Universe, World And The Self

This essay arose of a conversation that remained incomplete, largely because of the apparent unfamiliarity my interlocutor had with the subject, which factor lent an air of abstraction to the matter despite it being so obvious and close a phenomenon to ourself. The difficulty at the core of its seeming obtruseness was two-fold : one, the meaning we carry of the terms are so very formal that they remain distant from ourself, compared to the carnal and electronic objects that readily engage the youth of our day; and two, any attempt to segregate the entities, and their phenomenal effervescence in our mind, fails to start because we ourself are too caught up in the mix to lay out the categories at play separately, sequentially and seamlessly between the universe yonder, our world at hand, and the heady couldron of vitality playing things up as feelings, emotions and thoughts in our mind.

Universe, World And The Self

The Terms

The universe is the endless expanse, the mother set, containing all the astronomical and heavenly bodies, visible and invisible, known and mysterious. It includes our world and our self within it.

The world about us reduces to “our” world for all practical purposes, with objects that actually occupy our memory and mind more or less, in some way or other. The entities come in all shape and form, state of animation and consciousness, nature and character, and value to ourself in the long and short term.

The self — our self — is the being we are, the person who decides the right and wrong for ourself, who is curious and who engages with the objects in our world, who notices the feeling and identifies with the prevailing will and emotion, happy or sad, enthused or indifferent.

The Personal Phenomena

Our individual being involves our world and our self, with all the objects and entities about us, which we live in the midst of and value, positively and negatively, often in the same single thing, person or being. There is a wider world out there, distinct from our world, that we are either not intimately aware of or to which we are indifferent because it does not touch us, that does not engage us in the least for now. But our living being is restricted to all that affects us, physically or by their presence in our memory, in the way it makes our vitality rise and ebb, outward to action or inward to feeling quickened or depressed, draws our emotion to flare with a will of its own, triggers our thought stream hither and thither, making our desire next sprout or dry, and leads our self through an experience memorable or forgettable.

Our experience of life, and indeed our life itself, is an endless train of such streaming consciousness constituted of this mix : feelings and emotions, will and thought, desire and knowledge, memory and more, with the self — the sense we have of ourself — often helpless like a ball ricocheting  from the walls upon a momentum imparted in unknown past or an oarless boat in the middle of  flowing waters. What we gather along the journey in life, through our growing up years, is knowledge and memory of the character or nature of things, person or individual beings, usually in binary terms : happy, or not. Each encounter or recall of this summary sense, as it happens, brings in its trail the emotion and will that our psychological or attitudinal behaviour, caution or enthusiasm and more extreme expressions at the juncture. And thus life continues to happen : happy or sad, or in the pall of any other shade in between.

The Exploring And Analysing Self

There are several reasons why we wake up to need of reviewing the momentum of the personal phenomena upon which we are carried, and to the burning will to intervene. Often it is the consequences, material and mental, that leave us dissatisfied, inadequate, delinquent or destitute. Or, usually in comparison with our peers or with inspiration from other people’s lives past or present, there is a sense of not doing justice to what we have and what more we could do with greater control over our phenomenal being, with empowering our psychological self at making the most of our situation, spotting opportunities and playing up to our strengths. Too, it is extremely deflating to our self-esteem to realise that we are living the animal way, to our lowest nature, or are being merely passive or reactive to our happennings. And lastly, we might discover that the unexamined knowledge we have gathered is mostly untrue, that we need to revisit each as they come and bring our conclusion up to date. Whatever the cause, we then want to put an end to our self-cipher outside-in existence and steel ourself to imposing our will inside-out, to being what and how we want ourself to be and experiencing a life by our own choices than by what fate or our world has thus far deemed it to be.

