Justice Is Beauty That Laws Try To Sketch.

Justice is the beauty of people to be human, to remain humane.

What else can a human be ? He can be subhuman, beastly; perhaps, out of anger or outrage at first and then because of a certain inability to control oneself, check the momentum and rise back to regain the ground of trust, love and compassion.

Justice does not just lie in the beauty of loving and trusting people; it is the beauty itself, of man. It is rooted in that beauty and takes all its justification from it, both in all that needs to be done to create a just environment, so that men are not pushed into becoming beasts, and all that must be avoided, its excesses and its dicatates to serve itself regardless of the beauty it is meant to protect and serve. The lines it must scrupulously contain itself within set up justice for what it is, as an essential means at serving the beauty our humanity could rise or evolve into.

Beauty is the truth of man and justice the goal of our polity. It is not a thesis and has less to do with philosophy than with peace in our hearts. Justice is more of a spiritual pursuit than a legal argument. It is the truth that laws try to sketch; the latter rarely come close to delivering the beauty in our maker’s intent.

Beauty is the maker’s program for man.

Justice is dharma, the adjunct within that encompassing truth of man.

The Wheel Of Dharma

Indian Muslims … In Cowardice !

From When They Were Being Made …

Edited Version Of The Interview Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Gave In April, 1946.

Full Version Published May 28, 2012 In Journal : The Poet… Watching History : I

Flag adopted by the Indian National Congress i...

Flag adopted by the Indian National Congress in 1931.

Q : But the question is how Muslims can keep their community identity intact and how they can inculcate the attributes of the citizens of a Muslim state.

A : Hollow words cannot falsify the basic realities nor slanted questions can make the answers deficient. It amounts to distortion of the discourse. What is meant by community identity ? If this community identity has remained intact during the British slavery, how will it come under threat in a free India in whose affairs Muslims will be equal participants ? What attributes of the Muslim state you wish to cultivate ? The real issue is the freedom of faith and worship and who can put a cap on that freedom. Will independence reduce the 90 million Muslims into such a helpless state that they will feel constrained in enjoying their religious freedom ? If the British, who as a world power could not snatch this liberty, what magic or power do the Hindus have to deny this freedom of religion ? These questions have been raised by those, who, under the influence of western culture, have renounced their own heritage and are now raising dust through political gimmickry.

If the Muslims still feel under threat and believe that they will be reduced to slavery in free India then I can only pray for their faith and hearts. If a man becomes disenchanted with life he can be helped to revival, but if someone is timid and lacks courage, then it is not possible to help him become brave and gutsy. The Muslims as a community have become cowards. They have no fear of God, instead they fear men. This explains why they are so obsessed with threats to their existence — a figment of their imagination.

The world needs both, a durable peace and a philosophy of life. If the Hindus can run after Marx and undertake scholarly studies of the philosophy and wisdom of the West, they do not disdain Islam and will be happy to benefit from its principles. In fact they are more familiar with Islam and acknowledge that Islam does not mean parochialism of a hereditary community or a despotic system of governance. Islam is a universal call to establish peace on the basis of human equality.

In future India will be faced with class problems, not communal disputes; the conflict will be between capital and labour. The communist and socialist movements are growing and it is not possible to ignore them. These movements will increasingly fight for the protection of the interest of the underclass. The Muslim capitalists and the feudal classes are apprehensive of this impending threat. Now they have given this whole issue a communal colour and have turned the economic issue into a religious dispute. But Muslims alone are not responsible for it. This strategy was first adopted by the British government and then endorsed by the political minds of Aligarh. Later, Hindu short-sightedness made matters worse and now freedom has become contingent on the partition of India.

Jinnah himself was an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. In one Congress session Sarojini Naidu had commended him with this title. He was a disciple of Dadabhai Naoroji. He had refused to join the 1906 deputation of Muslims that initiated communal politics in India. In 1919 he stood firmly as a nationalist and opposed Muslim demands before the Joint Select Committee. On 3 October 1925, in a letter to the Times of India he rubbished the suggestion that Congress is a Hindu outfit. In the All Parties Conferences of 1925 and 1928, he strongly favoured a joint electorate. While speaking at the National Assembly in 1925, he said, “I am a nationalist first and a nationalist last” and exhorted his colleagues, be they Hindus or Muslims, “not to raise communal issues in the House and help make the Assembly a national institution in the truest sense of the term”.

In 1928, Jinnah supported the Congress call to boycott Simon Commission. Till 1937, he did not favour the demand to partition India. In his message to various student bodies he stressed the need to work for Hindu Muslim unity. But he felt aggrieved when the Congress formed governments in seven states and ignored the Muslim League. In 1940 he decided to pursue the partition demand to check Muslim political decline. In short, the demand for Pakistan is his response to his own political experiences. Mr Jinnah has every right to his opinion about me, but I have no doubts about his intelligence. As a politician he has worked overtime to fortify Muslim communalism and the demand for Pakistan. Now it has become a matter of prestige for him and he will not give it up at any cost.

Q : It is clear that Muslims are not going to turn away from their demand for Pakistan. Why have they become so impervious to all reason and logic of arguments ?

A : It is difficult, rather impossible, to fight against the misplaced enthusiasm of a mob, but to suppress one’s conscience is worse than death. Today the Muslims are not walking, they are flowing. The problem is that Muslims have not learnt to walk steady; they either run or flow with the tide. When a group of people lose confidence and self-respect, they are surrounded by imaginary doubts and dangers and fail to make a distinction between the right and the wrong.

The true meaning of life is realised not through numerical strength but through firm faith and righteous action. British politics has sown many seeds of fear and distrust in the mental field of Muslims. Now they are in a frightful state, bemoaning the departure of the British and demanding partition before the foreign masters leave. Do they believe that partition will avert all the dangers to their lives and bodies ? If these dangers are real then they will still haunt their borders and any armed conflict will result in much greater loss of lives and possessions.

Q : But Hindus and Muslims are two different nations with different and disparate inclinations. How can the unity between the two be achieved ?

A : This is an obsolete debate. I have seen the correspondence between Allama Iqbal and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni on the subject. In the Quran, the term “qaum” has been used not only for the community of believers but has also been used for distinct human groupings generally. What do we wish to achieve by raising this debate about the etymological scope of terms like millat [community], qaum [nation] and ummat [group] ?

In religious terms, India is home to many people — the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs etc. The differences between Hindu religion and Islam are vast in scope. But these differences cannot be allowed to become an obstacle in the path of India gaining her freedom nor do the two distinct and different systems of faith negate the idea of unity of India. The issue is of our national independence and how we can secure it. Freedom is a blessing and is the right of every human being. It cannot be divided on the basis of religion.

Muslims must realise that they are bearers of a universal message. They are not a racial or regional grouping in whose territory others cannot enter. Strictly speaking, Muslims in India are not one community; they are divided among many well-entrenched sects. You can unite them by arousing their anti-Hindu sentiment but you cannot unite them in the name of Islam. To them Islam means undiluted loyalty to their own sect.

Apart from Wahabi, Sunni and Shia there are innumerable groups who owe allegiance to different saints and divines. Small issues like raising hands during the prayer and saying Amen loudly have created disputes that defy solution. The Ulema have used the instrument of takfeer [ fatwas declaring someone as infidel ] liberally. Earlier, they used to take Islam to the disbelievers; now they take away Islam from the believers. Islamic history is full of instances of how good and pious Muslims were branded kafirs.

Prophets alone had the capability to cope with these mindboggling situations. Even they had to pass through times of afflictions and trials. The fact is that when reason and intelligence are abandoned and attitudes become fossilised then the job of the reformer becomes very difficult. But today the situation is worse than ever. Muslims have become firm in their communalism; they prefer politics to religion and follow their worldly ambitions as commands of religion. History bears testimony to the fact that in every age we ridiculed those who pursued the good with consistency, snuffed out the brilliant examples of sacrifice and tore the flags of selfless service. Who are we, the ordinary mortals; even high ranking Prophets were not spared by these custodians of traditions and customs.

Gandhi addressing AICC in Bombay, July 1946.

Gandhi addressing AICC in Bombay, July 1946. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Light, Beauty And Truth.

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part IX : INDIA (1924)

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

In the twilight under the flowing stars, in the purple sheen of the mist, sounds the soft voice of the lama, telling his calm tale of the “King of the World,” of His power, of His action and wisdom, of His legions, in which each warrior shall be possessed of some extraordinary gift. And he tells of the dates of the new age of general well-being.

The tale is taken from an ancient Tibetan book, wherein, under symbolic names, are given the future movements of the Dalai-Lama and Tashi-Lama, which have already been fulfilled. There are described the special physical marks of rulers under whom the country shall fall during the reign of the monkeys. But afterwards the rule shall be regained and then will come Someone of greatness. His coming is calculated in twelve years —which will be in 1936.

When the time came for the Blessed Buddha to depart from this earth He was asked by four lords of Dharmapala to bequeath to mankind His image. The Blessed One consented and desig­nated the most worthy artist, but the artist could not take the exact measurements because his hand trembled when he ap­proached the Blessed One. Then said Buddha, “I shall stand near the water. Thou shalt take the measurements from my reflection.” And the artist was thus enabled to do so, and exe­cuted four images, modeled from a sacred alloy of seven metals. Two of these images are now in Lhasa and the remaining two are still hidden until the appointed time.

One Tibetan ruler married Chinese and Nepal princesses in order that through them he might attract to Tibet the two sacred images of Buddha.

