Selections from the Upanishads

He knew that Brahman is bliss. For truly, beings here are born from bliss. When born, they live by bliss. And into bliss when departing, they enter.

-- Taittiriya Upanishad 3.6.1

The face of truth is covered with a golden disc. Unveil it, O Pushan, so that I, who love the truth, may see it.
O Pushan, the sole seer, O Controller, O Sun, off-spring of Prajapati, spread forth your rays & gather up your radiant light that I may behold you of loveliest form. Whosoever is that person (yonder) that also am I.

-- Isha Upanishad 15-16

I have overcome the whole world. I am brilliant like the Sun.
He who knows this, knows the secret wisdom.

-- Taittiriya Upanishad 3.10.5

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today's notes on a philosophy of love

One fundamental truth about the whole idea of LOVE is that it is totally devoid of FORCE.

Love is the summit of the perfection of the Freedom of Consciousness.

Force, obviously, means more than just violence, i.e. actually physically hurting or depriving another individual. It would also include any form of influence exerted on another individual in violation of his volitional perception & affirmation of reality. For e.g., mind-conditioning, misleading people by spreading half-truths, or misrepresenting facts, or using cunning, apparently convincing but fundamentally false definitions of concepts. It is in this WIDEST sense that I use the term "force". Force fundamentally is a CONSCIOUS or DELIBERATE DISSOCIATION of reality/truth, from an individual's perception of it.

Love, as Jesus meant it, not only frees the individual from the effects of coercion exerted, or mind-manipulation, by others, -- but also the need to coerce or manipulate others.

Love simply cannot be forced: one cannot force oneself, or another, to love. Anything. Whether an idea, a work of art, a flower, a cathedral, a woman, one's own life, one's own self, humanity. It has to come on its own, and is perfect only when a man is fully focused on reality. That is, when a man is fully convinced within himself of the value of the object loved, & of the depth & truth of his own affirmation.

This is why, Love - & all that it entails - CANNOT be legislated, or turned into a Law: BECAUSE LAW IS COERCION, or FORCE, & is based on FEAR - and this is the whole secret of the difference between the vision of Jesus (& all those sages before & after him who upheld Love) - and of the Old Testament Prophets. That is why, Jesus's philosophy logically leads to annihilation of the State, of the Judiciary, of armies & tax-collectors, of priests & bureaucrats. In other words, to a form of "Anarchism". (There are several dubious passages in the New Testament, which makes a selective choice of words & incidents somewhat unconvincing, & a consistent interpretation of the Jesus' philosophy difficult. That's why some people focus exclusively on the Gospel (since certain verses attributed to Paul affirm loyalty to the reigning authority), and some others like Tolstoy focus on the Sermon on the Mount (not that Tolstoy rejects the rest of the NT). For one, I don't affirm a thing simply because words to that effect have been put into the mouths of Jesus & Paul, but what is consistent with logic, with my conscience, & what I understand. I take whatever is truest to the entire spirit of their vision. I am aware that the words of both Jesus & Paul have been tampered with, seriously, to suit the temporal ambitions of the Roman Catholic Church. Many difficulties of interpretation are solved by an ESOTERIC explanation which is not only convincing, but also proper. The incident of throwing the money-lenders out of the Temple, is explained symbolically. But then it becomes difficult to separate incidents which have to taken literally, from those which are to be taken symbolically. It is not news that the New Testament neither consistently nor wholly represents either Jesus or Paul, either Peter or John. One more way of looking at it is to take the most consistent view, & reject those which obviously jar or contradict the general drift of the entire text. Yet another way is to see those portions which exhort the Christians to respect the Roman authority, as intended to make them desist from revolutionary activity. A philosophy of love & forgiveness & spiritual perfection logically REJECTS ALL subversive political activity. If anything, it overally fits in with the rest of Jesus' spiritual vision. In any case, the Christians did NOT compromise their sacred values when it came to the Roman authority, & were persecuted for it.)

It is Jesus' philosophy of Love which totally rejects any form of organized, legalized altruism & collectivism. (I must emphasize that Jesus was NOT the first or last to recognize or glorify this vision. He was one of its greatest exponents, & I also mention him as a symbol of that small group of sages who saw & lived for the truth, across the span of millennia). This is one of the fundamental differences between Christianity & ALL pretentious, false systems which are purportedly based on "love" for humanity, like Socialism. (The innermost difference being the very concept & source of this Love. In Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, or other mystical streams, Love is rooted in, & affirms - God, the Eternal Self, Life Everlasting. Whenever I use the word "Love", I mean it in THIS sense: a spiritual, moral, & psychological state of being, which is based on a grasp of one's fundamental immortality & infinity, of Atma-Brahma; characterized by an ever-growing fearlessness, serenity, & tender affection for All; a constantly deepening sensitivity & receptivity to the universe around us, & a powerful & profound empathy. Logically, the individual personality built on THIS affirmation, is radically different from one built on "rationality" - i.e. rejection of the Eternal, Infinite Self. The demands of such a vision are different; the whole life of an individual changes, takes a different form.)

Indeed, CHRISTIANITY EXPLICITLY REJECTS THE IMMOLATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOR THE WELFARE OF THE COMMUNITY (PARTICULARLY BY AN EXTERNAL AUTHRORITY): "Then the chief priests & the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs."If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place & nation." And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish." (John 11:47-50)

It needn't be "proven" that Caiaphas is not the Christian ideal.

When I mentioned in my earlier post, that one has to give up the ideal for living for the welfare of others, I meant it in a very specific sense. Socrates was murdered for the "welfare" of the group i.e., the morals of the Athenians (he was accused of corrupting the youth, & of atheism!) Jesus Christ was murdered, for the "welfare" of others - i.e. the group, the collective, the Jewish nation, etc etc. Paul was beheaded by the Romans, for the "welfare" of others: Christianity was seen as a threat to the Roman Empire. The men who sought to liberate the human mind from the clutches of the Medieval Church were burnt at the stake, for the welfare of Christendom (they were seen as potential causes for the perversion of mankind, leaders of chaos & disorder, controlled & ordered by the Church). The Socialists & Communists were hellbent on murdering & looting hundreds of thousands of people, for the welfare of the Proletariate. (In consequence of achieving the same imaginary "welfare of the people" they killed millions of other people, not just the capitalists). The men who began the French Revolution for "liberty, equality & fraternity" - & for the "emancipation" of mankind from the tyranny of monarchism, a decadent nobility & aristocracy - were murdered by other Revolutionaries - in the name of liberty, equality & fraternity - which Revolutionaries in turn were murdered by yet other Revolutionaries in the name of liberty, equality, & fraternity.

In other words, the greatest individuals in the history of mankind have been "sacrificed" - the correct word is: DESTROYED - on the altar of "the welfare of humanity" - the group, the collective, the race, God, the poor, the State, the Nation etc etc.

I shall build on this point later, much more elaborately, but I think I've given a sufficient indication. I never meant INDIFFERENCE or CALLOUSNESS. I do not reject self-sacrifice or charity either. Far from being "marginal", Charity is a cardinal virtue, & it's not an accident that in the Bible, the words "Charity" & "Love" are interchangable. But all of this has to be done by the individual perfectly freely -- without coercion or guilt or regret, or the slightest unwillingness -- or for a special seat in the gallery of paradise. I have come to realize that most forms of social activism - with all their posturing of humanitarianism, "love, peace, & harmony" & "ahimsa" (this is NOT an indirect allusion to Gandhi) - are all insidious, fraudulent activities, built on mind-conditioning, & almost always with ulterior political motives, ultimately initiated, controlled & funded by big business. It is difficult to separate the sincere (though mistaken) people from the frauds, but overally, I personally REJECT ANY form of social activism which, taking its support & power in Law, does NOT focus on the welfare of HUMAN BEINGS. Human Rights obviously is a very crucial concept, & many causes in this respect are valid, & worthy of affirmation, but it is an open fact how miserably & shamelessly this concept has been used to destroy whole nations, and peoples.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guides for further thought - incomplete notes on the purpose & meaning of life

