Saturday, July 26, 2008
Just a few thoughts on my last post...
Today, I came across this passage in the essay "Creative Unity" by the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore: "... age after age there has come to us the call of faith, which said against all evidence of fact: 'You are more than you appear to be, more than your circumstances seem to warrant. You are to attain the impossible, you are immortal.'
This is the great idea of self-expansion: "You are more than you appear to be" - which lies at the heart of all spirituality.
The point in our existence, at every step, in everything we deal with, is not that we can subjugate or analyze a thing & use it, but that we can love it.
For true knowledge is the knowledge which comes from love, which is knowledge in love, the knowledge of love.
I may know all the facts of a tulip, and all the details of its bio-chemical processes: and that knowledge may give me considerable joy - but it is not ultimate knowledge.
I have ultimate knowledge of a tulip only when I feel love for it.
Only then my affirmation of its existence is complete, and expresses perfection.
Love simply for its beauty, for the fact that it exists, that there is life & motion in it, that there is color & fragrance in it.
Not simply because it is an ornament in my garden, or can be gifted to the woman I love, or offered to some deity in worship - nor just for any utilitarian purpose - but in itself, purely for its incredible loveliness.
I might pass by a clump of tulips on the roadside, & be perfectly indifferent to their swaying & nodding.
In that case, I haven't established the perfect relationship that I can, with the flowers.
They exist, in fact, in the outermost fringes of my consciousness - and are fundamentally UNREAL to me.
But they become suddenly REAL to me - & have a profoundly joyous impact on my consciousness - & truly add to those passing moments of my life - when I do love them, and recognize & rejoice in the life in them & in the fact that they live, and am deeply aware of their beauty.
Then every moment of life becomes an affirmation of all that exists - then we grow into an ongoing, never-ending awareness of the life & bliss that vibrates around us - and we truly feel one with the universe.
Only then does Life becomes a reason unto itself.
Self-expansion is to expand in an ever-growing consciousness that: "Yes! I belong here! I belong on this earth, to this universe!".
It must be an absolute ecstasy!
The question we must ask ourselves when we meet a person is not whether I can outsmart such & such person or not, whether I can use such & such person or not, whether such & such person deserves my esteem or contempt (least of all if such & such a person is "hip" or "happening" or not) - but only if I can love him/her?
How can I? What shall make it possible?
The exercise of that choice reflects the ultimate truth of your being, of your humanity.
An intense desire for such a psychological-emotional affirmation shall then become a driving force in removal of conflicts between two individuals , of laying down new tracks towards deeper understanding, and bringing about solutions to any problems that might arise.
For love removes all sense of fear, threat, & opportunism.
All our bitterness, skepticism, suspiciousness, mistrust, fear, cautiousness - comes from the fact that we've all accepted that "everyone to himself" - whereas the fundamental need of the human soul is that we all need endless, unconditional, undemanding love.
We all thirst for PRE-LOGICAL Love, which is the most important factor in building deep-rooted benevolence, trust, tenderness, gratitude, & optimism in any human being.
JUST GIVE LOVE - AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, AS PATIENTLY AS YOU CAN, AS CONSTANTLY AS YOU CAN - and see what miracles it can work in another human being!
(For that matter, to ANYTHING - even animals, plants, & inanimate objects.)
How it gives birth to love & benevolence in a person, MAKES HIM see truth, MAKES HIM want the good things in life, MAKES HIM WANT to do the good & the right!
But Love does not mean acceptance, or turning a blind eye to errors or crimes, or silence to one's misdeeds or weaknesses.
True love ennobles, purifies, exorcises fear & mistrust, fuels & rejuvenates, edifies & enlightens.
It soothes, tranquilizes, heals wounds, drives away bad dreams, sweeps away the clinging cutting shards of disillusionment, rebuilds hope & confidence, unlocks new founts of energy & resolve, propels man towards greater affirmation of the Right, generates the courage to give & fight, dissolves the weight of agesof loneliness & tortured frustration, opens new vistas to the mind & the soul .
And ABOVE ALL, the an active, constant, universal love ensures that men don't use each other & see each other as instruments & tools of material benefit -- don't trample & exploit each other -- don't deprive & deny each other -- don't harm & hurt each other -- don't cheat, & lie to, each other -- don't loot & torture each other -- don't add to each others' stock of fear, mistrust, & the rapidly diminishing inability to love & respect.
Tagore quotes the Buddha: "Buddha, who developed the practical side of the teaching of the Upanishads, preached the same message when he said, With everything, whether it is above or below, remote or near, visible or invisible, thou shalt preserve a relation of unlimited love without any animosity or without the desire to kill. To live in such a consciousness while standing or walking, sitting or lying down till you are asleep, is Brahma-vihara, or, in other words, is living and moving and having your joy in the spirit of Brahma."