A true awakening is more a phase than a moment : outwardly langorous and dilated but hyperactive inwardly. In that state of concentrated awareness, we refuse to be moved even as we go through the motions and insist on observing and knowing the details of our personal phenomena as it occurs : the feeling caused by an object on our world, the emotion representative of our reaction to it, our will that automatically presents itself … that jucture when we can choose to react or contemplate the pros and cons of alternate courses, the thoughts at reviewing the object, the feeling and the emotion, the will we were ready to commit ourself to, and the state of our own being, the quality of our self … We hold ourself at it, intending to exhaust the fulness of one series : object, feeling, emotion to the object and to the feeling it causes, the will and the choices, the doubts, the light on ourself, and the values we hold to ourself in the shadows of our each thought and glance at the categories and their possibilities thus laid out.

Our Self And Our ValuesSelf and Values

To fast forward, we may now observe the continuous series of categories laid out before us, connecting seamlessly the universe and the self :

[ Universe ] — [ World ] — [ Our World ] — [ Objects, Entities, Plants, Trees, Animals, People, Food, Sex, Beautiful Form, Panorama, Family, Friends…] — [ Senses : Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Hear ; Mind ] — [ Feeling ] — [ Emotion : Will ] — [ Thought : Doubt, Examination, Analysis, Possibility ] — [ Knowledge ] — [ Self : State, Quality, Values ]

Of  the above, we notice, animals are arrested by their emotions and accompanying will; and so are we. The only interactive behaviour that sets them to peace, and is hence both necessary and sufficient, is love. And so it with us, as far as others are involved and our interactive behaviour goes.

However, as human beings with the power to be pro-active, to change ourselves and our world about us, we need to choose our values and therefore need to know what works, which yields what and how. The knowledge and values are already indicated by our history, our myths, our texts ancient and modern, our epics, our traditions and our ways of life. It is upto each one of us to inform ourself, know and choose for ourself, and to embark upon that journey of examining and clarifying from experience that which is absolute and invariable and those that are relative and dependent upon situation and circumstance.

Some truths are universal though :

—   Feelings are nature’s means to reveal itself to us. Men do not cause feelings, our world does. We do not stop feeling except when we are literally or sort of dead.

—  Emotions are our own and arise almost always from the dark and unexamined part of our within. They are mostly wasteful except when prompted of love.

—   Our mind is a means and an instrument to feel, examine and know our world, our emotions and will, our memory and impressions from past, as also to sense the state and quality of our self and the values we associate with.

—   The values we choose and commit ourselves to provides a firm unshakeable ground to ourself; nothing else does. The self committed to values empowers the will to choose the right course of action; nothing else does.

—   There is no truth apart from our self. It is lost in the mind, in thoughts and habitual emotions, in addictive feelings, when we begin our search for our self. The process of extricating our self and living in the light of its truth is the eternal way.

Let’s walk it.

Footprints

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Ramana Advaita : A Clear Brief

In Maharishi Ramana’s own words …

This is a special post.

Only very pertinent comments will be approved

What is reality ? 
You are the supreme reality to yourself – the Self, the I that remains the same, still and silent, awake and aware, through your wakeful, dream and deep sleep states in life, from birth through death. 

Clearly, it is not the ego-being that waxes and wanes with its happy and miserable experience. 
You are awareness. Awareness is your another name. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it.

Your present knowledge is due to the ego and is only relative. Relative knowledge requires a subject and an object, whereas the awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object. 

People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. How can it be so ? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. 

When a man realises the Self, what will he see ? 
There is no seeing. There is only being. The state of Self-realisation, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. 

All that is needed is that you give up taking the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real. We have only to give up this practice on our part.

At one stage you will laugh at yourself for trying to discover the Self which is so self-evident. There is no seer there to see anything. The seer who is seeing all this now ceases to exist and the Self alone remains. 

For those who live in Self as the beauty devoid of thought, there is nothing which should be thought of. That which should be 
adhered to is only the experience of silence, because in that supreme state nothing exists to be attained other than oneself.

It is false to speak of realisation. What is there to realise ? The real is as it always is. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before. 

The illustration given in books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The space in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the space there. The space was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply to throw out all the age-long samskaras [innate tendencies] which are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will shine alone. 

Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. It is not to be freshly acquired. All that is necessary is to get rid of the false notion that we are bound. When we achieve that, there will be no desire or thought of any sort. So long as one desires liberation, so long, you may take it, one is in bondage.

If you remain as you are now, you are in the wakeful state; this becomes hidden in the dream state; and the dream state disappears when you are in deep sleep. You were there then, you are there now, and you are there at all times. The three states come and go, but you are always there. 

It is like a cinema. The screen is always there but several types of pictures appear on the screen and then disappear. Nothing sticks to the screen, it remains a screen. Similarly, you remain your own Self in all the three states. If you know that, the three states will not trouble you, just as the pictures which appear on the screen do not stick to it. On the screen, you sometimes see a huge ocean with endless waves; that disappears. Another time, you see fire spreading all around; that too disappears. The screen is there on both occasions. Did the screen get wet with the water or did it get burned by the fire? Nothing affected the screen. In the same way, the things that happen during the wakeful, dream and sleep states do not affect you at all; you remain your own Self. 

There is only one state, that of consciousness or awareness or existence. The three states of waking, dream and sleep cannot be real. They simply come and go. It is the seer who says these come and go. The seer and the seen together constitute the mind. See if there is such a thing as the mind. Then, the mind merges in the Self, and there is neither the seer nor the seen. So the real answer to your question is, `They neither come nor go.' 

What is the difference between the mind and the Self ? 
There is no difference. The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world. Cotton made into various clothes we call by various names. Gold made into various ornaments, we call by various names. But all the clothes are cotton and all the ornaments gold. The one is real, the many are mere names and forms. 

But the mind does not exist apart from the Self, that is, it has no independent existence. The Self exists without the mind, never the mind without the Self. 

Brahman is said to be sat-chit-ananda. What does that mean ? 
Yes. That is so. That which is, is only sat – truth, being. That is called Brahman. The luster of sat is chit – consciousness, knowledge, awareness; and its nature is ananda -- bliss. These are not different from sat. All the three together are known as satchidananda. 

If a man thinks that his happiness is due to external causes and his possessions, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore if he is devoid of possessions, his happiness should be nil. 

What is the real experience of man ? Does it conform to this view ? 
In deep sleep man is devoid of possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realise the Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.

Existence is the same as happiness and happiness is the same as being. The word mukti – liberation, freedom -- is so provoking. Why should one seek it ? One believes that there is bondage and therefore seeks liberation. But the fact is that there is no bondage but only liberation.

Parable of ten foolish men ...
The ten foolish men in the parable forded a stream and on reaching the other shore wanted to make sure that all of them had 
in fact safely crossed the stream. One of the ten began to count, but while counting the others left himself out. `I see only nine; sure enough, we have lost one. Who can it be ?' he said. 

`Did you count correctly ?' asked another, and did the counting himself. But he too counted only nine. One after the other, each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself. 

`We are only nine', they all agreed, `but who is the missing one?' they asked themselves. Every effort they made to discover the `missing' individual failed.

`Whoever he is that is drowned', said the most sentimental of the ten fools, `we have lost him.' So saying he burst into tears, and the others followed suit. 

Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer enquired about the cause. They related what had happened and said that even after counting themselves several times they could find no more than nine. On hearing the story, but seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer guessed what had happened. 

In order to make them know for themselves they were really ten, that all of them had survived the crossing, he told them, `Let each of you count for himself but one after the other serially, one, two, three and so on, while I shall give you each a blow so that all of you may be sure of having been included in the count, and included only once. The tenth missing man will then be found.' 

Hearing this they rejoiced at the prospect of finding their `lost' comrade and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer. While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the ten in turn, he that got the blow counted himself aloud. `Ten,' said the last man as he got the last blow in his turn. Bewildered they looked at one another. 

`We are ten,' they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief. 