All Life is a movement towards the establishment of a deeper & vaster relationship with existence.
It would not be wholly correct to say that it is a process of expansion of SELF-knowledge.
Greater & greater knowledge of Self, and of the Universe, are inseparably one - and both impel & feed each other.
The END is the source & cause of the BEGINNING: this is a very, very important truth.
In that sense, the End is the Beginning, and the Beginning is the End.
"Progress" as I understand is, is the movement towards comprehension & realization of the ULTIMATE relationship between Man & Existence.
In this ultimate relationship consists the Joy of life, and to the extent we have realized it, we are truly joyous.
The rationalist says: Life is an end in itself.
This is a sweet-sounding, convinient escape-route, an evasion of the question: WHY must a man live? WHAT must man live for?
He approaches an answer when he says that there are moments in a man's life when men is cognizant of the truth that: Yes! This is life, and this is worth living for!
And yet, the rationalist has not answered the question.
He never seeks to elucidate the inner law of life, in all its complexity, its multi-pronged but integrated march towards a specific goal.
He finally seals the question when he says: Life's meaning is the meaning that YOU - the individual - give it.
This may be true from a specific individual's point of view, seen within a small bracket of the limited time-space he occupies.
The truth is that Life DOES have a meaning quite apart from what meaning specific men want to give THEIR specific, individual lives.
Life has its Truth & inner law independent of a specific person's conscious perception & comprehension of it.
Man's life has meaning independent of a specific person's interpretation & effort: a universal meaning which every individual must grasp & strive to establish.
The process of history has been, perhaps, a struggle to grasp what precisely this law & meaning is, and since life & human nature are so complex, it has taken thousands of years, and may take thousands of years more to actually establish the 'Kingdom of God' on this earth.

Whatever might be the details of the ultimate truth, the fact is that no philosophy of life is relevant if it is not a philosophy to be grasped, practised, & realized in this life, here & now, on this earth.
I do not necessarily mean all the externals of civilization, or joys of the body - (because, immediately it is understood that "the joy of the earth" means money & sex) - but in a broader context, not for any dimension beyond our existence as human beings.
It is possible that the ultimate truth of life here & now does NOT involve sex & art & culture: it may be something else.
Men cling to these phenomena & conceptions so militantly, because they cannot concieve of life without them, not bothering to grasp that YES, life is a big zero without these aspects, WHEN IT HAS NOT GAINED A NEW, DIFFERENT TRUTH.
If some great blazing-eyed sage wandering on unknown mountain peaks asks men to abandon sex & money & foolish, frivolous art & culture (think of the Dadaists, the Absurdists, of painting without form or pattern, music without sound & harmony, novels without events! etc.) - he does not ask men to renounce all this & sit tight & do nothing else & seek nothing else. He offers a totally different vision of life - a whole new set of activities, values, practices, disciplines, joys, achievements. A new alternative.
We, sitting inside our cubicles, don't understand because we keep seeing HIS life from OUR perspective, without quite changing it.
The rationalists' paymasters are bone-scared of THIS, and spread the propaganda that this kind of life is impossible & useless - and actually create this universal misunderstanding by creating a life, with all its fascinating & bogus glamor & glitter - in which men enslave themselves, and laugh at renunciation & mysticism.
(This does not mean that the rationalists all speak lies & there's nothing to be learnt from them; they do make many crucial, relevant points, & their philosophy contains a large degree of truth. Also, it would be totally untrue to say that all of them affirm what they do without truth & depth of conviction. They can be very profound, & infact most of them are very sincere.)

So the question arises: What must men live for?
What is the deeper essence of all movement in life? What is the direction life fundamentally takes?
Life being a process of widening, deepening, & extending our relationship with existence - it is a process of erasing all separativeness & conflict between the Unit & the Whole.
A relationship implies two distinct entities with two distinct natures.
It implies that the relationship exists at a certain level, it has its own law & its own process.
(There can be various levels, or contexts, each with its own law & process. For e.g., between two individuals there is a physical context, an intellectual context, a social context, etc.)
It implies that both entities have an ideal condition of being, which both strive to achieve.
An ideal condition of being (in the context of the relationship between these two entities) is one in which both are at LEAST conflict with one another, i.e. are in perfect at-one-ment.
It implies that the distinctness or separativeness necessarily leads to conflict - hence, the ideal condition of being has to be achieved following a particular path - in which their individuality is maintained, and yet, perfect harmony between the two is attained.
It implies that the relationship between the two entities contains the law of the process of adjustment, of obliterating any conflict between the two entities, & achievement of perfect harmony.
In other words, all of life is a movement towards greater harmony or oneness with Existence, WHILE MAINTAINING THE PERFECT INDIVIDUALITY OF THE ENTITIES INVOLVED.
The active entity in this case is man.
It also must be understood that this Whole is NOT a social, cultural, political or even an ideological whole, but a METAPHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL Whole: the ALL of Existence - its entirety.
The interpretations that the Whole manifests itself in "society", the "collective", & the "State" are all MIS-interpretations, designed for ulterior political & economic motives.

And thus, the perfect relationship - the fundamental & ultimate TRUTH - of Man & Existence is when BOTH ARE DISTINCT FROM ONE ANOTHER, AND YET, PERFECTLY ONE, i.e., in perfect harmony with each other.
This has to be understood properly: the UNITY has its own definite, unique CONTEXT, because a thing cannot be something else in ANY FINITE context (i.e. except the context which subsumes ALL possible finite, measurable, sensorily-perceptible contexts).
The Man remains distinct from the Universe as such, physically & sensorily: and that's why, he remains a specific entity occupying limited, specific time & space.
The unity is an inner unity - and exists in the spiritual, metaphysical dimension: the dimension of Spirit, of Atma-Brahma.
This is the ONLY POSSIBLE context in which a Man is both Man the Finite Individual occupying limited, definite time & space, and the Universe transcending all time & space.
Man's body does not become Existence's "body" - which is impossible.
I am not in a position to say if the Universe has a Mind & a Life: there is no reason to think it doesn't - and little to base an affirmation that it does.
But considering, for the meanwhile, that the dimension corresponding to the MIND in man, is LAW in the universe, there MAY NOT be perfect oneness between the two: a man who has attained perfect SPIRITUAL oneness with the universe may not be OMNISCIENT - may not be aware of the structure of atoms & behavior of sub-atomic particles.
So, a mental or rational unity is not the point, and perhaps is not possible. (I'm sure of the former, not of the latter).
And so, Man's MIND does not BECOME the Mind of Existence, or the Mind of God.
The IDENTITY is in context of Brahman - Tao - Dharmakaya - Ayin-Soph - the root, essence, & BASE of ALL of existence - it is in the context of God.
This, I think, tackles the question of "A is A".
Man remains a specific unit in time & space, with his own thoughts & mental, vital, emotional & physical processes: distinct from the univese: a unique entity in his own respect.
Both pursue their own laws & processes independently of each other.
And yet, he has achieved what's called AT-ONE-MENT.
Strictly speaking, Man does NOT "BECOME" the All: he GRASPS THE TRUTH that he fundamentally - i.e., essentially, in spiritual & metaphysical terms - IS One with the Totality. He always was, and always will be.
It is when Man comes to THIS realization, that he is in perfect harmony with Existence - and with every aspect, element, & particle of it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Is it possible?


Life, from Death

Love, from Hatred

Bliss, from Sorrow

Fearlessness, from Contempt or Hatred

Contemplativeness, from Inactivity

Justice, from External Authority

Mercy, from Indifference (to vice, to the Sin)

Judgment, from Indictment

Non-violence, from Cowardice or Helplessness

Renunciation, from Disillusionment, or sense of one's ineffectualness or failure

Charity, from Expectation (of gratitude)

Punishment, from Injury & the Desire to hurt, or Vindictiveness

Conflict-resolution, from Force or Coercion

Criticism, from Sarcasm & Abuse, or Denigration

Pride, from arrogance, & depreciation of those lesser abled or endowed

Mystery, from Superstition & Fear

Humbleness, from a lack of self-respect, or courage

Boldness, from Brazenness or Impudence

Courage, from Recklessness (or Foolishness)

Confidence, from Egotism & Rudeness

Advising, from Imposition

Helping, from making another dependent on oneself (or anyone/anything else)

Pity, from disrespect for the other person

Sacrifice, from lack of Conviction & Cheerfulness

Martyrdom, from Sense of injury, & hatred, & fury

Suffering, from Complaint & Resentment

Disagreement, from Abusiveness or Denigration

Intuitiveness, from Irrationality

Self-control, from Self-denial

Simplicity, from Poverty

And you get the Ideal.

