault of the sky, these are the glimpses of the Promised Land.
Fr. Richard Rohr, a great contemporary Franciscan theologian says:
“Even Pope John Paul II said at a Vatican conference on June 28, 1999 that heaven and hell were primarily eternal states of consciousness more than geographical places of later reward and punishment. We seem to be our own worst enemies, and we forget or deny things that are just too good to be true.”
Let enjoy heaven on earth like Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela and many other souls who had the vision of the promised land during their lives.
Love to you all.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Esoteric significance of “Rāsa Līla”

(Lord Krishna’s blissful dance with the 10 Gopīs)
“Go” (cow) in Sanskrit also stands for the 10 senses.
Gopīs refer to the devotional inclinations of the mind (citta-vtti in Yoga) that control, guard, protect, nourish and herd our senses. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord of the senses (Hṛṣikeśa).
Rādhā Rāni (personified love and devotion) and her 9 attendants direct all our 10 senses away from the impermanent world towards the Lord of the Senses, the only Eternal Blissful One. When every sense is directed towards the Lord, who is the supreme abode of ultimate bliss, “rasa” (nectar of bliss) starts to flow from our heart into our life. This is the esoteric significance of Rāsa Līla (the Divine Play). This divine play is being played in everybody’s heart (vaikuntha), but only the devotees can partake in the bliss after becoming aware of it.” ………….The Great Upanishads - FB
Citta-vtti occurs in the very beginning  of Patañjali's  Yoga Sutra. This stanza says: “Yoga citta-vtti nirodhah” which means the essence of Ashtanga Yoga is the removal of the modification of consciousness. The method is defined through the eight limbed path in the Yoga Sutra of Patañjali. In the above passage the very attributes that are needed to modify the mind or consciousness is illustrated through a symbolism of the “Rāsa Līla”. Lord Krishna is seen dancing simultaneously with Radha as well as with all the nine Gopīs. This is because Radha and the Gopīs are an integral part but different dimensions of the very nature of the Divine. The symbolism of these attributes is explained below.
Rādhā, is the personification of devotion and worship which signifies a deep personal bond between the creator and the manifested. This is the reason that she is the primary escort of the Lord and dances in the very centre of the manifestation of consciousness in the created world. This also denotes the all-pervasive nature of the Divine consciousness as an integral part of the manifested consciousness.
Gopālī  is the personification of the authentic nourisher of the senses. In this world, we are constantly nourished and fed by maya or illusion through various perceptions which are rooted in purely the external objective attributes of a deeper consciousness. If we remain rooted at this level we are not in a position to appreciate the holistic and interconnected and integral nature of every objective manifestation.
Pālikā is the guardian, protector, nourisher and signifies the constant vigil and protection that is needed to lead us into the deeper nature of the manifest world to seek the Divine union.
Dhanyā is the personification of the blessed one who has been bestowed with Divine Grace or wisdom. To ascend from the Muladhara or the earthly domain to the Sahasrara or the cosmic domain, not only our personal effort of elevating our consciousness through sadhana or spiritual exercises is needed but the assistance of the Divine in drawing up our intention into its own bosom is very much needed.
Viśākhā is the symbolism of a branchless, singular and focused attribute. It is the laser sharp intensity that penetrates the thick koshas or covering in which the supreme consciousness lies buried within us.
Dhaniṣṭhikā is the symbolism of spiritual wealth which is acquired through various spiritual exercises and constant practice of any form of Yoga, namely; Bhakti, Karma, Jnana or Raja Yoga.
Anurādhā  symbolizes the one that follows in worship. This is the qualification which opens up the path which lies hidden to the lower levels of consciousness.
Somā  is the attribute of the reflected radiance, soothing like the moon light. This is the first stage of the living a Divine presence in one self. As the moon, which though in direct contact with the Sun, provides the soothing light to lovers in the world, when one reflects the Divine presence he or she becomes an instrument of bond of all creation to the Divine.
Ābhā is the personification of a spiritual adept who has gained the radiance to illuminate the spiritual path which leads to the portal of eternal bliss and
Tārakā is the one that leads to the other side of the river. She symbolizes the boatman of Siddhartha who tells him:
"The river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth...in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere, and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future...Siddhartha the boy, Siddhartha the mature man and Siddhartha the old man [are] only separated by shadows, not through reality...Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence." …………Hermann Hesse in “Siddhartha”, Chapter 9.
Let this beautiful symbolism lead us to deeply understand the impermanence of the world and our own eternal nature.

Love to you all