THIS is true self-expansion & self-realization, for it is possible only when we have eliminated every vestige of fear, anger, hatred, & vinidictiveness from our system - and have realized the highest truth of the infinity of our souls.
To be conscious of each & all, of the life that throbs in each & all, & to feel that life throbbing in ourselves, is to Love each & all.
To feel profound tenderness & kinship & respect for each & all, is to Love each & all.
To feel no fundamental animosity, or desire to injure, or desire to see the pain of, each & all, is to Love each & all.
To wish the highest welfare, health, growth, flourishing, & full blossoming of each & all, is to Love each & all.
And to Love each & all, is to see God in each & all, to be ONE with each & all, IS TO LIVE IN THE ALL.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
My affirmation of ancient Hindu philosophy, Buddhism & Christianity is rooted in its grasp of the timeless truth that self-realization is self-expansion.
Growth is enlargement, and joy is contained in expansion.
This is not a growing big in physical dimensions, but an extension of limits, of pushing back horizons, of stretching the diameter of the circle of our consciousness, of breaking down walls & hacking away the obstructing brushes towards new landscapes.
This, in turn, is not conquest by subjugation - not establishing mastery over things.
Because mastery over things is nothing but making permanent our separativeness from them, of asserting our isolated existence over theirs.
It is establishment of the reign of fear - the fear of conflict & the fear of loss of control.
Therefore conquest is synonymous with despoilation, ravishment, plunder, loot, degradation. Conquest demands an adversary who poses a threat and a challenge of destruction. And an adversary is one whom we fear, however weak it might be, and however strong we might think we are, in our arrogant self-delusion.
Ancient spirituality, or mystical philosophy - or whatever you may chose to call it - sought to establish harmony not by recognizing (or holding as the primary focus) the conflict aspect of things - but the relatedness & harmony which exists between the all. It sought to solve the problem of fear not by being conscious of it every moment & fighting it, but by rooting it out of man's consciousness, & from the very face of existence. By being conscious of the fact that, in the ultimate, there is no cause for fear, and there is nothing to be feared. It sought to solve the problem of death not by affirming it completely, but by extinguishing death itself. And that was the great achievement of Jesus Christ: Jesus' triumph over death is the triumph of love over fear - of ultimate truth above superficial fact.
And thus, enlargement in a Sakyamuni or a Jesus did not take the form of establishing or setting up borders beyond borders, but by annihilating all borders.
Man is an Ocean, say the poets: the sages correct: Man is an endless ocean.
This idea of IMMENSITY was what attracted me first, and drew me in.
They who loved God were those who were aching to grow into the boundless: in them the principle of expansion knew that never through the use of his rational faculty, by intellectual analysis, by words & mathematics, by the use of his senses & limbs - can the INDIVIDUAL reach the ENDLESS with the totality of his being. Never can the senses & mind comprehend the All. For, by its very nature, the body & mind cannot deal with the totality as one - it can only deal with parts, fragments, and only in terms of bits & pieces of knowledge, however titanic & sophisticated. They knew that the principle of freedom, & rebellion against the unchosen tyranny of law, was rooted in a different realm altogether, and in that source was their final aim. That, in the ultimate, nature did not have be conquered to annul its tyranny, but had to be transcended.
Law rests on difference, and a philosophy of power rests on differentiation.
Recognition of difference rests on recognition of separativeness, of potential & actual conflict of interests. There is a difference between the I and the Non-I. The I is perishable, and seeks to continue. The Non-I is perishable, and seeks to continue, or isn't aware of the I, at all. Hence the difference, hence fear, hence the quest power, hence the struggle of conquest.
If my I is imperishable - if I am immortal - I destroy fear.
If the Non-I is fundamentally One with me - if I am infinite - I love.
And thus, the problem of difference found its true solution in realization of the fundamental non-existence of difference, in grasp of fundamental unity. That is, the philosophy of love.
The wisdom of old sought to solve problem of extension not by finalizing differences, but by finalizing identity. And that could only lead to love for the All.
In psychological terms, Christianity realized that Love is the force through which man grows into infinity, grows wide - large - in the highest sense of the term. It is the force through which he keeps growing into a wider, more expansive 'ME'. For Love happens only when the boundaries between the Me and the Non-Me dissolve; and active love is the force which dissolves the difference between Me & Non-Me.
True self-expansion is expansion in love & sympathy & relatedness - which is an ever-growing internal realization of love for all - an ever-growing sense of deathelessness & fearlessness.
Love is possible only when there is no Fear. The lesser we fear, the more we love. And fear rests on difference, on separativeness, on a false idea of self & life - on egoity, mortality & finiteness.