Twelve hundred years after Buddha, the teacher Padma Sambhava brought closer to men the teachings of the Blessed One. At the birth of Padma Sambhava all the skies were aglow and the shepherds saw miraculous tokens. The eight-year-old Teacher was manifested to the world in the Lotus flower. Padma Sambhava did not die but departed to teach new countries. Had he not done so the world would be threatened with disaster.

In the cave Kandro Sampo, not far from Tashi-ding, near a certain hot spring, dwelt Padma Sambhava himself. A certain giant, thinking to penetrate across to Tibet, attempted to build a passage into the Sacred Land. The Blessed Teacher rose up and growing great in height struck the bold venturer. Thus was the giant destroyed. And now in the cave is the image of Padma Sambhava and behind it is a stone door. It is known that behind this door the Teacher hid sacred mysteries for the future. But the dates for their revelation have not yet come.

Wherefore do the giant trumpets in the Buddhist temples have so resonant a tone ? The ruler of Tibet decided to summon from India a learned lama, from the place where dwelt the Blessed One, in order to purify the fundamentals of the teaching. How to meet the guest ? The High Lama of Tibet, having had a vision, gave the design of a new trumpet so that the guest should be received with unprecedented sound; and the meeting was a wonderful one—not by the wealth of gold but by the grandeur of sound !

Why do the gongs in the temple ring out with such great volume ? And, as silver, resound the gongs and bells at dawn and evening, when the atmosphere is tense. Their sound re­minds one of the legend of the great Lama and the Chinese emperor. In order to test the knowledge and clairvoyance of the Lama, the emperor made for him a seat from sacred books and covering them with fabrics, invited the guest to sit down. The Lama made certain prayers and then sat down. The emperor demanded of him, “If your knowledge is so universal, how could you sit down on the sacred books ?” “There are no sacred volumes,” answered the Lama. And the astonished em­peror, instead of his sacred volumes, found only blank papers. The emperor thereupon gave to the Lama many gifts and bells of liquid chime. But the Lama ordered them to be thrown into the river, saying, “I will not be able to carry these. If they are necessary to me, the river will bring these gifts to my monastery.” And indeed the waters carried to him the bells, with their crystal chimes, clear as the waters of the river.

Talismans… A mother many times asked her son to bring to her a sacred relic of Buddha. But the youth forgot her request. She said to him, ‘I shall die here before your eyes if you will not bring it to me now.’ The son went to Lhasa and again forgot the mother’s request. A half day’s journey from his home, he recalled the promise. But where can one find sacred objects in the desert ? There is nought. But the traveler espies the skull of a dog. He decides to take out a tooth and folding it in yellow silk he brings it to the house. The old woman asks of him, ‘Have you forgotten again my last request, my son ?’ He then gives her the dog’s tooth wrapped in silk, saying, ‘This is the tooth of Buddha.’ And the mother puts the tooth into her shrine, and performs before it the most sacred rites, directing all her worship to her holy of holies. And the miracle is accomplished. The tooth begins to glow with pure rays and many miracles and sacred manifestations result from it.”

A man searched for twelve years for Maitreya-Buddha. No­where did he find him, and becoming angry, he rejected his faith. As he walked along his way he beheld one who with a horsehair was sawing an iron rod, repeating to himself, “If the whole of life is not enough yet will I saw this through.” Con­fusion fell upon him— “What mean my twelve years,” he said, “in the face of such persistence ? I will return to my search.” Thereupon Maitreya-Buddha himself appeared before the man and said, “Long already have I been with you but you did not see me, and you repulsed me and spat upon me. I will make a test. Go to the bazaar. I will be upon your shoulder.” The man went, aware that he carried Maitreya. But the men around him shrank from him, closing their noses and eyes. “Wherefore do you shrink from me, people ?” he asked. “What a fright you have on your shoulder—an ill-smelling dog full of boils!” they replied. Again the people did not see Maitreya-Buddha, for each beheld only what he was worthy of seeing.

The lama says, “There are three kinds of teaching—one for the stranger, one for our own, and the third for the initiated who can retain. Now through ignorance they slaughter animals, they drink wine, they have property and eat meat and live squalidly. Does religion permit all this ? Where is beauty, there is teaching; where is teaching, there is beauty.

The people here are sensitive. Your emotions and desires are transmitted so easily. Therefore know clearly what you desire. Otherwise instead of Buddha you shall behold the dog.

That which is hidden in the past is not of importance—that which in age-old books, copied and unfinished, lies covered with dust. For the new construction, that which now resolves itself into life is important. Not through library shelves but through the living word is measured the possibility of future structures.

Under Kinchenjunga are secreted the caves in which are rest­ing the treasures. In stone coffins the cave dwellers are praying, torturing themselves in the name of the future. But the sun has already defined the future; not in secret caves, but in full sunlight one perceives the worship and expectation of Maitreya-Buddha. It is now three years since the Tashi Lama solemnly and openly dedicated the great New Image in his Tashi-lhunpo. The intense, invisible work progresses.

The Tashi Lama is now on his way to Mongolia by way of China. Unprecedented through the ages is this event. Mystery ! Incidentally, it may be that through Sikhim passed only the ab­ducting detachment and the Lama himself moved on to Mon­golia.

On a sacred morning upon the mountain started to glow rows of fire—another mystery !

Just now the wave of attention is turned toward Tibet—behind the mountain rampart events are stirring, but Tibetan secrecy is great. Information is contradictory. Whither disappeared the Tashi Lama ? What military manoeuvers proceed on the Chinese border ? What transpires on the Mongolian line ? A year of events !

Sikhim is called the land of lightning. Of course, here also occurs lightning but is it not simpler to call it “the land of future steps” ? For it would be difficult to imagine a better threshold to the mysteries of the future than this unexplored, rarely pene­trated country of rocks and flowers.

As behind a tiny silver apple on a saucer, do the hills and steps of the Himalayas reveal themselves. Hundreds, perhaps more, are the monasteries in Sikhim, each crowning the top of a summit. A small temple in Chakong; a big suburgan and monastery in Rinchenpong. Upon the next mountain appears gleaming white Pemayangtse, still higher, Sanga Chöling. Tashi-ding is almost unseen. On the other side of the valley is Daling and opposite Robling and still nearer Namtse. For a distance of forty miles one may behold the monasteries, for we must not forget that here one sees extremely far.

And again before us is the wall to Tibet. And not the back­bone of the lizard but the snow-white girdle is outlined upon the peaks of this wall—the girdle of the earth. Let us point the arrow northward—there must be the base of Mount Meru.

English: I took this photo of the 110 ft (35 m...

110 ft (35 metre) Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River, Nubra Valley near Diskit Monastery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

Devanagari Invocation of Isha Upanishad

Invocation of Isha Upanishad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter V : Madhva’s Eternal Dualism

Madhva, also known as Madhvacharya or Anand-Tirtha “Purna Prajna,” accepts much of Ramanuj’s Qualified Monism but irrevocably departs in his principle of eternal dependence of individual souls on the one Supreme that alone is independent. He agrees with Ramanuj’s belief system of atomic size of the soul and its subservience to Supreme entity, the authenticity of Vedas, the self-evidence of the instruments of knowledge, the triad of evidences, dependency upon the Panch-ratra, and the reality of plurality in the universe. 

But in his doctrine, ultimate principles are dichotomised into the one independent and the many dependent; as it is stated in the Tattva-viveka : Independent and dependent, two principles are received ; the independent is Vishnu the Lord, exempt from imperfections, and of inexhaustible excellences. He brushes aside the interpretation of the absolute principle being void, in the face of proofs positive of duality : perception, for example, of “This” – the individual being – is different from “That” – the Universal being.

The Pure Monists (Advaitin) rejoin : Do you hold that perception is cognisant of a perceptional difference, or of a difference constituted by the thing and its opposite ? The former will not hold : for without a cognition of the thing and its opposite, the recognition of the difference which presupposes such a cognition, will be impossible. If the latter alternative : is the apprehension of the difference preceded by an apprehension of the thing and its contrary, or are all the three (the thing, its contrary, and the contrariety) simultaneously apprehended ? It cannot be thus preceded, for the operation of the intellect is without delay (or without successive steps), and there would also result a logical seesaw (apprehension of the difference presupposing apprehension of the thing and its contrary, and apprehension of the thing and its contrary presupposing apprehension of the difference). Nor can there be a simultaneous apprehension (of the thing, its contrary, and the difference) ; for cognitions related as cause and effect cannot be simultaneous, and the cognition of the thing is the cause of the recognition of the difference; the causal relation between the two being recognised by a concomitance and non-concomitance (mutual exclusion), the difference not being cognised even when the thing is present, without a cognition of its absent contrary. The perception of difference, therefore (the Monists conclude), is not easily admissible. 

To this Madhva replies as follows : Are these objections proclaimed against one who maintains a difference things in themselves, or against one who maintains a difference between things as subjects of their attributes ? In the former case, you will be, as the saying runs, punishing a respectable Brahman for the offence of a thief. In considering the Upanishad saying, “Thou art That,” if the difference is in their essence, then an actual cognition of “That” is unnecessary; the difference is eternally underscored since the difference presupposes a contrary counterpart. 

If the difference is by their attributes, which form the determinate usage (name and notion) we have of them in our understanding, then too their essential contrariness remains as actual contrary counterparts; for example, the essence of a thing so far as constituted by its dimensions is first cognised, and afterwards it becomes the object of some determinate judgment, as long or short in relation to some particular counterpart (or contrasted object). Accordingly, it is said in the Vishnu-tattva-nirnaya : Difference is not proved to exist by the relation of determinant and determinate ; for this relation of determinant and determinate (or predicate and subject) presupposes difference; and if difference were proved to depend upon the thing and its counterpart, and the thing and its counterpart to presuppose difference, difference as involving a logical circle could not be accounted for ; but difference is itself a real predicament (or ultimate entity). 