Is this IMPOSSIBLE? I don't know for sure, but I think THIS is what all serious thought leads to, in the ultimate analysis.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fan Kuan's masterpiece

Only an object of sublimity
Can stir the deepest depths within man's soul;
In narrow confines men grow narrow,
But greater when their goals are higher set.
-- Friedrich Schiller, Prologue to Wallenstein (1799)

Chinese monumental landscape painter Fan Kuan's "Travelers amid Mountains and Streams", one of the most magnificent depictions of the grandeur of Nature. One of the greatest works of art to come out of China, and the prime example of Taoist art. Typically, the interpretation is on the bigness of Nature compared to the smallness of man, given the diminutive figures of men & animals at the bottom right corner of the painting. I think a little differently. I'd rather suppose we, with our highly limited dreams, in our actual physical smallness, are being called on to look at a vision of greatness which we are compelled to grasp, aspire to, and attain. Hindu philosophy says: Praano Viraat: Life is Immense. God, the Light & the Life of All, is Immense. Man is fundamentally & ultimately Immense. He has to KNOW that he IS Immense. For me, this painting is a depiction of man's intuitive grasp of the presence of God in Nature. Because it is a projection of IMMENSITY: of the unshakable & enduring - the mountain being a symbol not only of spiritual ascension & height, but also of permanence, magnificence, and eternality. It is in such aspects of the universe, as projected in this painting, that man grasps - at once, immediately & directly within himself - the Call to Union with the Immense. He kneels in reverence at the glory of Creation - not to acknowledge his smallness as the final word on himself - but in his longing & love for greatness, which indicates HIS greatness - and grasps that it is not an impersonal world of abstractions & indifferent laws, but an intensely PERSONAL universe where our soul truly belongs - that Existence itself is a Revelation. And that we see the meaning of our lives with luminous clarity only when we realise that Nature's message is the call to revere & to love - to adore the pinnacles of possibilities, to rise, to EXPAND - & to grasp the "greater than the great" - the Creator behind the Creation. Beauty & magnificence exist - in Nature - as depicted in this painting - and that they exist takes man to the heart of the secret of existence, of life, of Self. In his adoration of immensity, lies the secret of his own (spiritual) immensity. Herein lies the source of the impulsion to seek & get, the catalyst, the fuel, a symbol of the ultimate. This painting gives an immediate vision of the Immensity of Creation, & hence, of the Creator - of God - and through our rapturous adoration of this Immensity, an insight into our own spiritual grandeur. Symbolically, it gives a direct glimpse of all that we seek to be - all that we aspire for - & evokes a forceful longing to attain it.

(This painting was obtained from Wikimedia Commons. I have altered the original slightly, by increasing the brightness & contrast.)

Monday, September 1, 2008


I have read only a small fragment of the enormous corpus of Sri Aurobindo. It may not be more than 2-3% of the total output of this mind-bogglingly prolific genius & intellectual polymath, and yet, I've been overwhelmed by this towering personality. I can't say whether I agree with him on every point or not. Indeed, I cannot say this of ANYBODY. Strictly speaking, I represent MYSELF ONLY; neither any other individual, nor any other group. But I've been deeply influenced, and I adore, great men - heroes - like Aurobindo Ghosh, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo, Mahatma Gandhi, Madam Blavatsky, Rabindranath Tagore, & S. Radhakrishnan.

The greatest achievement of Aurobindo, or perhaps the most unique one, is the boundless GRANDEUR with which he invested ancient Hindu philosophy. The modern interpretations of Vedic-Vedantic wisdom tend to be somewhat apologetic, keeping in view the Titanic advances of western science & technology; and the focus on life's suffering, and the projection of Indian philosophy almost as a sort of ESCAPISM, is not uncommon. Many people still think that one should adopt the path of an Indian Rishi only when one is fed-up with life, or when one has piled up immense suffering through IRRATIONAL behavior (such as unbridled hedonism, or being whimsical & "non-objective" in one's decisions). The truth is this: Hindu philosophy focuses on Man's quest for GREATNESS, for PERFECT BLISS, Supreme Bliss: Ananda. Sri Aurobindo recognized THIS, and built his personal perspective on perennial wisdom not as a form of escapism, not as a route to avoid suffering, not even as the only way out from the (social, political etc.) problems afflicting the life of the individual or any larger group, -- but as a quest for the ultimate truth -- as a search for IMMEASURABLE grandeur -- as a search for SPIRITUAL GREATNESS. Not a negative, but an emphatically positive quest. Herein lies the fascination & power to draw, in everything written by him. There is no sense of self-defense, or apology, in his magnificent glorification of a magnificent philosophy. There's no meekness, or sense of one's insignificance or smallness or corruption. I've already noted that SELF-EXPANSION is at the root of mystical philosophy. Man constantly seeks to grow bigger than what he already is; he ceaselessly seeks to outgrow himself. ALL OF LIFE IS A MOVEMENT TOWARDS A WIDER, LARGER, DEEPER IDENTITY - A GREATER CONCEPTION OF SELF - and establishment of a broader & profounder relationship with existence. Religion in its truest sense, goes to the very Source, Root, and Finality of this quest. It takes man to the LARGEST identity possible to man: and, unlike non-mystical philosophies, affirms a certain, final, an ultimate achievement which encompasses, transcends, & surpasses ALL possible, concievable achievements, & conceptions of Self. Joy is in Self-enlargement. Man has found himself more true & has felt a deeper reflection of his own identity in the grandeur of the Konark Temple, or of Notre Dame de Rheims, rather than in a hut or hovel: because the temple soaring to the skies possesses a vibrant, radiant sense of immortality & imperishability, of ascent to greater heights, endurance in the face of vagaries & attacks of time & hence, of immutability, of grandeur - than a hovel or shack. Vedantic philosophy takes us to the very essence & pinnacle of THIS restless quest for immortality, infinity, immutability - which underlies all our aspirations & ambitions - for self-expansion - for IMMENSITY - through a radical transformation of consciousness. When can Man have greater love for the Universe, than when he grasps the TRUTH, that HE IS the Universe? Can man go further than grasping with his whole being: "I am the one Being's sole immobile bliss / No one am I, I am all that is"? And yet, this is the gift of Sri Aurobindo to mankind, that one wonderful statement which reveals the glory & ecstasy of Union with God. The recognition, elucidation, & glorification of mysticism focusing on THIS aspect of spirituality, is Aurobindo's unique achievement.

His emphasis is the achievement of spiritual power - the attainment of the largest & widest & deepest - and a dismissal of any lesser goal, or imperfect bliss, - which satisfies almost all of common humanity. The vicious attacks on Hindu philosophy, made by many modern so-called rationalists, that Hinduism (& Oriential mysticism in general) is based on abject fear & bewilderment, vanish when one confronts the enormous power of Aurobindo's vision. Is there fear, underconfidence, & shamefulness in a man who proudly sings: "I am a cup of His felicities / A thunderblast of His golden ecstasy's height / I am His rapture's wonderful abyss" or, "The spirit's infinite breath I feel in me / My life is a throb of Thy eternity"? Where is there fear in the soul which challenged the great inexorable sea: "Yes, thou great sea / I am more mighty & outbillow thee. / On thy tops I rise; / 'Tis an excuse to dally with the skies"? This is the voice that thunders out to people: Wake up! What are you doing, meddling with petty, silly pleasures - and half-baked, miserable little child's games? Look! Eternity waits for union with you, and Immortality seeks your recognition! You think you shall pass away, you live in constant fear of defeat & decay & death, you think you are that which is subject to ruthless time & natural law, but I say to you: Tat Tvam Asi - YOU ARE THAT - the Immortal, the One, the Infinite - the God whom you worship, and tremble before, and seek to placate in your ignorance, and cow & grovel before - SEE who He really is - and realize that YOU ARE HE!

Aurobindo's philosophy is not one of the futility of existence - of fatigue of the non-mystical life - but a confident, truthful seeing of life on this earth as the most wonderful gift to realize the Divine; that it is the mind which takes us beyond the Mind; it is recognition of that supreme truth which all the rationalists hide from men: through the exercise of the conceptual faculty, & reason, men CANNOT grasp the TOTALITY OF THE TOTAL - the TOTAL in & as ONE - BUT, IT CAN BE DONE. The immortality & the infinity which are incomprehensible abstractions for the rationalist, CAN DEFINITELY BE ATTAINED BY MAN. There is no "ultimate" for the rationalist - he cannot concieve it because he is trapped in a realm of fragments & parts and can't concieve of the WHOLE - he asks, bewildered: What do you mean by "Knowing the All?" - and he passes off his own incapability to form an idea of it, to simple people who can't envision it for themselves. On reading Aurobindo, one feels something akin to pity for the men who deride & reject Brahman; one feels: how small these men are! No, I do not recommend such an emotion, nor is it true to the spirit of God-realization; but I speak from THEIR point of view, the ones who live their life in contempt & judgmentality.