However often Bhagavan * teaches us, we are not able to understand. 
* reverential address, meaning God 

People say that they are not able to know the Self that is all pervading. What can I do ? 
Even the smallest child says, `I exist; I do; this is mine.' 
So, everyone understands that the thing `I' is always existent.

What is the ego-self ? How is it related to the real Self ? 
The ego-Self appears and disappears and is transitory, whereas the real Self is permanent. Though you are actually the true Self you wrongly identify the real Self with the ego-self. 

How does the mistake come about ? 
See if it has come about. 

One has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self. 
The ego-self does not exist at all. 

Why does it give us trouble ? 
To whom is the trouble ? 
The trouble also is imagined. Trouble and pleasure are only for the ego. 

Why is the world so wrapped up in ignorance ? 
Take care of yourself. Let the world take care of itself. 
See your Self. If you are the body there is the gross world also. If you are spirit all is spirit alone. 

It will hold good for the individual, but what of the rest ? 
Do it first and then see if the question arises afterwards. 

Is there avidya [ignorance] ? 
For whom is it ?  For the ego-self. 
Yes, for the ego. Remove the ego and avidya is gone. Look for it, the ego vanishes and the real Self alone remains. The ego professing avidya is not to be seen. There is no avidya in reality. All sastras [scriptures] are meant to disprove the existence of avidya. 

How did the ego arise ? 
Ego is not. Otherwise do you admit of two selves ?

How has the unreal come ? Can the unreal spring from the real ? 
See if it has sprung. There is no such thing as the unreal, from another standpoint. The Self alone exists. When you try to trace the ego, which is the basis of the perception of the world and everything else, you find the ego does not exist at all and neither does all this creation that you see. 

It is cruel of God's leela (play) to make the knowledge of the Self so hard. 
Knowing the Self is being the Self, and being means existence, one's own existence. No one denies one's existence any more than one denies one's eyes, although one cannot see them. The trouble lies with your desire to objectify the Self, in the same way as you objectify your eyes when you place a mirror before them. You have been so accustomed to objectivity that you have lost the knowledge of yourself, simply because the Self cannot be objectified. 

Who is to know the Self ? Can the insentient body know it ?  All the time you speak and think of your `I', yet when questioned you deny knowledge of it. You are the Self, yet you ask how to know the Self. Where then is God's leela and where is its cruelty ? Because of this denial of the Self by people the sastras speak of maya, leela, etc. 

Does my realisation help others ? 
Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. 

That will take some years. 
Why years ? The idea of time is only in your mind. It is not in the Self. There is no time for the Self. Time arises as an idea after the ego arises. But you are the Self beyond time and space. You exist even in the absence of time and space. 

All books say that the guidance of a Guru is necessary. 
The Guru will say only what I am saying now. He will not give you anything you have not already got. It is impossible for anyone to get what he has not got already.

I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions ? 
The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; thou this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer. 

I find this hard to understand. Could you please elaborate on this ? 
Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the jnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter's wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. The prarabdha [predestined karma] which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the jnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. 

It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the jnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. 

It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the jnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and he knows that he is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the jnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body. 

You are Bhagavan. So you should know when I shall get jnana. 
Tell me when I shall be a jnani. 

If I am Bhagavan there is no one besides the Self - therefore no jnani or ajnani. If otherwise, I am as good as you are and know as much as yourself. Either way I cannot answer your question. 

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.beasyouare.info/beasyouare.html

Islam – Prehistory, Myths & Present (II)

The Damning Case Against Islam 

Gay muslims
Gay muslims (Photo credit: hebedesign)

Those who are familiar with this blog also know my antipathy

for the Islamic belief – system; not for the people who live with

the same physiology as the rest of humanity, experience the

same emotions, work, laugh and cry, and aspire as we all do.

Indeed, there is a need to understand why Muslims behave as they do; and the followers of Islam need that realisation the most !