Love for the All is an expression of a man's infinity & immortality.
And that's why I do affirm that the highest truth of self-realization is to be found in the Vedas & Upanishads, in the Sutras, and in the New Testament.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
About re-defining one's relationship with reality.
With a radical & fundamental re-definition of self & reality itself.
THIS has to be understood. Then one can easily percieve that there is no fundamental conflict between mysticism & rationality: there cannot be.
The conflict is only between a Jesus who HAS grasped this new truth, this new view - and the rest of humanity, which hasn't.
Man enlarges the very context of his being & existence, in mysticism; rather, he adds to the context: he discovers new contexts to his own being & existence: he sees himself from new perspectives.
He discovers unsuspected truths about himself, his very identity, his powers of apprehending truth.
It's not (primarily) about HOW to deal with reality - which is of crucial importance nevertheless - but WHAT is reality itself.
It's the discovery of a totally different face or aspect of reality.
And that's why, Sri Aurobindo wrote (I'm quoting out of Fritjof Capra's "The Tao of Physics"): "All things in fact begin to change their nature & appearance; one's whole experience of the world is radically different ... There is a new vast & deep way of experiencing, seeing, knowing, contacting things."
The whole objective is to EXPERIENCE REALITY IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WAY: & the importance of the objective lies in that in mysticism man seeks to experience ULTIMATE REALITY: it is his direct, total EXPERIENCE of reality in its very essence, its very root.
It is not UNDERSTANDING reality in the sense of being able to formulate, mathematize, & explain the processes of its working, to explicate its laws & so on: but KNOWING REALITY - TO EXPERIENCE WHAT IT ESSENTIALLY, FUNDAMENTALLY IS, in its TOTALITY, as ONE, COMPLETE WHOLE.
Not description or analysis, but plain & simple experience of the totality of reality by the totality of our being.
Here are a few lines from "Savitri", Aurobindo's magnum opus, which I've been trying to read for a while.
It's very heavy, very difficult to read at one stretch, and my own effort is broken & a little disjointed because I've to pay attention to other theoritical subjects which are of greater immediate, pressing importance.
But these lines are just fabulous:
Our souls can visit in great lonely hours
Still regions of imperishable Light.
All-seeing eagle-peaks of silent Power
And moon-flame oceans of swift fathomless Bliss
And calm immensities of spirit space.
... ... ....
In the unfolding process of the Self
Sometimes the inexpressible Mystery
Elects a human vessel of descent.
... ... ...
A breath comes down from the supernal air,
A Presence is born, a guiding Light awakes,
A stillness falls upon the instruments:
Fixed, motionless like a marble monument,
Stone-calm, the body is a pedestal
Supporting a figure of eternal Peace.
... ... ...
Or a revealing force sweeps blazing in;
Out of some vast superior continent
Knowledge breaks through trailing its radiant seas;
And Nature trembles with the power, the flame.
In moments when the inner lamps are lit
And life's cherished guests are left outside,
Our spirit sits alone & speaks to its gulfs.
Or, these poetic lines of unparalleled beauty glorifying the heroic in man:
His days were a long growth to the Supreme.
A skyward being nourishing its roots
On sustenance from occult spiritual founts
Climbed through white rays to meet an unseen Sun.
His soul lived as eternity's delegate,
His mind was like a fire assailing heaven,
His will a hunter in the trails of light.
An ocean impulse lifted every breath;
Each action left the footprints of a god,
Each moment was a beat of puissant wings.
There are a lot, lot more, but I'll put them up or just express my thoughts on them later.
Friday, July 4, 2008
"All this is Brahman immortal, naught else; Brahman is in front of us, Brahma behind us, and to the south of us and to the north of us and below us and above us; it stretches everywhere. All this is Brahman alone, all this magnificent universe."
(MUNDAKA UPANISHAD, Aurobindo's translation)
"She said to him, 'It is the Eternal. Of the Eternal is this victory in which ye shall grow to greatness.' Then alone he came to know that he was Brahman."
(KENA UPANISHAD, Aurodindo's translation)
"OM is this imperishable Word, OM is the Universe, and this is the exposition of OM.
The past, present & the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be, is OM.
Likewise all else that may exist beyond the bounds of Time, that too is OM."
(MANDUKYA UPANISHAD, Aurobindo's translation)
"All this universe is the Eternal Brahman, this Self is the Eternal, and the Self is four-fold".
(MANDUKYA UPANISHAD, Aurobindo's translation)
"In the beginning the Spirit was One and all this (universe) was the Spirit; there was nought else that saw..."
(AITERIYA UPANISHAD, Aurobindo's translation)