Aurobindo is a hero, and is a hero-worshipper. His whole thrust was the HEROISM & SPLENDOR IN MAN'S QUEST FOR GOD. The greatness & significance of his poetry lies in the SPIRIT of supreme confidence & solemn joyousness they exude - in the sheer psychological power in which they have their source - and the great promise they hold out to man: you are not a passing, ephemeral phenomenon, a mere speck in the measurelessness of time & space: but you can transcend change & decay - time & space itself. The promise of psychological fearlessness & expansiveness. Their significance as works of art lies in their power to evoke the primal desire in Man to seek the Ultimate - in projecting the psychological & emotional experience of God-realization as something we all seek & yearn for - in a forceful revealing that Brahmic-consciousness is something of unsurpassable value, as a culimination of all our efforts to seek joy, as something worthy to be fought for & striven for with all the strength of our being. I have neither read all his books, nor am I associated with his admirers - but I deeply adore his projection of Hindu philosophy as something totally devoid of guilt or self-hatred - as a pursuit of positives: of greater & larger truths & joys, by taking man to the logical conclusion of ALL of Man's goals & joys - & a living, possible ideal of incomparable strength & grandeur. And, from all that I've read, I shall conclude this post with these lines from this Master, which firmly & finally establish what I want to convey: the great vigorous spirit of the seeker of God:

My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,

My body is God's happy living tool,

My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.

Monday, August 25, 2008

An attempt to grasp the meaning of GOD

I came across this statement by the great atheist-materialist-anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, a typical argument given by Rationalists: "God being everything, the real world and man are nothing. God being truth, justice, goodness, beauty, power, and life, man is falsehood, iniquity, evil, ugliness, impotence, and death. God being master, man is the slave." While Satan is "the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds."

I wonder: What is it that made Bakunin come to such a conclusion?

I have basically one answer to this string of indictments: AHAM BRAHMASMI.

I also came across a statement made by Friedrich Nietzsche, directed at religion, especially Buddhism: "...they see an invalid, or an old man, or a corpse, and immediately say, life is refuted."

I agree the degree of pessimism is extreme in Buddhsim (to call it "overdone" is to merely denigrate it), and given that Buddha lived in the 6th century BCE, there might've been good reason for considering all life as suffering. But this statement, coming from a man who suffered from severe mental illness for the last 11 years of his life, most probably died - at the comparitively young age of 56 - out of syphilis - and after two paralyzing strokes and a bout of pneumonia - is certainly ironic. One can feel only immense pain on reading about the tragic life of this occasionally powerful thinker, but the irony is for all to see.

I sometimes think that most young people today don't have the rancor against religion which conscientious men had even 30-odd years ago, because they are not aware of how institutionalized religion perverted & crippled human life. It is curious, nevertheless, that men were, & still are, unable to see the difference between Caiaphas & Paul. It is sad, on the other hand, that people are blissfully unaware of the roots of materialism, atheism & the various forms of rationalism.

I must emphasize that I reject atheism on the basis of a very simple idea that God is nothing but that ONE EXISTENT, which is at the Root, which is the Essence, and the SINGLE UNIFYING Existential-Metaphysical Force/Principle of ALL of existence - of EVERY aspect & form & level of it: both matter & "consciousness". It is ONE - and not multiple. Which is why it is FUNDAMENTAL. God is a LOGICAL NECESSITY. The fact that something exists, PRESUPPOSES something BY VIRTUE of which it exists: which makes the existence of ANY ENTITY possible. God is that fundamental 'SOMETHING'. And it underlies EVERYTHING that ever existed, that exists, and that can ever exist. So, in a way, & amongst other perspectives, God may also be called the VERY PRINCIPLE OF EXISTENCE - i.e. of (EVERYTHING & ANYTHING) coming into existence.

Since It is SINGLE, since It is necessary, It transcends time & space, and hence, both are simply not applicable to It.

So when we talk about the 'Infinity' of God, the basic conception is not that God is immortal or unlimited in extension, but that the concepts of time & space LOGICALLY CANNOT apply to It. Therefore it is said of Brahman that It never was born, it never came to be, never came into BEING. It is "the Unborn". In another sense, it TIES TOGETHER all of time & space, thus annuling both. In yet another sense, in terms of time & space, it IS eternal - unlimited in extension.

God has to be FIRST grasped as a METAPHYSICAL PRINCIPLE, which - THUS - is necessarily an EXISTENT.

What atheists do, is to take the EXOTERIC, "VULGAR" (i.e. pertaining to the common masses) conception of a powerful bearded hoary man who sends commandments & threats - who punishes & rewards - capricious & "jealous" - and THEN apply a melee of esoteric, spiritual concepts to it - and thus mess up the whole issue. This won't work, and is merely a futile exercise in self-delusion. Which is why atheism can be quite tiresome to refute, since the atheists are simply not seeing the point! In pure spiritual doctrine, Parambrahma, or Brahman, or Ayin-Soph, or Shunyata - have NO direct or wilful influence on human affairs.

PRAYER is a form of meditation, of contemplation, and of tranquilizing the distraught, chaotic, unfocused mind, NOT a petition for material benefit. The process of prayer itself confers SPIRITUAL, psychological, and moral benefit on a human being, so it is not devoid of value.

God is, because the Universe IS. God is, because Existence IS.

Everything that exists - exists METAPHYSICALLY - whether it be a thought, an emotion, a fleeting physical impulse, the whole of space itself, or time itself, a cosmic or psychological law, or a leptron.

What makes its existence possible? What makes the metaphysical existence of ANY entity possible?

What is THAT ONE ENTITY, which makes the metaphysical existence of ANY entity, ANY event, ANY law, ANY force, ANY possibility in existence - possible?

That ONE entity, so to speak, which is not just "Consciousness" - but the root & essence & cause of consciousness - that from which consciousness comes - & so does every particle of existence - is God.

And, again, by logical defintion, the root-essence has to be UNCHANGING, IMMUTABLE.

BY DEFINITION, IT HAS TO BE THE SAME AT EVERY POINT OF SPACE & TIME. For, if it changes, it is not the one, and cannot be fundamental; what we have identified follows a law of change, and we are not seeing the essence, but a manifestation of the essence (we are witnessing some temporary forms or patterns of something which BY DEFINITION, has to be stable & unchangeable).

It is in that stone, in that electron, in this table, in that cat, in that man, in his eyes, in the nerves connecting his eyes to his brain, in the electrons, neutrons & protons which constitute those nerves as well as the signals transmitted from the eye to the brain and back. It was yesterday, 3 days back, 10 years back, 5 millennia back, 300,000 billlion years back - always. It shall remain so tomorrow, and 5oo,000 trillion millennia hence. BY DEFINTION.

THIS is my concept of God, and this is what I affirm.

I do not see Atheists refuting this - and they cannot - because we have to begin by asking: WHAT IS THAT BY VIRTURE OF WHICH EXISTENCE EXISTS? Existence - in each & every part/aspect - as well as a whole?

It logically follows, that GOD IS THE TOTALITY-OF-EXISTENCE-AS-ONE.

In this sense, GOD IS EXISTENCE.

For some verses from India's most glorious scriptures, which, according to me, confirm my understanding, please go HERE.

The concepts of Spirit, Soul, & Matter come later: and "consciousness" - a vague modern term, variously defined - has almost nothing to do with the term "Spirit". Soul, consciousness, & Matter are UNITED in God, and there is NO fundamental, metaphysic-essential break between them. To understand 'God', we have to begin by rejecting the idea that 'God is Consciousness', or even God is 'Pure Consciousness'. The word 'Spirit' was used for God, and "SPIRIT" IS NOT "CONSCIOUSNESS".

I shall definitely attempt a more systematic, coherent elucidation of the meaning of God; right now, I was prepared only for an extremely rudimentary & elementary statement, but one not false or inconsistent or illogical. What I've written is definitely NOT new or revolutionary or original. This has been stated thousands of years ago, FOR thousands of years, and by thousands of men.