For this reason (viz. because difference is the thing in itself), Madhva continues, it is that men in quest of a cow do not act as if they had found her when they see a gayal, seeing which they do not recall the word cow. Nor let it be objected that if difference be a real entity between, say, milk and water, then the same difference should be perceived in a mixture of milk and water as well; for the absence of any manifestation of, and judgment about, the difference, may be accounted for by the force of some obstructions that hinder the perception viz. aggregation of similars and the rest. 

Thus it has been said (in the Sankhya-karika, v. vii.) : From too great remoteness, from too great nearness, from defect in the organs, from instability of the common sensory, from subtlety, from interposition, from being overpowered, and from aggregation of similars.

There is no perception respectively of a tree and the like on the (barren) peak of amountain, because of its too great remoteness ; of the collyrium applied to eyes because of too much proximity ; of lightning and the like because of a defect in the organs; of a jar or the like in broad daylight, by one whose common sensory is bewildered by lust and other passions, because of instability of the common sensory ; of an atom and the like, because of their subtlety ; of things behind a wall, and so forth, because of interposition ; of the light of a lamp and the like, in the day-time, because of its being overpowered ; of milk and water, because of the aggregation of similars. 

Difference (duality) is also ascertained by inference. Thus the Supreme Lord differs from the individual soul as the object of its obedience ; and he who is to be obeyed by any person differs from that person : a king, for instance, from his attendant. For men, desiring as they do – let me have pleasure, let me not have the slightest pain – if they covet the position of their lord, they do not become objects of his favour; nay, rather, they become recipients of all kinds of evil. He who asserts his own inferiority and the excellence of his superior, he it is who is to be commended; and the gratified superior grants his eulogist his desire. 

Therefore it has been said : “Kings destroy those who assert themselves to be kings, and grant to those who proclaim their kingly preeminence in all that they desire.” 

Thus is the statement of those (Advaita-vadins) in their thirst to be one with the Supreme Lord, that the supreme excellence of Vishnu is like a mirage. Through offending this supreme Vishnu, they must enter into the hell of blind darkness (andha-tamasa), as is laid down by Madhya-mandira in the Mahabharata-tatparya-nirnaya : 

” Daityas, enemies of the eternal Vishnu, cause his anger to wax great ; He hurls the Daityas into the blind darkness, because they decide blindly.” 

This service (or obedience of which we have spoken) is trichotomised into (i) stigmatisation, (2) imposition of names, and (3) worship. Of these, stigmatisation is (the branding upon one self) of the weapons of Narayana (or Vishnu) as a memorial of him, and as a means of attaining the end which is needful (emancipation). Thus the sequel of the Sakalya-samhita : “The man who bears branded in him the discus of the immortal Vishnu, which is the might of the gods, He, shaking off his guilt, goes to the heaven (Vaikuntha) which ascetics, whose desires are passed away, enter into.

Imposition of names is the appellation of sons and others by such names as Kesava, as a continual memorial of the name of the Supreme Lord. 

Worship is of ten kinds, viz. [A] with the voice : (1) veracity (2) usefulness (3) kindliness (4) sacred study ;

[B] with the body : (5) almsgiving (6) defence (7) protection ;

[C] with the common sensory : (8) mercy (9) longing and (10) faith. 

Worship is the dedication to Narayana of each of these as it is realised.

Thus it has been said : ” Stigmatisation, imposition of names, worship; the last is of ten kinds.” 

Difference (or duality between the Supreme Being and the universe) may also be inferred from cognisability and other marks. So also difference (or duality) may be understood from revelation, from texts setting out duality in emancipation and beatitude, such as : ” All rejoice over truth attained ; truthful, and celebrating the gift of the divine Indra, they recount his glory ; among those that know the truth, Brahman is in the universe ; He is the true spirit ; true indeed is individual spirit ; truth is duality, truth is duality … in me is illusion, in me illusion, in me illusion.” 

Again : “After attaining this knowledge, becoming like unto me, in creation they are not born again, in retractation they perish not” (Bhagavad-gita, xiv. 2). 

Nor should suggestion be made that individual spirit is God in virtue of the text, He that knows the absolute becomes the absolute; for this text is hyperbolically eulogistic, like the text, “Worshipping a Brahman devoutly, a Sudra becomes a Brahman,” i.e. becomes exalted. 

If people urge that according to the text : “If the universe existed it would doubtless come to an end,” this duality is merely illusory, and in reality a unity, and that duality is learnt to be illusorily imagined ; it may be replied : What you say is true, but you do not understand its meaning ; for the real meaning is, if this world had been produced, it would without doubt come to an end; but since it does not, it is everlasting, a five-fold dual universe. Illusion is deemed to be the will of the Lord, in virtue of the testimony of many passages such as : 

” The great illusion, ignorance, necessity, the bewilderment … The originant, ideation, thus is thy will called, Infinite. 

The originant, because it originates endlessly ; ideation, because it produces all ideas. The illusion of Hari, who is called a-, is termed (a-vidya) ignorance : Styled (vidya) illusion, because it is pre-eminent, for the name vidya is used of the pre-eminent. The excellent knowledge of Vishnu who, though one, is calledby these names; for knowledge of Hari is characterised by spontaneous beatitude it bestows.” 

That in which this excellent knowledge produces knowledge and effects thereof is pure illusion, as known and sustained by the Supreme Lord; therefore duality is not illusorily imagined. For in the Lord illusory imagination of the universe is not possible, illusory imagination arising from non-perception of differences (which as an imperfection is inconsistent with the divine nature). 

If it be asked how then that (illusory duality) is predicated, the answer is that in truth there is a non-duality that is real; Vishnu, being better than all else, has no equal and no superior. Accordingly, the grand revelation : 

” A difference between soul and the Lord, a difference between the unsentient and the Lord, a difference among souls, and a difference of the unsentient and the soul, each from the other. Also the difference of unsentient things from one another, the world with its five divisions. This same is real and from all eternity ; if it had had a beginning it would have an end : Whereas it does not come to an end ; and it is not illusorily imagined : For if it were imagined it would cease, but it never ceases. That there is no duality is therefore the doctrine of those that lack knowledge ; and this doctrine of those that have knowledge is known and sustained by Vishnu.” 

The purpose, then, of all revelations is to set out the supreme excellence of Vishnu. With this in view the Lord declared : 

” Two are these beings in the universe, the perishable and the imperishable ; the perishable is all the elements, the imperishable is the unmodified. The other, the most excellent person called the Supreme Spirit, is the undecaying Lord, who pervading sustains the three worlds. Since, transcending the perishable, I am more excellent than the imperishable (soul), hence I am celebrated among men and in the Veda as the best of persons (Purushottama). He who uninfatuated knows me thus as the best of persons, he all-knowing worships me in every wise. Thus this most mysterious institute is declared, blameless (Arjuna) : ” Knowing this a man may be wise, and may have done what he has to do, Bharata” (Gita, xv. 16-20). 

While merit, wealth, and enjoyment are transitory, emancipation is eternal ; therefore a wise man should strive unceasingly to attain thereto. And emancipation is not won without the grace of Vishnu, according to the text of the Narayana Upanishad : Through whose grace is the highest state, through whose essence he is liberated from transmigration, while inferior men propitiating the divinities are not emancipated ; the supreme object of discernment to those who desire to be liberated from this snare of works. 

According to the words of the Vishnu-purana : If he be propitiated, what here may not be won ? Enough of all wealth and enjoyments. These are scanty enough. On climbing the tree of the supreme essence, without doubt a man attains to the fruit of emancipation.

And it is declared that the grace of Vishnu is won only through the knowledge of his excellence, not through the knowledge of non-duality. Nor is there in this doctrine any connection with texts declaratory of the identity (of personal and impersonal spirit) such as, That art thou; for this pretended identity is mere babbling from ignorance of the real purport. 

“The word That, when undetermined, designates the eternally unknown. The word Thou designates a knowable entity; how can these be one ? “ 

And this text (That art Thou) indicates similarity (not identity) … Not essential unity, for even when one is emancipated it remains different.” The difference is in the independence and completeness of the Supreme Spirit and thesmallness and dependence in the individual spirit.

Vishnu is the refuge of liberated souls, and their supreme ruler. 

There is no proof anywhere, then, that the world is unreal. Besides, we would ask :

Is the statement that the world is false itself true or false ?

If the statement is true, there is a violation of a real non-duality.

If the statement is untrue, it follows that the world is true. 

Perhaps it may be objected that this dilemma is a kind of fallacious reasoning, like the dilemma :

Is transitoriness permanent or transitory ?

There is a difficulty in either case. As it is said by the author of the Nyaya-nirvana : The proof of the permanence of the transitory, as being both permanent and transitory, is a paralogism. And in the Tarkika-raksha, “When a mode cannot be evinced to be either such and such, or not such and such, the denial of a subject characterised by such a mode is called Nitya-sama. “

If you (Advaita-vadin) reply : We accept the unreality (or falsity) of the world, not its non-existence, this reply is about as wise as the procedure of the carter who will lose his head rather than pay a hundred pieces of money, but will at once give five score. 

For falsity and non-existence are synonymous. We dismiss further prolixity. 

Shivalli Brahmins

Shivalli Brahmins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Islam – Prehistory, Myths & Present (V)

Major tribes Arabia at the dawn of Islam.