Ali Sina, who was born to Muslim parents, writes @ http://alisina.org/about-ali-sina/ :

“We believe that only truth will set mankind free. The truth about Islam is so ugly that no one wants to look at it.  We did and revealed that truth with brutal honesty. The fact is that Muhammad was a psychopath. He was a liar, a pedophile, an assassin, a rapist, a thief, a lecher, a narcissist, a terrorist, a mass murderer and a madman. Muslims emulate a criminal and this explains the madness in the Islamic world.”

Islam divides mankind between Muslims and kafirs – a derogatory term that deniers of truth, blasphemers. And it instills hatred for the unbelievers among its believers, pitching them at a perpetual war, since no one has the authority to erase those canons from Islamic texts. 

We can never have peace when a fifth of mankind adheres to an ideology of hate and worships a psychopath who said non-Muslims are …

  • najis (filthy) (9:28),

  • don’t befriend them (9:23), 

  • let them find harshness in you (9:123),

  • instill terror in their hearts (8:12),

  • slay them wherever you find them (9:5),

  • and their property and women are made halal to you, enjoy them, they are lawful and good (8:69).

This faith of hate must be eradicated for humanity to survive and find its peace. Muslims must be read out the truth to wean them away from the barbaric exhortations of their books. (That indeed is the scope of this series of blog posts.)  The fact that more than a billion benighted souls worship a thug does not make this cult and its founder deserving of respect. The ‘Prophet’ is more of an unhinged cultist like Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara and Charles Manson, than an enlightened soul as Jesus, Buddha or Zoroaster. His is not a religion but a very dangerously misguided cult.

The hour is come to tear down the wall of distrust between Muslims and the rest of mankind. The men who effected over 21000 terror attacks since 9/11 are not a ‘few bad Muslims who have misunderstood Islam and Jihad’. According to Maltus Swiss Research, they have killed 9856 non-Muslims every day on an average in the period between year 2O10 and 2012 alone. It is a political script they following to terrorise others into submission and gain power for themselves.

It is no sane god that raises a religion to divide mankind and institute a never-ending war. Speaking of which, it needs mention that Allah is not God.  Originally known as the Moon god Hubaal (HaBaal in Hebrew),  Muhammad carved this deity in his own image. Like his creator, Allah is a narcissist.  Muhammad described ‘his’  Allah thus : 

khairul mâkerin (best deceiver)  3:54,

al mutakabbir (proud and haughty) 59:23 ,

al jabbâr (compeller, oppressor, tyrant) 59:23,

al qahhâr (subduer)  13:1614:4838:6539:440:16 ,

al khâfid (abaser) 95:5,

al mudhell (humiliator) 3:26,

al mumit (death giver3:1567:15815:2357:2,

al muntaqim (avenger32:2243:4144:16,

al mua’khkhir (delayer71:4 and

ad-dârr (harmer, afflictor6:17.

These are satanic attributes that underscore the threat of triumphant evil residing in man. They already reflect in how Muhammad acted in his own lifetime, treated women and children, and condemned his hordes to a life repressed.

Women, Before And After Islam

33.30 O Consorts of the Prophet !

If any of you are guilty of evident unseemly conduct,

the Punishment would double upon you,

and that is easy for Allah.

31.  But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Messenger, and works righteously,

to her shall We grant her reward twice : and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance.

That is how Muhammad would often remind his several wives to behave, in ways as to not attract the attention of other men and cover themselves up so they do not evoke desire among strangers.

32.  O Consorts of the Prophet !

Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one whose heart is diseased should be moved with desire : but speak ye a speech (that is) just.

33.  And stay quietly in your houses and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. For Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.

Are these verses from God or worries of an impotent aging man with a bevy of young and attractive wives ? Muhammad needed to control his wives and that is the reason behind the Islamic veil.  What was originally meant for the wives of the Prophet became part of Sharia, and is now imposed in all Islamic countries with ludicrous justifications.

That women in Arabia had more liberty and authority before Islam than after can also be evinced from the fact that Khadijah, Muhammad’s first wife, had a business of her own and had many men at her service. Muhammad was but one of her employees. Do we have any instance of a common woman in Islamic society who ran their own business and hired men to work for them ? 