Friday, August 22, 2008

On what conditions a philosophy of love would work

It would be truly unfortunate for anyone to conclude that I totally reject each & every idea & value held by Rationalists & Atheists. What may be percieved as "ranting" or "foaming" - as "tirades" & "diatribes" - are directed at specific ideas, and specific applications, not to the vast number of individuals who have accepted the validity of certain systems. I have said, and I shall repeat, that I admire many rationalists & atheists, and even many ideas of the rational-egoists.

I give this clarification, to put my own views in the proper perspective.

I am too conscious, for example, of the immense corruption of, & suffering caused by, organized religion - whether in Europe, or in the Middle East, or in India. I am too conscious of the horrendous use concepts like "Faith", "God's Will", "Karma", "Original Sin", etc have been put to. I do understand the disastrous consequences of philosophies in which the individual is seen as a means to the ends of some other entity, whether God, or the State, or "society" etc. Which is why it has to be reiterated that a philosophy of love is impossible without perfect freedom of the will, utmost respect for individual autonomy, self-determination, & a total rejection of Force (especially non-imposition of Faith) & violence.

What does horrify me, is that the Rationalist-Atheist ideological leaders themselves have their own agenda, and are part of a much larger scheme of perversion of the human mind, & destruction of man's perception of the truth. This is successful only when one stealthily puts in a few false ideas here & there in a meticulously constructed web of indubitable truths & impeccable logic. If it is not so, then they are either unwitting instruments in the hands of invisible forces, or unknowingly cause immense harm to the truth.

The truth is this: A God-affirming spiritual philosophy (I call it a 'Philosophy of Love') rejects the idea that one individual, or any collective, has the RIGHT to make decisions for another individual or community. Not only has he no such right, but HE SHALL NEVER TRY TO ORGANIZE THE WAY OTHER PEOPLE LIVE OR THINK.

The highest moral purpose of his life is HIS OWN SPIRITUAL PERFECTION: PERFECT UNION WITH THE ONE METAPHYSICAL ESSENCE OF EXISTENCE, i.e. GOD - the Totality of the All as One.

The creative expression of his moral values - i.e., the concrete goals he sets for himself to sustain & complete the course of his life - his actions & specific goals of life - are infinite. They may very legitimately be in the field of art or science. (He is also most justified in cutting himself off from the whole world & leading the simple life of a farmer, or shut himself up in a monastery.) They are more likely to be directed at making it possible for men at large to recognize the ultimate truth of life, and move towards that truth, & its perfect integration with their life-actions & life-goals - i.e.,their moral regeneration & spiritual illumination.

But in anything that he does, he simply cannot covet what is undeserved & unearned (since his needs are minimal, his life simplified to barest essentials, he practices austerity, & he has totally abandoned the desire to possess or control) - he cannot use either the force of law or of money to achieve any ends - he cannot take part in politics or trade, two of the greatest corrupting influences, the two-pronged fork of various manipulating forces to pervert spirituality to serve political & commercial agendas, & hence become partisan & sectarian - he cannot, as enjoined by the Dhammapada, "offend by body, word, or thought, and is controlled on these three points".

As Lao Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching: Can you embrace the One with your soul, and never depart from the Way? Can you concentrate your vital force to achieve the gentleness of a new-born baby? Can you cleanse and purify your mystic vision until it is clear? Can you love the people and govern the state without interfering?

We may admit that Lao Tzu's times were radically different from ours, and that new solutions have to be found in new conditions. The essence, however, has to be grasped & imbibed.

The basic principle remains: no imposition by the name of "faith" - no use of force or any form of coercion - absolute non-violence - no propagation of hatred or revenge.

There is no humanitarianism or fruitful mysticism/spiritualism without these crucial values.

An excellent image was created by Victor Hugo in Jean Valjean as an austere, saintly industrialist in "Les Miserables". Hugo opened a whole new vision for men, through that greatest of all novels. The use of the printing press, of the internet, & of various modern technological resources for the spiritual unification of mankind is imperative. And perhaps this is a part of the modern problem. They must be preserved & developed, and yet not be instruments for division, isolationism, and all forms of corruption & exploitation. (For e.g., large-scale corporations solve many problems, & create others: they help in, say, mass dissemination of ideas, & at the same time wield an uncanny, absolute control on the type of information disseminated. The magnitude of scale enables them to spread knowledge wide & far more economically than otherwise, but this brings them the kind of power which makes it possible for them to spread disinformation & untruths.) Modern civilization has to undergo change & will necessarily drop many of its currently-held notions & conceptions. How to bring about an equilibrium between the endlessly inquisitive & imaginative mind - the desire to express all the intellectual & creative powers of man - to solve all the pressing problems of human life & lift it to a new level of relationship with the universe (in intellectual, emotional & physical terms) -- and the perennial wisdom of austerity, non-attachment to material values, concentration on Brahman / Tao/ Shunyata / Ayin-Soph, total dedication to the Union with this One Immortal Being, & absolute, universal love - is perhaps the most crucial problem facing contemporary humanity.

Intriguing & Beautiful

"COMPASSION" - by William Bouguereau

This image was obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Atheists & Rationalists

It might be inferred, from what I’ve written in my previous posts, that men & women who endorse rationalism, atheism, & even Violence are, by that very reason, anathema to me.
Infact, it’s not so.

The rationalists, atheists, & even those who give a qualified acqueiscence to Violence, can be wonderful people, who deserve all our respect & admiration. I personally adore many of them.

My father is an atheist (for all practical purposes), and I myself was a staunch atheist-rational-egoist a few years back.

Certainly, today I think many of these people are mistaken in their views: but their philosophy has its own justification, its own powerful basis in reality. And a large number of them are people with enormous character & strength. They possess all those great virtues which we admire in a Man: aspiration to do something meaningful in life, tremendous endurance & tenacity, inexhaustible benevolence & deep respect for the sacrosanctity of the human personality, a strong sense of justice & an intransigent integrity, a passionate concern with ideas & indefatigable industriousness, independence of consciousness & a keen sensitivity to the finer things of life.

There are also many of them who lack generosity, tolerance (a quality which is an abomination to all mindless fanatics), ability to forgive & forget, and a self-induced callousness & cruelty. This, however, is not the rule, though it isn't the exception either.

So if I do indict rationalism, atheism, and Force & Violence - it's not necessary that I condemn & hate all rationalists, atheists, & the ones who give a QUALIFIED acquiescence to Force & Violence.

When it comes to atheists, I'd love to quote Victor Hugo, from "Les Miserables":

"There are, we know, mighty & illustrious atheists. These men, in fact, led round again towards truth by their very power, are not absolutely sure of being atheists, with them, the matter is nothing but a question of definitions, and at all events, if they do not believe in God, being great minds, they prove God. We hail, in them, philosophers, while, at the same time, inexorably disputing their philosophy."

Nothing could be truer, and no attitude of mind - healthier.

Take for instance the atheists who reject the existence of God by defining God as "Consciousness". While some modern philosophers might have made the gross error of calling God "Consciousness" - the fact is that this is not the definition of God at all, and never was. Not a single scripture has defined "God" as "Consciousness" - a relatively modern term, which evolved about the 17th century CE - with no strict correspondence in the ancient world. If one has to understand what God is, one has to go back to the source, the texts where this conception took its first complete shape, to those hoary sages & prophets & mystic-seers, almost non-existent for two millennia, who actually understood & apprehended God. They never do so. They can never extract any sentence from any primeval scripture which DEFINES "God" as "Consciousness" - and which defines Consciousness, or the procedure by which the definitions have been established. This is another example of the sheer ignorance & WILFUL REFUSAL of the so-called Rationalists, who pride themselves on focusing on "objective" reality, to search for the complete truth. Have they STUDIED the scriptures? Examined each & every statement & word in its depth? Been initiated into the mysteries of mystic knowledge? Pondered for years over the immortality of the soul? Known how & why the scriptures were written, and why only hieroglyphs & symbols were used, and not plain explanation of ideas? The real meaning of allegories & symbolic fantasies?

An appalling majority of them neither bother, nor think they ought to bother - and yet are ready to spit on, & malign, & misrepresent spiritual truths - condemn the scriptures & all mystic-seers - unload gallons of abuse on them & deny them a hearing - attribute the vilest & falsest of calumnies & conspiracies to them - or at best, dimiss them with repulsive pity, or a sarcastic laugh.

Truth & Reason?

Take for instance the absurd idea of the atheist-rationalist that "God is Unknowable". They reject God because they somehow think that according to the mystic, God is "Unknowable".