Major tribes Arabia at the dawn of Islam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Who And What Had Inspired The Prophet … ?

Any transformation needs a measure of introspection, a degree of witnessing and due deliberation before and after the “A-Ha” moment. So too, Muhammad’s revelation is less about ‘magic’ and supernatural, and more of a realisation and a vision of the way forward from where the world was. It needs to be recalled that the Arab Muslim emergence did not happen in vacuum. The path of Islam did not drop out of nothing in the 7th Century, with the rise of an ambitious, middle-aged, epileptic man who declared himself to be a prophet. The development requires to be seen along a series, before and after.

Close to the Prophet epoch, we have Mazdak, a Persian reformer and religious activist who died c. 524 or 528, Very much in the likeness of Muhammad, Mazdak ideas gained prominence in the Arab world of his time and acquired much influence under the Sassanian reign of Shahanshah Kavadh I. 

Mazdak too claimed to be a prophet of God and drove his religio-communal vision over proto-socialist social welfare programs instituted under his supervision. Much of the same things followed a hundred years later, albeit with different attitude and style; it was as if the Prophet had himself adapted Mazdek’s vision, though not the latter’s ways.

Mazdak was the chief representative of a religious and philosophical teaching called Mazdakism, which he viewed as a reformed and purified version of Zoroastrianism, such as Muhammad claimed to be doing in respect of the “original” religion instituted by Abraham. And quite as Mazdak’s teaching has been argued to display influences from Manichaeism, so has Islam derived from Mazdakism. Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion of Sassanid Persia, and Mazdak himself was a Zoroastrian priest or mobed; but most of the Zoroastrian clergy regarded his teaching as heresy. 

It is claimed that the original founder of Mazdakism was a Zoroastrian philosopher known as Mazdak the Elder, who taught a combination of altruism and hedonism : “He directed his followers to enjoy the pleasures of life and satisfy their appetite in the highest degree with regard to eating and drinking in the spirit of equality; to aim at good deeds; to abstain from shedding blood and inflicting harm on others; and to practice hospitality without reservation.”

The doctrine was developed by Mazdak the Younger, son of Bāmdād. Later, Mazdak was blamed for heresy and for sharing of women etc. in the spirit of commonality. As the first real socialist among Arabs who emphasised the community – common identity, effort and collective welfare – Mazdak must have had quite an impact. Much of Islam, as a community, is modeled on the Mazdakian vision. 

Altruism is what Islam preaches from the pulpit, but only for the believers. And hedonism is what was commended in practice, as can be seen how the Prophet indulged in food and sex. The sense of community and commonality is also strong in Islam. Is that why the Prophet acquired his wives from among those related to his first followers ? All but one were obtained by divined right from among both his enemies and followers, whom he knew closely !

Like Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, Mazdakism had a dualistic worldview. The doctrine laid two original principles of the universe : Light, the good; and Darkness, the evil. The two were mixed by a cosmic accident, tainting everything except God. Light is characterised by knowledge and awareness, by acts of design and free will, whereas Darkness was manifest as ignorance, blindness, and random acts of fancy and willfulness. 

Mazdakian tenets lay that mankind’s role in life was to release parts of himself that belonged to Light through deliberate alignment and good conduct. But where Manichaeism saw the mixture of good and bad as a cosmic tragedy, as does Islam, Mazdak viewed this in a more neutral, even optimistic way. 

Mani, the prophet and Manichæus apostle of Jesus Christ, made his attempt to succeed and surpass the ways of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. So does the Prophet declare himself as the last one, the most high.

Mani provisioned in advance a cave which had a spring and informed his disciples that he was going to heaven, and would not return for a year, after which time they were to seek him in the cave he had spoken about. The people, it is reported, went to the cave and found their teacher, who showed to them an illustrated book called Ergenk, or Estenk, which he said he had brought from heaven. Thereupon he gained many followers, with whom he returned to Persia. 

The entire narration is uncannily similar to how Muhammad pushed himself and his vision to power. But he must have also been familiar with the danger of making such an attempt. The new Iranian king, Hormisdas, joined and protected the Manichaen sect; he built Mani a castle. The next king, Bahram or Varanes, at first favoured Mani but, after Mani’s debate with Zoroastrian teachers that the king had set up, the latter had him flayed alive; his skin was stuffed and hung to public view. Thereupon most of his followers fled to India and China. Those who remained were reduced to slavery.

With Mani’s example being a widely known, one can see why Muhammad loved the sword, the need for military buildup and the utility of enslaving the opposition, if not killed.

Panoramic view of Masjeed Al Nabawee at sunset.

Panoramic view of Masjeed Al Nabawee at sunset. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter IV : Ramanuj‘s Qualified Monism

Before elaborating on Ramanuj’s wonderful amalgamation of Madhvacharya’s Devotional Dualism and Shankar’s Absolute Monism, the “Sangraha” author – Madhava Vidyaranya – takes the opportunity to rationally condemn the Arhat’s doctrine. He says … The simultaneous co-existence of existence, non-existence and other modes in a plurality of really existing things is an impossibility. Nor should any one say : Granting the impossibility of the co-existence of existence and non-existence, which are reciprocally contradictory, why should there not be an alternation between existence and non-existenc, there being the rule that it is action that alternates. Nor let it be supposed that the whole universe is multiform, in reliance upon the examples of the elephant-headed Ganesa and of the incarnation of Vishnu as half man, half lion ; for the elephantine and the leonine nature existing in one part, and the human in another, and consequently there being no contradiction, those parts being different, these examples are inapplicable to the maintenance of a nature that is itself multiform, as being both existent and non-existent in one and the same part (or place). 

Again, if any one urge : Let there be existence in one form, and non-existence in another, and thus both will be compatible ; we rejoin : Not so, for if you had said that at different times existence and non-existence may be the nature of anything, then indeed there would have been no vice in your procedure… And so the Sangraha author’s acute observations go on to demolish the Arhat belief construct. He even mocks … “you have not proved what you wished to prove, a multiform statement (as both existent and non-existent) proving nothing. In either case, there is rope for a noose for the neck of the Syad-Vadin.” Disapperance-Day-of-Sri-Ramanujacharya

And : “An admirable author of institutes has the founder of the Arhata system, dear to gods (uninquiring pietist), proved himself to be … when he has not ascertained whether his result is the settling of nine or of seven principles, nor the investigator who settles them, nor his organon, the modes of evidence, nor the matter to be evidenced, whether it be nine-fold or not ! 

In like manner if it be admitted that the soul has (as the Arhatas say), an extension equal to that of the body, it will follow that in the case of the souls of ascetics, who by the efficacy of asceticism assume a plurality of bodies, there is a differentiation of the soul for each of those bodies. A soul of the size of a human body would not (in the course of its transmigrations) be able to occupy the whole body of an elephant; and again, when it laid aside its elephantine body to enter into that of an ant, it would lose its capacity of filling its former frame. And it cannot be supposed that the soul resides successively in the human, elephantine, and other bodies, like the light of a lamp which is capable of contraction and expansion, according as it occupies the interior of a little station on the roadside in which travellers are supplied with water, or the interior of a stately mansion ; for it would follow (from such a supposition) that the soul being susceptible of modifications and consequently non-eternal, there would be a loss of merits and a fruition of good and evil unmerited.”

The author says : The Arhat doctrine, therefore, as repugnant to the eternal, infallible revelation, cannot be adopted. The venerated Vyasa accordingly propounded the aphorism (ii. 2, 33), ” Nay, because it is impossible in one ; ” and this same aphorism has been analysed by Ramanuja with the express purpose of shutting out the doctrine of the Jains. The tenets of Ramanuja are as follows : Three categories are established, as soul, not-soul, and Lord; or as subject, object, and supreme disposer. Thus it has been said, “Lord, soul, and not-soul are the triad of principles : Hari (Vishnu) is Lord ; individual spirits are souls ; and the visible world is not-soul.”

Next follows a very fine series of arguments and counterarguments over Ramanuj’s belief system and that of Adi Shankar. The author brings their respective core affirmations face to face. 

Others, again (the followers of Sankaracharya), maintain that pure intelligence, exempt from all differences, the absolute, alone is really existent ; and that this absolute whose essence is eternal, pure, intelligent, and free, the identity of which with the individuated spirit is learnt from the “reference to the same object” (predication), ” That art thou,” undergoes bondage and emancipation. The universe of differences (or conditions), such as that of subject and object, is all illusorily imagined uner the spell of ignorance. Existent alone was this in the beginning, One only without a second, and so forth. 

To the Pure Monists, Ramanuj replies : All of what you say is about as profitable as it would be for a ruminant animal to ruminate upon ether ; for an entitative primordial ignorance is not more supposable than an absence of knowledge. For (we would ask), is any self-conscious principle presented, as an object and as a subject of ignorance, as distinct from cognition ? If it is presented, how can the ignorance continue since ignorance of a thing is terminable by knowledge of its essence ? If on the other hand none such is presented, how can we be conscious of an ignorance which has no subject and no object ? 

If you say : A pure manifestation of the spiritual essence is revealed only by the cognition opposed to ignorance (or illusion), and thus there is no absurdity in the consciousness of ignorance accompanied with a consciousness of its subject and object ; then we rejoin : Unfortunately for you, this (consciousness of subject) must arise equally in the absence of knowledge (for such we define illusion to be), notwithstanding your assertion to the contrary. It must, therefore, be acknowledged that the cognition, I am ignorant, I know not myself and other things, is conversant about an absence of cognition allowed by us both. 