Ironically, there is no mention of men going to suffer any consequence for mistreating their wives. As a matter of fact, men are instructed to abuse their wives verbally, emotionally, and physically.

Q.4:34 Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others; and because they spend out of their property; good women are therefore obedient (to men), guarding the unseen (their private physiology) as Allah has guarded; and (men,) (as to) those women on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places, and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High and Great.

If anyone has any doubt about the position of women in Islam, the above verse should make it clear. It takes away the woman’s independence and leaves them subservient to men. The verse suggests that men are the masters and owners of the house because they are the breadwinners. It implies that women are incapable of, and should not be allowed to, work and become providers. It assumes that a woman’s work at home, their taking care of children and the household, is worth nothing. And the a woman must be grateful for the piece of bread that her husband provides to her.

The entire train of explicit and implicit is worth a recount : First, the women are relegated to the rank of a slave. Then Muhammad goes further… He instructs men to punish their wives verbally, sexually and physically, downgrading them to the level of animals. In a world in which one could pay a fine for cruelty to animals and square up with calls for justice, the teachings of Quran are too obvious to swallow. It is unthinkable that a just God would pronounce such insults on women and condemn them to a life of such horror. The superiority of men over women is also ratified in verse 2:228 where it says : and men are a degree above them (women)”.

Plainly, Muhammad used these scare mongering tactics to collect money from his foolhardy women who gathered around him and listened to his stories because he held the power to shelter them or cast them to the wolves.

In another place the Prophet of Allah compares women to devil.

“Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger saw a woman; so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning leather and had sexual intercourse with her. He then went to his Companions and told them : THE WOMAN ADVANCES AND RETIRES IN THE SHAPE OF A DEVIL, so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart.

~  Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301

Of course, the seer was speaking of the loins when he spoke of the heart. One empathises with how a wife feels while knowing that her husband is fancying another woman and is using her anatomy to merely relieve himself ! The morality of the Prophet of 1.2 billion followers of Islam is stark.

There are numerous verses in the Quran and Hadith that are similarly outrageous. Observe the sense in the following Hadith…

Abu Huraira narrated :

Allah’s Apostle said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” ~ Bukhari Vol 4, Book 54, Number 460

It would seem from these verses that Allah has nothing better to do than worry about the sexual pleasure of his male servants. It is quite absurd that God would employ so many angels to sit around and curse the women who do not please their husbands sexually. Hadiths like these are repeated so frequently that one begins to suspect whether Allah is a dirty old pervert – a voyeur who obtained his pleasure through ensuring that men had their fill of pounding sex with their kept women.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying : By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleasured by her.

~ Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3367

It is easy to see that the Prophet of Islam was excessively concerned with sex. He was an old man with decaying teeth and foul smelling mouth, but with wives who were attractive courtesans. They must have enjoyed their status as the wives of the Prophet and the first ladies of Arabia, but may not have been keen to share the bed with an old man. Were the warnings about angel’s curse and Allah’s wrath were to coerce his wives to sleep with him ?

How can Muslim women endure so much insult and still trust the Prophet ? The following is a very obscene, derogatory and offensive statement from a man regarded as holy…

Narrated Usama bin Zaid :

The Prophet said, “After me, I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.”

Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 33

The moral values and ethical benchmark of Muhammad are revealed in the following story…

Narrated Abu Usaid :

We went out with the Prophet to a garden called Ash-Shaut till we reached two walls, between which we sat, and The Prophet said, “Sit here,” and (himself) went in (the garden). The Jauniyya (a young girl from Bani Jaun) had been brought and lodged in the house in that date-palm garden, in the home of Umaima bint An-Nu’man bin Sharahil. Her wet nurse was with her. 

When the Prophet entered upon her, he said to her, “Give yourself to me (for sex) as a gift.” She said, “Can a princess give herself to an ordinary man ?”