But then, how does the Vedantic seer say "Aham Brahmasmi" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajur Veda) - "I am Brahman"? How on earth did he KNOW?

How does he say "Ayam Atma Brahma" (Mandukya Upanishad, Atharva Veda) - "This Self is Brahman"? (Self as in "Atma") How could he know without knowing Brahma (i.e. Brahman)?

Or take for instance the "Katha Upanishad". How does it make a statement like:- "When all desires that dwell within the human heart are cast away, then a mortal becomes immortal and (even) HERE HE ATTAINETH TO BRAHMAN."

Or, how does Yagyavalkya say:-

"Knowing that immortal Brahman, I am Immortal."

"They who know the life of life, the eye of the eye, the ear of the ear, and the mind of the mind, they have realized the ancient primordial Brahman."

The absurd, groundless hatred directed at India, and Indian ("Hindoo") culture becomes comprehensible only when one grasps that Indian civilization, philosophy & mysticism completely & totally demolishes the whole false structure of modern western Atheistic Rationalism, founded as it is on half-truths, distortions, misrepresentations, outright lies, and a laughable, pitiable ignorance. This hatred is to be found directed at the Orient in general - though it requires merely the effort to find a few good books, & now, a few websites, to see how passionately life-affirming, creative, inexhaustibly fertile, productive, & active - Oriental civilization (as also a large majority of Meso-American civilization) always was.

The rationalist, above all, seeks measurable, verbal, tangible & communicable CERTAINTY, not Absolute Truth. He doesn't like anything foggy or intangible. (Is it a concidence that the word "mystic" is so close to "misty"?) There's a great degree of weight in such a desire. Spirituality invariably descends into something as messy as black magic, astrology & prophecy, an obsession with karma & amulets & trinkets & talismans, and ALWAYS gets corrupted by aligning itself to politics & business. All this however, still does not negate the ultimate truth of scriptural wisdom. Nothing that is truly great is easy to achieve, the path is always very, very difficult - and if only a man or two can accomplish what Albert Einstein & Isaac Newton could (in the realm of intellect), only very few people can accomplish what Jesus or Lao Tzu did (in the field of spirituality). The difference lies in that in the realm of intellect, once an Albert Einstein or Werner Heisenberg has accomplished the original task, the rest of humanity has to merely understand the results, & repeat or apply, & at best, add to what they've given. I do not have to BECOME Einstein & repeat his struggle every step of the way, to understand what he did. I do not have to actually achieve his achievement. Not so in spirituality. Being a discipline of self-spiritual-development, each man has to BECOME Jesus or Sakyamuni, and do all that these men did, to achieve what they achieved. This is infinitely more difficult, and hence, while all of us may understand the Theory of Relativity, all of us can't see things clearly from Jesus' perspective. THIS is the crucial difference between mere intellectual striving, and spiritual self-development.

Certainty is not rejected by mysticism - but tangible, measurable certainty of the BASIS or starting-point of one's PURPOSE is. I really have no clue, in terms of realization with my whole being, if Brahman exists, though I CAN establish Its existence logically i.e. intellectually. And while I can percieve subtle changes in my whole being through the whole process of Yoga, it is only when I actually attain Moksha do I know that: Yes! Brahman IS, and THIS is Brahman. There is no greater certainty than this, in a Man's life. The point is that the rationalist thinks that only the Measurable & Finite exists, though, by his own terms, the Universe itself is Immeasurable (in time & space), and hence, Infinite. To the proposition that the non-measurable exists, for e.g., in emotions, or, in the phenomenon of consciousness itself, all he can do is vomit barrels of abuse on mystics as mind-haters, life-haters, man-haters. He avoids the infinite because of fear & underconfidence, or (in certain cases) the desire to mislead people & to propagate his own agenda, not because of rationality.

He does not seem to appreciate the idea that THAT which is the root & cause of, & the force behind & uniting ALL laws, all forces, all phenomenon, all forms, all levels of existence (both matter & consciousness), all of time & space - can neither be percieved by any one, or any combination, of sense-organs, or analyzed by the mind, and is not measurable, since it comprehends all measurement. It is apprehended, in its turn, by the whole being of Man, and not any specific separable part or element in him, or any limited combination of them. Hence, it cannot be tangible, or communicable (as an explanation of its specific, separative features or workings), or reduced to mathematical formulas.

This post has reached that point, where it would be undesirable to stretch it any longer, so I must halt. The thrust actually was, that the atheists & rationalists whom we come across in life (except certain specific ideological groups, or cults), are NOT people to be hated, or rejected, or disrespected. They are often excellent human beings, who truly seek the welfare of the world, and work hard for it. Their hatred against mysticism is often founded on a mistaken confusion of the obscene corruption of organized religion & certain mystery cults, for spiritualism itself, or the actual esoteric, mystic wisdom itself. But Innocent III is not St. Paul, and some pot-bellied, pig-tailed, saffron-robed, greedy, obese Brahmin spitting venom on Untouchables & lamenting that some member of a lower caste crossed his shadow, is not Veda Vyasa or Krishna. Jesus did NOT institute the Roman Catholic Church. The man who said "I and My Father are One" is not the man who established the Inquisition, and there is no deeper, ideological connection between their views. The hatred directed against the corruptions & falsehoods of organized, dogmatized religion is justified, and sacred - but the rejection of the baby with the bathwater is either innocently but seriously erroneous, or outright evil. In either case, it can have disastrous consequences, unless redeemed by an all-embracing Christian love (like that in the atheist Baba Amte) - by a passionate reverence for human life - by a fiery zeal to expand the human mind in its quest for ever-increasing comprehension of Nature's deepest laws & those of the totality of human life, i.e. for greater & greater Knowledge - & by a vast love for the liberation of the human mind, conscience & life unto ever-widening Wisdom & Truth.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Working towards a more comprehensive view of life - 2

According to the modern rational-egoist, to begin with, the purpose of morality is the Self-preservation of Man qua Man. In other words, we need a code of morality for the preservation of a life which is proper to man, which expresses the deepest truth of man. Being rationalists, their definition of Man is that man is a RATIONAL animal. Hence, self-preservation of man qua man means self-preservation of Man the Rational animal.

But the ultimate purpose of a rationalist's LIFE itself is not clear, because he tailors his philosophy to serve "LIFE": which would mean: his philosophy is constructed to ensure life, i.e., the maintenance of life. But he never quite defines life itself except as a physical existence, a process of self-maintenance. He never quite explicates WHY should life be maintained, except that we happen to exist (in the rationalistic-atheistic view, by sheer accident).

The purpose of a man's life, in the rationalist view, is happiness. In broad abstract terms, this is true. (At this stage, I'm referring only to the individual, & not to any individual-vs-collective conflict.)

Hence, the purpose of philosophy maybe said to be the attainment of happiness.

But they define happiness itself as the emotional result of the proper maintenance of life. If I have maintained my life successfully, I am - or I ought to be - happy.

Which would mean, the purpose of life ('life' being the maintenance of life) is ... the successful maintenance of life.

This is like saying that the objective of the process of cooking food is to perpetuate & ensure the process of cooking food - or at best, as a pause in a long series of cooking sessions - the joy of having made the food successfully (whereas the point actually is the food, and not cooking the food, or the joy of having cooked some food).

And this is what's called CIRCULAR ARGUMENTATION.

If Life is a process of maintaining life, then the purpose of maintaning life is not to maintain life, or to stop & smile that you have maintained it successfully, but to ACHIEVE THAT which makes the maintenance worthwhile, which in turn has to be outside the process of maintenance itself.

And it is THAT, and not merely the maintenance of life, which defines the purpose of life, and of philosophy, or morality.

This "THAT" is never clarified by the rationalist, and remains something as nebulous (if not incorrect, in broad abstract terms) as "achievement of the best within oneself" - the "best" again being that which enables the maintenance of life.

Circular argumentation over circular argumentation!

The whole purpose is to find the "THAT" which is at the very essence of all endeavor, of all striving, & aspiration: "THAT" - the Ultimate Purpose - the Purpose of all purposes.

The greatest, absurdest error of the rationalist is the total denial of "non-objective", non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable means of "knowledge".

They NEVER give any REASON why such means of knowledge should be rejected, except spewing bucketfuls of abuse on the people who uphold them.