Well, then the Monists may contend, let the form of cognition evidentiary of illusion, which is under disputation, be inference, as follows : Right knowledge must have had for its antecedent another entity (such as, illusion), an entity different from mere prior non-existence of knowledge, which envelops the objects of knowledge, which is terminable by knowledge, which occupies the place of knowledge, in as much as it (the right knowledge) illuminates an object not before illuminated, like the light of a lamp springing up for the first time in the darkness. 

This argument, Ramanuj replies, will not stand grinding (in the dialectic mill) ; for to prove the antecedent illusion, you will require an ulterior illusion which you do not admit, and a violation of your own tenets will ensue, while if you do not so prove it, it may or may not exist ; and, moreover, the example is incompatible with the argument, for it cannot be the lamp that illumines the hitherto unillumined object, since it is knowledge only that illumines ; and an illumination of objects may be effected by knowledge even without the lamp, while the light of the lamp is only ancillary to the visual organ which effectuates the cognition, ancillary mediately through the dispulsion of the obstruent darkness. We dismiss further prolixity. 

The Veda never sets out an inexplicable illusion. Nor (is the cosmical illusion to be inferred from the “grand text,” That art thou), inasmuch as the words, That art thou, being incompetent to teach unity, and indicating a conditionate Supreme Spirit, we cannot understand by them the essential unity of the mutually exclusive supreme and individual spirits ; for such a supposition (as that they are identical) would violate the law of excluded middle. To explain this. The term “That” denotes the Supreme Spirit exempt from all imperfections, of illimitable excellence, a repository of innumerable auspicious attributes, to whom the emanation, sustentation, retractation of the universe is a pastime ; such being the Supreme Spirit, spoken of in such texts as, “That desired,” “let me be many,” “let me bring forth.” Perhaps the word “Thou,” referring to the same object (as the word “That”), denotes the Supreme Spirit characterised by consciousness, having all individual spirits as his body; for a “reference to the same object” designates one thing determined by two modes. 

Here, perhaps, an Advaita-vadin may reply : Why is there an absurdity (as the Sankaras would say), on the hypothesis enunciatory of the reality of the universe, in affirming that by a cognition of one there is a cognition of all things : for it is easily evinced that the mundane egg, consisting of the primary cause (prakriti), intellect, self-position, the rudimentary elements, the gross elements, the organs (of sense and of action), and the fourteen worlds, and the gods, animals, men, immovable things, and so forth, that exist within it, constituting a complex of all forms, is all an effect, and that from the single cognition of absolute spirit as its (emanative) cause, when we recognise that all this is absolute spirit (there being a tautology between cause and effect), there arises cognition of all things, and thus by cognition of one cognition of all. Besides, if all else than absolute spirit were unreal, then all being non-existent, it would follow that by one cognition all cognition would be sublated. 

But Ramanuj’s tenets have no cognition of an ideated dissolution of Illusory effects evident as mundane, which the Pure Monists affirm is the fruit experienced by anyone who has realised his true nature, that is Brahman. It is laid down by the Ramanujas that retractation into the universe (pralaya) is when the universe, the body whereof consists of souls and the originant (prakriti), returns to its imperceptible state, unsusceptible of division by names and forms, existing as absolute spirit – the emanative cause ; and that creation (or emanation) is the gross or perceptible condition of absolute spirit, the body whereof is soul, and not souls divided by diversity of names and forms, in the condition of the (emanative) effect of absolute spirit. In this way the identity of cause and effect laid down in the aphorism (of Vyasa) treating of origination, is easily explicable. 

The statements that the Supreme Spirit is void of attributes, are intended (it is shown) to deny thereof phenomenal qualities which are to be escaped from by those that desire emancipation. The texts which deny plurality are explained as allowed to be employed for the denial of the real existence of things apart from the Supreme Spirit, which is identical with all things, it being Supreme Spirit which subsists under all forms as the soul of all, all things sentient and unsentient being forms as being the body of absolute Spirit.

What is the principle here involved, pluralism or monism, or a universe both one and more than one? Of these alternatives monism is admitted in saying that Supreme Spirit alone subsists in all forms as all is its body ; both unity and plurality are admitted in saying that one Supreme Spirit only subsists under a plurality of forms diverse as soul and not-soul ; and plurality is admitted in saying that the essential natures of soul, not-soul, and the Lord, are different, and not to be confounded. 

Of these (soul, not-soul, and the Lord), individual spirits, or souls, consisting of uncontracted and unlimited pure knowledge, but enveloped in illusion, that is, in works from all eternity, undergo contraction and expansion of knowledge according to the degrees of their merits. Soul experiences fruition, and after reaping pleasures and pains proportionate to merits and demerits, there ensues knowledge of the Lord, or attainment of the sphere of the Lord. 

Of things which are not-soul, and which are objects of fruition (or experience of pleasure and pain), unconsciousness, unconduciveness to the end of man, susceptibility of modification, and the like, are the properties.

Of the Supreme Lord the attributes are subsistence, as the internal controller (or animator) of both the subjects and the objects of fruition ; the boundless glory of illimitable knowledge, dominion, majesty, power, brightness, and the like, the countless multitude of auspicious qualities ; the generation at will of all things other than himself, whether spiritual or non-spiritual ; various and infinite adornment with unsurpassable excellence, singular, uniform, and divine. 

Venkatanatha has given the following distribution of things : 

” Those who know it have declared the principle to be twofold, substance and non-substance ; Substance is dichotomised as unsentient and sentient ; the former being the unevolved (avyakta), and time. The latter is the near and the distant ; the near being twofold, as either soul or the Lord ; The distant is eternal glory and intelligence.”

Of these ” Substance undergoes a plurality of conditions ; the origiuant is possessed of goodness and the other cords ; Time has the form of years, etc. ; soul is atomic and cognisant ; the other spirit is the Lord ; Eternal bliss has been declared as transcending the three cords (or modes of phenomenal existence), and also as characterised by goodness ; The cognisable manifestation of the cognisant is intelligence ; thus are the characteristics of substance summarily recounted.” 

Of these (soul, not-soul, and the Lord), individual spirits, called souls, are different from the Supreme Spirit and eternal. Thus the text : Two birds, companions, friends, etc. (Rig-Veda, i. 164, 20). Accordingly it is stated (in the aphorisms of Kanada, iii. 2, 20), Souls are diverse by reason of diversity of conditions. The eternity of souls is often spoken of in revelation, “The soul is neither born, nor dies, nor having been shall it again cease to be ; Unborn, unchanging, eternal, this ancient of days is not killed when the body is killed ” (Bhagavad-gita, ii. 20). 

Otherwise (were the soul not eternal) there would follow a failure of requital and a fruition (of pleasures and pains) unmerited. It has accordingly been said (in the aphorisms of Gautama, iii. 25) : Because no birth is seen of one who is devoid of desire. That the soul is atomic is well known from revelation, ” If the hundredth part of a hair be imagined to be divided a hundred times, the soul may be supposed a part of that, and yet it is capable of infinity.”

And again : ” Soul is of the size of the extremity of the spoke of a wheel. Spirit is to be recognised by the intelligence as atomic.” 

The visible, unsentient world, designated by the term not-soul, is divided into three, as the object, the instrument, or the site of fruition. Of this world the efficient and substantial cause is the Deity, known under the names Purnshottama (best of spirits), Vasudeva (a patronymic of Krishna), and the like. 

” Vasudeva is the supreme absolute spirit, endowed with auspicious attributes,

   the substantial cause, the efficient of the worlds, the animator of spirits.” 

The worship of the Deity is described in the Pancharatra as consisting of five elements, viz., (1) the access, (2) the preparation, (3) oblation, (4) recitation, (5) devotion. Of these, access is the sweeping, smearing, and so forth, of the way to the temple. The preparation is the provision of perfumes, flowers, and the like appliances of worship. Oblation is worship of the deities. Recitation is the muttered ejaculation of sacred texts, with attention to what they mean, the rehearsal of hymns and lauds of Vishnu, the commemoration of his names, and study of institutes which set forth the truth. Devotion is meditation on the Deity. When the vision of the visible world has been brought to a close by knowledge accumulated by the merit of such worship, the infinitely compassionate Supreme Spirit, tender to his votaries, bestows upon the votary devoted to his lord and absorbed in his lord, his own sphere – infinite and endless, and marked by consciousness of being like him, from which there is no future return to the sorrows of transmigratory existence. 

So the traditionary text : “When they have come to me, the high-souled no longer undergo future “birth, a receptacle of pain, transitory, having attained to the supreme consummation.” 

” Vasudeva, having found his votary, bestows upon him his own mansion, blissful,

   undecaying, from whence there is no more return.” 

After laying up all this in his heart, leaning upon the teaching of the great Upanishad, and finding the gloss – Brahmasutra – on the Vedanta aphorisms by the venerated Bodhayanacharya too prolix, Ramanuja composed a commentary on the Sariraka-mimansa (or Vedanta theosophy). In this the sense of the first aphorism, ” Then hence the absolute must be desired to be known,” is given as follows : The word then in this aphorism means, after understanding the hitherto-current sacred rites. Thus the glossator writes : ” After learning the sacred rites,” he desires to know the absolute. The word hence states the reason, viz., because one who has read the Veda and its appendages and understands its meaning is averse from sacred rites, their recompense being perishable. The wish to know the absolute springs up in one who longs for permanent liberation, as being the means of such liberation. 