The Prophet raised his hand to pat her so that she might become tranquil. She said, “I seek refuge with Allah from you.” He said, “You have sought refuge with One Who gives refuge.”

Then the Prophet came out to us and said, “O Abu Usaid ! Give her two white linen dresses to wear and let her go back to her family. 

~ Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 182

Didn’t Muhammad have enough women already ? Did he have to mount every beautiful woman, even girls under 10 years of age, whom he met ? We observe his wilful and uncontrolled temper : in a mere moment, he is overtaken by lust and compelled to ask the little Jauniyyah to “give herself to him as a gift”; when refused, he becomes violent and raises his hand to beat her; then, when she screams and seeks refuge with Allah, the brute in him comes to sense and feels guilty for his despicable behavior. To mollify his conscience, he decides to compensate the girl by bribing her with clothes. 

Is this the profile of a mentally stable man ?

For more, visit http://alisina.org/blog/2010/11/11/women-before-and-after-islam/

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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The Blue Tulip – In Truth

What Is It In Truth ?
What Is It In Truth ?

It is a foregone conclusion that it is a lotus first, and that is its truth.

There is no blueness anywhere except in our own minds.

Yet, its place and value in our mundane world is almost entirely on acount of its exotic colour.

It’s no longer a surprise.

Truth is a waste in the world, esp of the beacon holding elites.

A stark self-evident fact, freely available across classes, has no leveraging value to sell and profit.

Truth is when the slightest embellishment is a gross blemish !

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – IV

Truth in one’s knowledge

Love in one’s heart

Beauty in one’s eye

Leads to … Perspective …

to raising consciousness right up to the start of Big Bang

and witnessing time and space evolve in form and faculty

Values Orientation

Moral Strength

Right Action.

The Householder

What does our readiness to gain the mandate to change or transform mean, and involve ?

Since happiness is the very destination of our quest, we are duty-bound to orient ourselves individually to how it would best serve our own well-being and the common welfare.

Yet how do we proceed, what do we focus on ? Truth-realisation is fundamental to rise of long-scale wisdom, to avoiding that tread on which misery trails our good intentions.

The monotheistic religions have no concern with truth. What they seek is followership, the numbers in submission. Both Christianity and Islam abhor freedom of quest, without acceptance of their tenets that bar such curiosity in the first place, and definitely have no place for the challenging questions.

The Hindu has been fortunate : there is no regulator to pry into or question his individual quest. But the problem of diversity remains before the individual : what and which to pursue ?

In the Vishnu Purana, Lord Vishnu is highly eulogised and a secondary place is given to Lord Shiva. In the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva is immensely praised whilst Lord Vishnu is assigned a secondary status. In the Devi Bhagavatam, the Divine Mother is given prominence over Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. All this is done in order to create in the aspirant an intense and unswerving faith in his own favourite Deity. It seems to be declaring : there is nothing that is not absolute; pursue precisely what suits you. All Deities are one; they are different aspects of the same truth. It is simply absurd to believe that the anthropomorphic Shiva is inferior to Vishnu, or vice versa.

In the same manner, in Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna praises Karma Yoga in one place : “The Yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action”—V.2. 

In another place, He praises Raja Yoga : “The Yogi is thought to be superior to the ascetics and even superior to men of knowledge; he is also superior to men of action. Therefore, be thou a Yogi, O Arjuna!”—VI.46. 

In yet another place, Lord Krishna praises the path of Bhakti Yoga : “The highest Purusha, O Arjuna, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Him alone within whom all beings dwell and by whom all this is pervaded!”—VIII.22. 

Again, He praises Jnana Yoga : “Noble indeed are all these; but I deem the wise man as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind, he is established in Me alone as the supreme goal”—VII.18.