The reason of such a denial is very simple: though certainly many of them are great, benevolent, worshipful souls, in the main, RATIONALISM & ATHEISM (in their several manifestations) ARE CONSCIOUS CONSTRUCTIONS BY A CERTAIN SET OF MEN TO DESTROY MAN'S SOUL, TO PREVENT HIM FROM SEEING THE TOTAL TRUTH OF HIS BEING, AND FINALLY DIVIDE MEN, KEEP THEM IN A STATE OF CONFLICT, & CONTROL THEM.

Mystics know much better than rationalists how the acceptance of "non-objective", non-sensory, "non-rational", non-definable means of knowledge has been misutilized for millennia by power-lusting people to terrorize mankind, stupefy their minds, to destroy reason, to cripple their powers of self-realization, to control & rule the masses. This has been done for ages, as far as man can remember. Men like Tolstoy, Hugo, Dostoevsky - passionate Christian mystics - were the most powerful & dangerous fighters against the Roman Catholic Church for precisely this reason. And THIS is neither a contradiction, nor a fraud on their part (a part of the typical rationalist's insidious propaganda).

This is no reason, however, to reject these means of knowledge. It is like rejecting food because whenever food has been offered, it has been poisoned. This is the same as accepting many mystics' solution that private property & sex should be rejected because they are fundamentally animalistic, 'selfish', & used to keep people divided, in eternal conflict.

The solution is not in the rejection of food - because that too shall lead to death, or disease - but to change the person who serves the food, one who shall not poison it.

The problem is that the person who serves the food poisons it, not the food itself.

The rationalist has no way to refute these means of knowledge except the open admission that he himself hasn't grasped them (the solution being that he must attempt to grasp them) - or a smear-campaign that Jesus, Socrates, Yagyavalkya, Veda Vyasa, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Krishna, John the Baptist, Paul, John of Patmos, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Swedenborg, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, Victor Hugo, Kaspar Hauser, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Blavatsky, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Aurobindo, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, & Tagore were all power-lusting frauds, liars of the worst order, looters, parasites, seeking to destroy men's minds, driven by an irrepressible hatred for human life, seeking to enslave mankind, who groveled in filth of self-loathing, lived in constant terror of the supernatural, etc etc etc ad infinitum.

Please don't fall for their rationalizations that these men made innocent (though sometimes costly) errors, or that they were "fundamentally" rational & benevolent etc etc. THIS misinterpretation comes from the rationalist's ignorance & miscomprehension, & discomfort to admit facts that ruin the basis of his philosophy: there was no contradiction in THOSE peoples' thinking. They knew exactly what they affirmed, and why they did so, and were the greatest stars of human benevolence & intellectual power.

Rationalism prides itself on "focusing" on "objective" reality. But an extensive scrutiny has PROVED to me, that the so-called rationalists are the most appalling betrayers of reality. The absolue incongruity between lives of the greatest benefactors of mankind, and the allegations made against mystics, is perhaps the most glaring example of the untenability of the rationalist's views.

Their whole philosophy rests on ignorance of the deeper laws of nature, of the more profound & subtle truths of man, of the complicated workings of the man's consciousness, & above all, of HISTORY. Their conception of how civilization progressed - what made development possible - and what development itself IS - is so flawed, that to demolish their structure isn't as difficult as they think it is. Take for instance, the simple idea that RATIONALITY, or rather, LOGIC, found its first systematic formulation in Aristotle. They seem totally oblivious to the existence of the NYAYA school of philosophy of India - one of the 6 major schools of Indian philosophy - which, even going by false modern dating - was developed in 7th century BCE - & evolved all the crucial laws of logic in philosophy. There is no reason - except the prejudice of the rationalist (prejudice is irrationality) - that he was not acquainted with the texts of the renowned "Brachmanes" of India. This is an extensive topic in itself - I'm just giving a small indication of the gargantuan dimensions of the errors made by typical modern rationalist-egoists.

Rejection of "non-rational" & non-intellectual means of knowledge is itself non-rational & non-intellectual. They rest on a LACK of self-examination, & REFUSAL to introspect. A wilful decision not to delve into the depths of one's own consciousness, & to study evidence of other realities in the external world: in other words, of total irrationality. Because, all these realities, & aspects of existence & consciousness - exist objectively - independent of our whims, convictions, desires, & caprices - but are 'known' or experienced or apprehended, by the individual alone, within himself, i.e. subjectively.

These means of knowledge do not militate against, or destroy, rationality itself - nor does the development of one's spiritual perception demand the destruction of the mind. That is another lie perpetrated by the rationalists. (In the best cases, such an idea is a result of their ignorance, or a misunderstanding.)

The greatest mystics were men of incomparable, almost superhuman erudition, thunderingly articulate, and had the most developed minds. They never asked men to be unlettered, not to observe nature, not to grasp her laws. Infact, rational knowledge is always the basis of all mystic knowledge. A man who has not learned language, may have a sort of apprehension of the Oneness of the universe, but it is so incoherent, incomprehensible, wild, & chaotic so as to be totally meaningless.

But it is true that a perfect scientific & mathematical understanding of the laws of nature is neither necessary, nor important, to the spiritual development of a human being, and in this sense, NOT RATIONALITY, but certain specific elements of knowledge obtained through rationality, are superfluous to spiritual development.

(Obviously, to be continued...)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Working towards a comprehensive view of life

The purpose of human life is not, and cannot, be self-preservation.
That's a purpose proper for a plant or an animal, not Man.
However, this does not negate the crucial importance of self-preservation itself. For, man has to preserve his life if he must have a purpose to achieve.
The purpose of life - and hence, of philosophy & morality - has to be found in the essence of life itself.
But what is the essence of human life, and how do we find out?
This will involve finding answers to questions like:
Why do we seek to live? Why does life seek to live?
What is this wonderful mystery of the existence of life?
What is the law we observe in this development from mineral to microbe, from microbe to plant, from plant to animal & bird, and thence to Man?
The Universe is: but the very fact that it is not one infinite stretch of empty space reveals that the law of life finds its true meaning in the mystery of a movement from - where to where?
It is easily understood that a law - a process - is working itself through this whole growth from an undifferentiated unity, a One-Whole - fractured into infinite component parts - and then a mysterious, coherent re-organization of those component parts into composites which increasingly become conscious of the Whole.
Do we say that this law is one which seeks to establish both separation & unity, differentiation & integration, individuality & universality?
What we observe in the plot-structure in the grand saga of nature, is a progression from a unconscious, slumbering individuality, to an all-embracing, all-conscious individuality.
It is the not the fact of physical existence, but the relationship with the Universe, which strikes & awes us.
A pebble or a clod doesn't have a sense of "I", least of all a sense of "Us".
Neither does it have love, nor reason.
Love comes with life, with consciousness, with reason.
In Man's world, without love, wisdom is meaningless, and shall lead to destruction & sorrow.
Without wisdom, intellect is meaningless. Without intellect, reason is meaningless. Without reason, consciousness is meaningless (for a human being). Without consciousness, life is meaningless. Without life, the body is meaningless.
Hence, the joyous essence of Man's life is to be found in Love.
Reason is basically a problem-solving facility. It doesn't help in deciding what is our ultimate concern, but merely in identifying it conceptually - i.e. in a verbal formulation of what already is the ultimate concern, metaphysically intrinsic to the fact of human life itself.
Reason is not the aim, though it is a part of the aim.
Development & creative realization of all the powers of the mind & imagination are nothing but means to realize the DELIGHT OF EXISTENCE, in other words, LOVE FOR EXISTENCE.
Interestingly, in his introduction to the collection of essays "Creative Unity", Tagore translates the word "Ananda" (which actually means joy, or bliss), as Love.
This is perfectly correct, because Love is Joy, and Joy is Love.
"In love we find a joy which is ultimate because it is the ultimate truth. Therefore it is said in the Upanishads that the advaitam is anantam, - 'the One is Infinite'; that the advaitam is anandam, - 'the One is Love'." (Rabindranath Tagore)
And what is the essence of Love?
The essence of Love is to GIVE. Rather, in a Giving which IS a Taking.