By the word absolute is designated the Supreme Spirit, from whom are essentially excluded all imperfections, who is of illimitable excellence, and of innumerable auspicious attributes. Since then the knowledge of sacred rites and the performance of those rites is mediately through engendering dispassionateness, and through putting away the defilement of the understanding, an instrument of the knowledge of the absolute; and knowledge of sacred rites and knowledge of the absolute being consequently cause and effect, the former and the latter Mimansa constitute one system of institutes.

On this account the glossator has described this system as one with the sixteen-fold system of Jaimini. That the fruit of sacred rites is perishable, and that of the knowledge of the absolute imperishable, has been laid down in virtue of Vedic texts, such as : Scanning the spheres gained by rites, let him become passionless ; Not wrought by the rite performed, accompanied with inference and disjunctive reasoning. Revelation, by censuring each when unaccompanied by the other, shows that it is knowledge together with works that is efficacious of emancipation, in the words : Blind darkness they enter who prefer illusion, and a greater darkness still do they enter who delight in knowledge only ; knowledge and illusion, he who knows both passes beyond death together with illusion, tastes immortality by knowledge. Conformably it is said in the Paficharatra-rahasya : “That ocean of compassion, the Lord, tender to his votaries for his worshipper’s sake, takes five embodiments upon him. These are styled Adoration, Emanation, Manifestation, the Subtile, the Internal Controller.” 

And : ” Cut is his heart s knot, solved are all his doubts, and exhausted are all his works, when he has seen the Highest and Lowest,” because he becomes one with that Supreme.

 Mandana-Misra-and-AdiShankaras-debate

The Erudite Activist. Endearing Anarchist.

 

On Left Extremism, Justice And The Sustainability Crisis

With An Impassioned Appeal For Development

Mindful Of The Laws Of Thermodynamics !

Rahul Banerjee is an alumnus of my alma mater. He lives the rational life and his work has almost entirely been in causes that are upper-most in my heart – among the marginalised and the oppressed. You may know more about him from his blog @ http://anar-kali.blogspot.in/ and of his sight on diverse current issues from his page @ https://www.facebook.com/rahul.banerjee.146?fref=ts

In one such interaction on Facebook that covered Left extremists and Sustainability issues, I found his views worthy of reiteration here, on my blog. He expresses well …

Compassion and respect, not extremism …

” One could be a tribal sympathiser, critical of Capitalism (not liberal democracy, mind you, which unfortunately has come to be associated with capitalism) and its rapacious destruction of the environment and society, especially that of the tribals, but sympathising with the poor and being critical of those who exploit and oppress them does not mean being sympathetic to the Maoists.

Rapacious Capitalism is a zero sum game …

“There are farmers who have become millionnaires in indore too, and in the vicinity of most cities, but these are still few in number compared to the total number of farmers in and around these cities. The statement holds good for India entire, where farming has become a loss making profession. Even America, which has become 95% urban by looting the whole world, will find it impossible to survive if it stops doing so. Its a zero sum game – urban prosperity for a few is built on misery for the many across the world. It’s an unpalatable truth that cannot be wished away by resorting to sophistry. Gurgaon is sinking under its own load and the day is not far when it will collapse !!

Yes, it’s a zero sum …

“We are going over the same ground again and again. The zero sum game is a very correct depiction of the natural world because it is based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics. I would advise you to do a deep study of those before suggesting me to read more sophistry based on neo-classical economics, which itself is based on unscientific assumptions. Simon’s book is dated and current exorbitantly rising prices of metals in particular, and commodities and food in general, have taken the bottom out of his reasoning. Anyway there is no point in continuing this debate because it is endless. We can debate with each other endlessly without agreeing, but we cannot do so with nature. The time is not far when nature will hit back with a vengeance… The present selfish mode of development is going to lead to disaster then there will be a reversion to communitarian, unselfish and egalitarian modes. If not, we will all perish !!

Tribal rights with self-rule …

“Not just tribal rights but tribal self-rule of a new kind, in which there is equality and justice for women; because the traditional tribal societies are highly patriarchal. Regarding Maoists, the best thing to do is to ignore them altogether. Their locus and modus operandi ensures they will remain peripheral to both the tribal and the country’s future. It is the Indian State, which continually mismanages its responses, that has led to the Maoists being able to do what they are doing.

Churchill’s Secret War, through wreaking famine …

“To understand this one will have to digress first a bit. Madhusree Mukerjee has written an excellent book called “Churchill’s Secret War”, in which she details on the basis of original historiography how the British Government, led by Churchill, deliberately caused the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 in which, according to conservative estimates, 3 million people were killed.

The Just Rebels, possessed and ruthless …

“What is more interesting in this book is her history of the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar. When the Quit India

English: Statue of Matangini Hazra on the Maid...

Matangini Hazra, Statue at Kolkata(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Movement was announced on 9th August 1942, the Gandhians in south Bengal region of Tamluk, led by Matangini Hazra, came out onto the streets in large numbers. The British response was to fire on them. Hazra and others died; many were arrested. Those who escaped their fate felt that there was only one way to respond to the British : set aside non-violent methods and take to an underground armed struggle.

“But the only way they could, with their rudimentary arms, was to fight a guerrilla war while ensuring that their movements were not reported to the British. So they conducted a hugely efficient programme of annihilating all the informers. So efficient was this programme that not only were all the informers eliminated but a pervasive fear was created among the people. Effectively, all information flow to the British stopped and the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar or Tamralipta “national government” was able to rule over their small region for three years. It was only after Gandhi came out of jail and admonished them for what they had done that they gave up their armed struggle and surrendered to the police in 1946.

Recent Darbha Ghati attack by Maoists …

“The important point that comes out of this story is that, for any guerrilla struggle to survive, the rebels

Nepalese Maoists

Nepalese Maoists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

must eliminate all informers, present and potential. And this is what the Maoists have done very efficiently in rural areas; there is little information flow to the Indian State about their local movements. It is inconceivable that, in the recent attack, 200 heavily armed Maoists could have gathered in the Darbha Ghati just 30 kilometers from Jagdalpur without the local people knowing about it. But such is the fear of reprisal on informers by the Maoists that no information of this build up leaked to the police. All they had was an alert from the Centre that Maoist cadre were collecting in Bastar in large numbers for a strike, but nothing about where exactly this was to be executed. Saddled with this information blindness, the team that went to Sukma failed to follow Standard Operating Procedures yet again and came back along the same route, all in one group, and got annihilated. One is left wondering whether the security establishment dealing with the Maoists is a professional institution or a bunch of fools.

How the Maoists succeed …

“That the Maoists do not have an urban connection is a myth. Many politbureau members like Kobad Gandhi have been arrested from urban areas and are now in jail. It is impossible in the present day to conduct an armed struggle in a remote rural area without urban support of various kinds. There is an active urban network of the Maoists that secretly works to provide them with arms and ammunitions, funds, and technical and medical support. While the State may find it difficult to get informers in the rural areas, it is not so in urban areas where the population is too vast and the Maoists operate too secretly for them to be able to eliminate all informers. The State, in its efforts to curtail the Maoists, will obviously crackdown on their urban support lines and in this it has gained considerable success even if tailors, merchants and doctors like Binayak Sen have had to suffer in the process.

Our concern …

“I repeat, the conflict between the State and the Maoists is none of our concern; but for the tribals who die in it, due to operations from both sides, are. We should condemn the murder of tribals regardless of whether it is the State or the Maoists who are killing them, even if it is that of a killer like Mahendra Karma. We should leave both parties to their shenanigans and concentrate on our own struggles.

The immutable laws of thermodynamics …

 “I had asked you to study the laws of thermodynamics and not Georgescu Rogen’s suspect attempt at conflating thermodynamics with economics, which has been rightly critiqued by many. That is why I did not mention his name or the later Marxist extensions of his theories or give links to the voluminous literature along these lines. I will now try to show from first principles, in a simple way, that a lay person can also understand how an “anarchist” interpretation can be done of these laws !!

“The first law says that energy is conserved and, due to the fact that energy and matter are interchangeable, matter too is conserved. So the total energy (including matter) in a closed system like the earth is constant and cannot be increased or decreased. Actually, the earth is an open system because meteorites crash into it from time to time, delivering matter, and the sun continually pumps energy into it; but the meteorite contribution is minimal and the sun’s energy is difficult to convert usefully, for machines to do our work.

Sustainibility …

“Therefore, if one form of energy or matter, especially non renewable energy or matter source, is depleted then it will be converted into another form, limiting the possibilities of its use in future. If soils are exhausted of their natural nutrients and, after some time, artificial nutrients are also exhausted, then it will not be possible to grow food anymore. Similarly, if fresh water sources are exhausted, we will face a more serious crisis. This can be extended to innumerable more examples that are today creating serious problems of sustainability.

“Theoretically, it is possible to convert any form of matter into any other form; there is substitutability potential for energy from matter. But, in practice, this is difficult and requires huge centralised systems which, even if invented, may create their own unforeseen problems. This is why, for all practical purposes, life on earth is a zero sum game.

“Now coming to the more difficult second law : any form of work converts some amount of energy expended into heat energy, which dissipates into the environment increasing disorder due to the increase in temperature within a closed system.

“Fortunately, the earth is not a closed system; it can release the added energy into space. Also, through photo synthesis, plants continually convert solar energy into bound energy we have in wood and food they sythesise. Animals eat this bound energy and do work, producing heat energy in the process. Some of these plant and animal remains have been transformed into fossil fuels, which too have bound energy. However, when we burn these fuels, their energy becomes unbound and contribute heat to the environment.

“Normally, due to the fact that the earth is an open system, the exponentially increasing production of heat energy would not have been a problem because it is miniscule compared to the solar energy added to the earth’s biosphere. But now, due to the increasing concentration of green house gases, especially carbon dioxide, we are slowly converting the earth into a closed system. The pathways to dissipation of heat into space is getting increasingly choked. Simultaneously, we are decimating plant life that convert unbound energy into bound energy. Climate change is a serious reality because of the twin factors we have just described.

The anarchist suggestion …

“We all must pause and seriously ponder over this transition of earth from being an open system it was to being a closed system it is now turning into. The world is experiencing a dangerous rise in temperatures on account of non-dissipation of heat we are adding to our biosphere. Yes, what I am saying is that there is a serious problem and not that there is no solution to it. Since the solution is not yet known, many people are working on it.

“As an anarchist, I feel the solution is in moderating our consumption. Mindful use of matter and energy would regulate the rate of our approach to ecological catastrophy. Ever since the neolithic revolution ten thousand years ago, humans have continually increased their exploitation of nature and it has now reached a crescendo. We need to have a relook at what we are doing. I may be wrong but that is my preference. It is still possible to have a high level of development with environmentally clean technologies, if implemented in a decentralised and egalitarian manner.

“The first ever, and possibly the most succinct, anarchist statement is :

Ishavasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam jagat

Tena tyaktena bhunjitha maa gridha kasvid dhanam

“Even though this is from the famoust spiritual text Ishavasya Upanishad, as an atheistic anarchist I translate it thus –

All of these in the universe

Belong to Nature;

Partake of it with moderation.

Do do not covet but ponder –

Who do these riches belong to !

“Let us all heed the rational view : There is a severe crisis, of apocalyptic scale, we are building up through our own doing, through the capitalist greed we have allowed for ourselves and the consumerist lifestyle they propagate globally, repeatedly, day in and day out, for their own profit.”

A Sustainable Economy

Is Built On Sustainability Values

Waiting ...

I Joke Because I Need Your Steam

Woman r guilty

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Of course not, but the point made was as follows :

If women go for vaginaplasty or other ‘lotions’ to tighten up the vulva

to please the men or themselves,

or go for younger ‘studs’ to literally fill themselves up,

they actually are underscoring the value of size, the rub,

and virility or hotness of vitality for themselves …

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Which is fine in itself, for themselves. Except that it is not.

For, why then is the society shocked or hold men guilty

when they go for their preference for size and softness,

when they fall for younger gals or have mistresses,

or when 60 year old Saudis marry 10 – 12 year olds

( it’s legal in their country ),

or when 1% of men can’t contain their desire overdrive

( any statistical distribution curve would be their alibi )

and grab girls in manner they legally should not…

such as kidnap, molestation or rape ?

 

I have to agree that ‘women’s lib’ trend should allow women the same statistical allowance

for some of them to kidnap, molest or rape men.

 

But, of course, I find myself covered with stupidity :

Society rightly want men to desist;

but from how it’s going, by the time men reform or even before,

women would need to be handed the same advice, to “desist.”

Untill there is no one to advise or listen.

 

Would the wiser ones, especially women, clarify the argument ?

For me, the issue might start with men or women, or both,

but its resolution must end in the family.

Anything, act or value, that harms the family,

breaks or erodes trust, or creates an unbridgeable distance,

should be unacceptable … inelectable, howsoever pleasureable

or legal it be, or legitimate and right it may seem !

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English: Young Saudi Arabian woman wearing Isl...

Young Saudi Arabian woman …

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through …

Chapter II : The Buddhist Belief System

A Greco-Buddhist statue, one of the first repr...

Puranas, the traditional record of dynasties and kings place the great Buddha about 18th Century BC, a time of great chaos and uprootedness, just after the River Sarasvati had dried up and life was displaced from its settled origins in its valley in present day Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. People moved North into Punjab and towards East along the the course of rivers Ganga and Jamuna. 

These eastern regions in Kosala and Magadha were already populated

and the massive migrations from the West led to much social conflict and churn through survival pressures, power quests and aspirations to affluence. It was a melting pot of gigantic proportions, which threw up several alternate life-views while people picked up their lives with severe ethical and moral questions on the social and personal perspectives they all had largely subscribed to before, through the millennium after the Kurukshetra War that had laid to waste millions of lives and ushered in a new world order. The drying up of the River Sarasvati was no less catastrophic, concomitant as it was with a number of frequent famine cycles.

In those interesting times, the Buddha’s way was a great call for moderation. It was universally heard, appreciated and adopted, though expectedly life throw up the extreme alternates as well. Charvaka’s materialist atheism was one of them.

Buddhists observe : The reasons you (Charvakas) lay down to establish the difficulty of ascertaining invariable concomitance are unacceptable, inasmuch as invariable concomitance is easily cognisable by means of identity and causality. It has accordingly been said : ” From the relation of cause and effect, or from identity as a determinant, results a (specific) law of invariable concomitance … not through mere observation of the desired result in (other) similar cases, nor through the non-observation of it in (other) dissimilar cases.” 

On the hypothesis (of the “logician” Naiyayikas) that it is concomitance and non-concomitance, say, A is where B is and A is not where B is not, which determines an invariable (cause and effect) connection, but that the unconditional ( or unconditioned) attendance of the major or the middle term is unascertainable in all instances, it being impossible to exclude all doubt with regard to instances in past and future and present but unperceived … an inadequacy that also affects the Buddhist system … the latter says, “Not so, for such a supposition as that an effect may be produced without any cause would destroy itself by putting a stop to activity of any kind; for such doubts alone are to be entertained that do not implicate us in practical absurdity; as it has been said : Doubt terminates where there is a practical absurdity.“

And, if a man does not allow inference as a form of evidence, pramana, one may reply, “You merely assert thus much, that inference is not a form of evidence : Do you offer no proof of this assertion, or is there one you have ? The former alternative is not allowable according to the maxim that bare assertion is no proof of the matter asserted. Nor is the latter alternative any better, for if while you assert that inference is no form of evidence, you produce some truncated argument (to prove, i.e. infer the contrary), you will be involved in an absurdity, just as if you asserted your own mother to be barren ! 

Besides, when you (logician) affirm that the establishment of a form of evidence and of the corresponding fallacious evidence results from their homogeneity, you yourself admit induction by identity. Again, when you affirm that the dissent of others is known by the symbolism of words, you yourself allow induction by causality. When you deny the existence of any object on the ground of its not being perceived, you yourself admit an inference of which non-perception is the middle term. 

Hence has the Tathagata said : The admission of a form of evidence in general results from its being present to the understanding of others. The existence of a form of evidence also follows from its negation by a certain person.

All this has been fully handled by great authorities; and we desist for fear of an undue enlargement of our essay. 

Buddhists discuss the highest end of man from four standpoints, subscribers to which are respectively categorised as Madhyamika, Yogachara, Sautrantika and Vaibhashika. The Madhyamika adopts the doctrine of universal void (nihilism); Yogachara, of an external void (subjective idealism); Sautrantika, of the inferability of external objects (representationism); and the Vaibhasika, of the perceptibility of external objects (presentationism). 

Thus the venerated Buddha, the one teacher, has disciples of four kinds, in consequence of this diversity of views; just as when one has said, “The sun has set,” the adulterer, the thief, the divinity student, and commoners understand that it is time to set about their assignations, their theft, their religious duties, household chores and so forth, according to their several inclinations.

In effect, the Buddhist belief may be simply expressed as :

  • All is momentary;

  • All is pain;

  • All is like itself alone; and

  • All is void.

The Buddhist thus drives the non-physical, non-ephemeral nature of the soul :

” What has rain and shine to do with the soul ? Their effect is on the skin of man. If the soul were like the skin, it would be non-permanent ; and if the skin were like the soul, there could be no effect produced upon it.”

Dilating on existence of beings and things, celestial bodies included, it is perceived that each of them change in part or full, without exception, in short and long term, and are replaced by another, like or unlike. They all – positive projections in existence – are hence categorised as “momentary.” And the “infinite” universal or mother existence that contain these successive momentary entities in existence is neither perceived nor is cognisable by any other valid means. Hence the universal infinite from which these entities form and into they unform, that permanence with character contrary to all these in existence, is void or non-existence. Therefore it has been said by Jnana-sri (Buddha, the knowledgeable) : 

  • What is … is momentary, as a cloud, and as these existent things.

  • The power of existence is relative to practical efficiency and belongs to the ideal, but this power exists not as eternal in things eternal (ether, etc).

  • Each entity has only one form, otherwise one thing could do the work of another.

Conformably it has been said … ” Great is the dexterity of that which, existing in one place, engages without moving from that place in producing itself in another place. This entity (universality) is not connected with that wherein it resides, and yet pervades that which occupies that place : great is this miracle. It goes not away, nor was it there, nor is it subsequently divided, it quits not its former repository : what a series of difficulties ! “ 

If you ask : On what does the assurance rest that the one exists in the many ? You must be satisfied with the reply that we concede it to repose on difference from that which is different (or exclusion of heterogeneity). We dismiss further prolixity.

That all transmigratory existence is identical with pain is the common verdict of all the founders of institutes, else they would not be found desirous to put a stop to it and engage in method for bringing it to an end. We must, therefore, bear in mind that all is pain, and pain alone. 

If you object : When it is asked, “like what ? you must quote an instance,” we reply : Not so, for momentary objects self-characterised being momentary, have no common characters, and therefore it is impossible to say that this is like that. We must therefore hold that all is like itself alone.

Objects are not determined by any one of the four alternatives. Hence it has been said …

“A religious mendicant, an amorous man, and a dog have three views of a woman s person, respectively that it is a carcass, that it is a mistress, and that it is a prey.” 