A man's relationship with a commercial sex-worker is not one that of love, but of pure, animal sexual need: his concern is not to make the prostitute happy, but solely to satisfy his body's urge for pleasure. The essence is not in giving, but in taking. Men don't go to sex-workers because the sex-workers need sexual satisfaction - they go quite irrespective of the needs of the women in question.
But, in his relationship to his wife, or the woman he passionately loves, a (decent) man can't withstand the fact that he can't give her pleasure. His life shall become an unbearable torment if he's the only one who reaches climax, and his lover's body remains unsatisfied. Not so with a commerical sex-worker. Essentially, he won't give a damn to her experience.
And though Nature has designed the process of interaction & interdependence in such a way that giving sexual pleasure is beautifully integrated with recieving pleasure, the difference is clarified in the fact of nonchalance & interest in the OTHER person's pleasure, while one's own joy is maintained.
A husband indifferent to his wife's orgasm doesn't love her.
A woman indifferent to her husband's palate doesn't love him, if she enjoys her own cooked meal.
The more we move up above the pressing needs of the body, which sustain the very existence of our own emotional, psychological, even mental apparatus, the weaker the element of GIVING AND TAKING, the stronger the element of GIVING AS TAKING.
Here we move deeper into our identity as human beings, because it is in these realms that we are different from the rest of the plant & animal world, and disintinctly HUMAN.
This is why the greatest sages looked down upon the body: not because it is a heap of ordure, but because, though uniquely designed in order to reveal reason & love, it finds the justification for its structure in reason & love - i.e., in soul & spirit, which is unique only to man.
It is the cup which holds the wine: the point is not the cup, but the wine.
The wine is the aim, not the cup. There is no festival with just cups. The festival finds its ultimate purpose in the wine that is served in the cup.
In this sense, the cup has to be perfected: it should not dissolve into a puddle of clay or leak to let the wine out: in that sense, the body has to be kept healthy & strong. It is important.
But the body and its requirements are secondary, like the cup is.
INTEGRATED, but secondary.
After we quaff the wine, we discard the cup.
The cup comes into existence for the wine; the wine doesn't come into existence for the cup.
That's the relationship between Spirit & Body.

(To be continued...)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

On the law of karma

I thought I must add this.
I mentioned something about the law of Karma in my post on Non-violence.
Though I don't altogether reject the existence of the law of Karma, i.e. the metaphysical operation of such a law, I don't pay any attention to it either.
The theory of karma is not only unverifiable & totally closed to the simplest of logic, but also totally irrelevant.
Above all, it is psychologically & socially destructive, like astrology & the plethore of ritualism which exists in organized, dogmatized, ritualistic religion.
It's possible that it operates, but no one can ever be sure if it does, and it's not important.
What is important is not what I did in my last birth, or what I did in my previous births to suffer here & now, but - what I have done, am doing, &ought to do - in THIS "birth" - and what I've done here & now which has led, or can lead, to my suffering.
The law of karma has been - and shall always be - the bane of Indian society, and of any collective spiritual life.
It is still being used by our "God-Men" to justify casteism, suffering, injustice, poverty, & suppression.
This, please note, IS a misinterpretation - almost a historical error - and in itself is no reason why the law of karma should be rejected.
The law of karma should be rejected on the basis of its IRRELEVANCE.
When I mentioned it in the context of the Gita, I was aware that in true Vedantic philosophy, the law of karma involves only one significant idea: that every birth is an opportunity for man to move towards union with God: that is, unite with the Root & Essence of Existence (& hence, with the whole of Existence itself).
In a more simplified form, any wrong action takes us further away from God-realization, and any good action takes us further towards it.
Evil action makes it more difficult, good action facilitates perfection.
But only on attainment of Brahmanirvana do actions stop having any effect on determining the course of the immortal soul's movement.
But all this is basically inessential to the real development in a human being.
The life & consciousness of an intelligent, active-minded, rational man is endowed with sufficient meaning to impel him toward self-realization.
It is our inner burning desire for perfection which counts.
That it exists, can be strengthened, and can become the compass of our life is what counts, not whether I was a jackass in 1850, or shall be a pig in 2100.
People should not lose their heads with the law of karma because it is not the objective of a man's life to remember what he was in some previous birth, and what he did, & where he was, and whether he was Christoper Columbus or Nero or Pascal.
So what, if you were Attila the Hun, in your 1564th birth from now, or Francis of Assissi in your 37th, or a lizard in your last?
It makes no difference to you, or anyone else.
All this is silly, & unintellectual, - and above all, makes a man a very easy target to be fooled & misled.
Anything can be interpreted in any way - anything can be justified - anything can be given any explanation - and this means that someone endowed with some unidentifiable, unverifiable, indisputable "special powers" is giving an explanation, and someone lesser endowed & "gifted" has to simply accept it, on "faith".
This is mental & moral slavery, and destruction of the Freedom of Consciousness.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rabindranath Tagore, on Freedom

I have very ambivalent feelings when it comes to India's Independence Day.
On this occasion, I can only think of these immortal lines from Tagore's "Gitanjali".
Keeping these lines in mind, can we say that we're really free?

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought & action -
Into that haven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

A few thoughts on freedom on Independence Day

Physical, external, & socio-political Freedom is the Freedom of Self-determination: the freedom to pursue one's values, to shape one's life in the image of one's personal ideal, to translate one's ideas into achievable concrete goals.
This freedom is self-destructive if not founded on Truth.
To live in Truth is not to do what I want to do, but to do what I ought to do.
What you want to do may or may not be right or good & hence, may be self-destructive -- the right & the good is what you ought to do.
Here we come to inner, psychological freedom.
The crux of the concept of Freedom is SELF-Direction, or SELF-Determination.
Hence, inner freedom - i.e., Freedom of Consciousness - is freedom from a state in which the contents of my consciousness: my knowledge, ideas, convictions are not consciously chosen by the purposeful exertion of MY WILL.
A consciousness shaped by random forces & impulses- functioning without clarity of perception & comprehension - is not a free consciousness.
I am free in anything in which the decision is MINE.
So what makes a MINE possible, in context of man's consciousness?
It means that I SHAPE my own mind & soul.
Purposeful exertion of will necessarily implies & constitutes consciously perceiving reality, consciously analyzing all the inputs I get, consciously engaging in integration & differentiation, in the process of evaluation, in selecting & deciding & prefering.
This necessarily implies & constitutes focusing on reality - on being fully conscious of truth.
Only when I consciously focus on reality - only when I wilfully direct the powers of my consciousness at a grasp of truth - in other words, only when I THINK - am I free.
This means: searching for WHAT IS TRUTH, WHAT OUGHT TO BE DONE.
Otherwise, the awareness, differentiation, integration, analysis, evaluation & decision is not MINE - it is basically unconscious or semi-conscious, involving only a modicum of freedom.
Thus, real freedom is not "doing what you like" - but doing what you ought to like (this, only in the broadest, abstract terms - in metaphysical, spiritual & moral terms).

Freedom is the freedom from lack of focus on reality, & grasp of truth. Freedom from thoughtlessness, from irrationality.
As long as you are unaware of the totality & essence of truth, you are not acting in complete consciousness of - who you are - what the meaning & purpose of life is - and what are the goals proper to you as a human being.
The only true Freedom is the Freedom to Know, Learn, Think, & shape one's life in accordance to one's perception of Truth ONESELF.
The curtailment of THIS freedom is true lack of freedom.
All struggle for liberty is the struggle for the freedom of the individual to determine his life in accordance with HIS perception of eternal truth (grasped only through a process of experience & thought).
Self-determination being the very crux of the concept of freedom, the individual ought to think for HIMSELF, he ought to voluntarily focus on reality & grasp his own deepest truth HIMSELF, he ought to set his goals HIMSELF.
This gives him dignity, implies self-reliance, and is a direct manifestation of his autonomy as a being endowed with mind & conscience.
Conscription, for e.g., is a violation of freedom, because men are not allowed to evaluate & decide for themselves whether they ought to kill & be prepared to get killed, or not.
This evaluation & decision-making is done by someone else.
It directly violates man's status as a rational entity who can process facts, grasp truths, formulate convictions, and take decisions to shape the course of his life.
It deprives man of volitional integration of his life-action with the essential appartus he's endowed with to decide HOW to live: his mind & his conscience.

But, strictly speaking, the whole process of focusing on reality & grasping truth is a purely inner, individual phenomenon, and nobody can take it from you.
The Freedom of Consciousness can never be curbed: that's possible only when the consciousness itself is destroyed.
You might have all the freedom to do whatever you want to do, but if you are not consciously acting in accordance with the laws of truth, you are in bondage to ignorance & error --- to never-ending fear & suffering, hatred & anger, resentment & bewilderment.
You are in bondage to the determinism of forces & laws which act upon your life.
You are You only when you shape your soul & act in accordance with reality.
True freedom is the freedom to determine your life in full awareness of truth.