In consequence of these four points of view – Madhyamika, Yogachara, Sautrantika and Vaibhashika – when all ideas concerning any or all entities are come to end, to their final extinction, the result is a void. To be true, there is nothing more to be taught : The student has only two duties, interrogation and acceptance. Of these, interrogation is putting forth questions in order to attain knowledge not yet attained here and now. Acceptance is assent to matters enunciated by the teacher. 

Critically speaking, the nihilists on the Budhist way are excellent at assenting to that which the religious teacher enounces but defective in interrogation, whence their traditional designation of Madhyamikas (or mediocre). The “method” does not answer the question : Who is witnessing the void, and how ? If the void itself is witnessing it, then it could hardly be void proper !

Yogacharas, on the other hand, seem to realise the predicament : they accept the four points of view proclaimed by the spiritual guide and the void of external things, but question : Why has a void of the internal (or baselessness of mental phenomena) been admitted ? Their reasoning is : Self-subsistent cognition must be allowed or it will follow that the whole universe is blind.” Therefore does Dharmakirti proclaim, ” To one who disallows perception, his vision of objects is not competent (to start with).” 

Likewise, the Sautrantikas hold that the absence of external world is untenable, as wanting evidence, which the Vaibhasikas provide while admitting the perceptibility of external objects. It brings the “truth” content in Buddhist thought to a full circle !

The testimony of one’s own consciousness however is an important contribution by those Buddhists who continued their contemplation along the lines of prevailing Yoga – Sankhya studies. Sense perception occasioned by six cognitions : sound (ear), touch (skin), colour (eye), taste (tongue), smell (nose) and, in addition to traditional inclusions, pleasure (mind). The four conditions necessary to sense-perception are : data, suggestion, medium, and the dominant (organ). For instance, the form of blue is the data in our understanding, cognised upon a suggestion in our sight, through the medium if light and the dominant eye organ.

So too with the universe, our perception of which consists of mind and five kinds of its modifications : sensational, perceptional, affectional, verbal, and impressional. Of these, the sensible world is the sense organs and their objects, the perceptional world is the stream of subject-recognitions and of presentments of activity, the affectional is the stream of feelings of pleasure and pain generated by the two aforesaid worlds, the verbal (or symbolical) world is the stream of cognitions conversant about words … the words ” cow,” and so forth, and the impressional world is constituted of the miseries … as desire, aversion, etc caused by the affectional world, the lesser miseries … as conceit, pride, etc, and merit and demerit. 

Reflecting, therefore, that this universe is pain, an abode of pain, and an instrument of pain, a man should acquire a knowledge of the principles and the method of eliminating this pain. Hence it has been said, “The principles sanctioned by Buddha are, to the saint, the four methods of eliminating the aggregate of pain.” In these words the sense of pain is known to every one; the ” aggregate ” means the cause of pain. 

This aggregate is twofold, as (1) determined by concurrence or (2) determined by causation. Of these, there is an aphorism comprising the aggregate determined by concurrence, ” which other causes resort to this effect ; the condition of these causes thus proceeding is concurrence ; the concurrence of causes is the result of this only, and not of any conscious being ” … such is the meaning of the aphorism. To exemplify : A germ, caused by a seed, is generated by the concurrence of six elements. Of these, earth as an element produces hardness and smell in the germ; water as an element produces viscidity and moisture; light as an element produces colour and warmth ; air as an element produces touch and motion ; ether as an element produces expansion and sound ; the season as an element produces a fitting soil, etc. 

The aphorism comprising the aggregate determined by causation is : “With the Tathagatas, the nature of these conditions is fixed by production, or by non-production ; there is continuance as a condition, and determination by a condition, and conformity of the production to the cause ; the nature of these conditions, that is, the causal relation between the cause and effect, results from production or from non-production. That which comes into being, provided that something exists, is the effect of that as its cause ; such is the explanation of the nature (or causal relation). Continuance as a condition is where the effect is not found without its cause. Determination by a condition is the determination of the effect by the cause. 

One might interpose that the relation of cause and effect cannot exist apart from some conscious agent. For this reason it is added that there existing a cause, conformity of the genesis to that cause is the nature which is fixed in conditions (that is, in causes and effects) ; and in all this no intelligent designer is observed. 

Emancipation is the suppression of these two causal aggregates, or the rise of pure cognition subsequent to such suppression. The method (path, road) is the mode of suppressing them. This method is the knowledge of the principles. Such is the highest mystery. 

As an anecdotal instance, the name Sautrantika arose from the fact that the venerated Buddha said to certain of his disciples who asked what was the ultimate purport (anta, end) of the aphorism (stitra), “As you have in quired the final purport of the aphorism, be Sautrantikas.” Thus did the name come to be.

It should not be contended that a diversity of instruction according to the disciples modes of thought is not traditional (or orthodox) ; for it is said in the gloss on the Bodha-chitta :

” The instructions of the leader of mankind (Buddha), accommodating themselves to the character and disposition (of those who are to be taught), are said to be diverse in many ways, according to a plurality of methods. For as deep or superficial, and sometimes both deep and superficial, these instructions are diverse, and diverse is the doctrine of a universal void which is a negation of duality.”

It is well known in Buddhist doctrine that the worship of the twelve inner seats (dyatana) is conducive to felicity.

” After acquiring wealth in abundance, the twelve inner seats are to be thoroughly reverenced ; what use of reverencing aught else below ? The five organs of knowledge, the five organs of action, the common sensory and the intellect have been described by the wise as the twelve inner seats.”

The system of the Buddhists is described as follows in the Viveka-vilasa :

” Of the Bauddhas, Sugata (Buddha) is the deity, and the universe is momentarily fluxional ; The following four principles in order are to be known by the name of the noble truths : Pain, the inner seats, and from them an aggregate is held, and the path (method). Of all this, let the explication be heard in order… 

Pain, and the features of the embodied one, which are declared to be five – sensation, consciousness, name, impression, and form. 

The five organs of sense, the five objects of sense, sound and the rest, the common sensory, and the intellect (the abode of merit), these are the twelve inner seats. 

This should be the complement of desire and so forth, when it arises in the heart of man. Under the name of soul’s own nature, it should be the aggregate. 

The fixed idea that all impressions are momentary is to be known as the path, and is also styled emancipation.

“Furthermore, there are two instruments of science, perception and inference. The Bauddhas are well known to be divided into four sects, the Vaibhashikas and the rest. The Vaibhashika highly esteems an object concomitant to the cognition ; The Sautrantika allows no external object apprehensible by perception ; The Yogachara admits only intellect accompanied with forms ; The Madhyamikas hold mere consciousness self-subsistent. All the four (sects of) Bauddhas proclaim the same emancipation, arising from the extirpation of desire, etc, the stream of cognitions and impressions.”

” The skin garment, the water-pot, the tonsure, the rags, the single meal in the forenoon, the congregation, and the red vesture, are adopted by the Bauddha mendicants.”

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Buddha statues in a temple on Jejudo, South Korea

Buddha statues in a temple on Jejudo, South Korea

The Buddhist Fallacy

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Though occasioned by a few conversations I had on social media, the topic has been with me for about two decades now : the fallacy in Buddhist thought, if one is looking for truth. For our world of action, there is no better subscription than the Buddhist way. For, it is in the very tenor of what the great Buddha himself presented in the new path : action … terminate absolutely the (lower) desires to end misery in your life and the world about … evolve out of even the (higher) desires to end absolutely the cycle of karma and rebirth.

Keeping the context of cultured thought of the times in which Buddha stood up and presented his own is important, if one is not to merely imagine and project one’s own meaning to what Buddha held forth in his assemblies. He disdains the rituals of Vedic or the later Sindhu-Sarasvati religious culture and he is silent on the ” God ” concept that tradition was then full of. It simplifies much in people’s life, freeing their attention to concentrate on the job at hand : action, on what to do, how to live one’s life, what to believe of what is manifest, which to regard as right or the correct path, how to decide … the entire life and values perspective in short that enables us to critically view our life and situational instance, and act in its accord.

What I see instead is that people, both hard core and romantic subscribers of Buddhist way, are reposing more and more of their quest for truth in it. It just leads to a jumboorie of imagined truths, the kind that Carl Jung warns us about : Enlightenment is not a matter of raising clouds of light within us; it is to illumine the very darkness all about.

Truth, in Buddhist way, can only be speculative, which in itself is a fine thing to do. But since it says, “overcome the self,” its followers presume that the directive means “negate the self.” It implies that the self is either a non-existent entity that we regard as existing through ignorance or that it exists but only until we are able to “eliminate” through our effort.

The first implication is a philosophical one, and still begs the question : So, what exists, in truth ? The second categorically means that the self does not exist in truth, and leads us back to the first. Without attempting to answer the ultimate question, let us revert back to the original directive Buddha proposes : Overcome the self. To me, in its context, it means that we become more powerful than the desiring self, the one which takes us over and commits acts that leads to misery for ourself and the world around us. That, we should win it over and make it subservient to our dictates, to the values perspective that Buddha clearly lays out. It is not a call for negating our very self, for there has to be one even for “overcoming the self.”

To sum : Buddhism could be a great way to action, to live and reduce misery, if not end it. But there is no truth in.

Personally, I find the Buddhist way a trifle too contradictory to something that I regard as non-negotiable : Life is; embrace it.

How is one to embrace life, if all of life and the world is nothing but misery ?

How does the anecdotal Buddha recommend joy, and advise us to enjoy our wealth but with offerings to others ?

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