But this embracing of diversity, primacy to individual nature and proclivity, becomes a cause for conflict to the linear, logical rationality of the thinking person. A beginner is confused when he comes across these seemingly contradictory verses. It is with some contemplation that we realise … Krishna is praising each path to the same Yoga in order to create interest in the aspirant in his own particular path, as it suits. The Gita is a book for the people of the world at large. It was not meant for Arjuna alone. Each Yoga is as efficacious as the other.

Attachment is due to infatuation. It is the offspring of the quality of Rajas. Detachment is born of Sattva. The former is relatively a demoniacal attribute, the latter a divine one. Attachment is born of ignorance, selfishness and passion and brings with it death; detachment is wisdom and brings with it freedom. The practice of detachment is a rigorous discipline. You may stumble like a baby who is just learning to walk, but you will have to rise up again with a cheerful heart. Failures are not stumbling-blocks but stepping stones to success.

Just as coloured dye stands out more clearly only when the original material is pure white, so also the instructions of a sage penetrate and settle down only in the hearts of aspirants whose minds are calm, who have no desire for enjoyments and whose impurities have been destroyed. For this reason an aspirant is expected to possess the qualifications of keen discrimination, dispassion, control of the mind and senses, and aversion to worldly attractions, before he can practise the three-fold Sadhana of hearing the scriptures, reflecting upon them, and meditating upon their significance. Discipline and purification of the mind and the senses are prerequisites for aspirants on the path of Truth-realisation.

Even when the nature of Truth is explained, those who have not been purged of their faults and impurities would either disbelieve or misbelieve it, as was the case with Indra and Virochana. Therefore knowledge, as it is, arises only in him who has purified himself by austerity, either in this life or in a previous birth. The man waiting for his libido to crank up will do just that.

Devils can also quote scriptures, as most people in the West and inspired ones in the East are doing. Unwittingly, they are following the Virochana school. They are evil-doing, deluded and the vilest of men. They cannot understand that there is no truth without freedom and diversity. 

May Truth grant them a more subtle and purer intellect !

The highest unity is realised only upon embracing the diversity about us.


Journal : Legend And Conjuration

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part VIII : INDIA (1924)

Are the inhabitants of Sikhim poor ?

Where there are no riches there is no poverty. The people are living simply.

Upon the hills, amidst blossoming trees, stand the quiet little houses. Through the colored branches shine the bright stars and glimmer the snow-covered peaks. Here are people carrying their vege­tables; here, they pasture their cattle and smile kindly. Here, with fairylike music they walk along the steep paths in wedding processions. Knowing of reincarnation they quietly cremate the bodies. And they are singing. Mark, they are often singing.

Verily, one can sing under a canopy of various flowers and plants. Orchids, like colorful eyes, cling to the trunks of the giant trees. Pink, purple and yellow bouquets are strewn along the way like bright sparks. And these are not simply plants; many have their ancient powers of healing.

Nature awaits here full of gifts. Come hither and be cured. Charura, Parura, Orrura are the three important curative fruits against cough, cold and fever. Charura is like a yellow cherry; Parura like a green chestnut and Orrura like a yellowish-green crab-apple. All three are sharp to the taste and full of tannin. Here is the red bark of Aku Ombo, to cure wounds. Salve against fever is Sergi Phurba, like a dry giant bean. Chuta, the dry bitter root, will cure swelling and heal the throat. Bassack is a brown powder for colds. The red-stemmed Tze produces magenta; bitter Purma is for incenses. A broth from the roots of Berekuro is effective for women’s ailments. The flowers of Dangero heal the stomach, much like the flower of the red rhodo­dendron; while the leaf of Dysro is a disinfectant for wounds. Memshing Pati is a sacred plant in Nepal, where it is used for head ornaments at festivals. Endless are the useful plants…

The leaves of the herb Ava Duti are said “to soften” stones, just as do the “snow-frogs” * in the Himalayas. Therefore, if upon a stone you see the print of an elk’s foot or the paw of an animal, it seems they have eaten or touched this wondrous herb. Turning again to legends : near Phalut, on the road to Kanchenjunga, grows a precious plant, the black aconite. Its flower lights up at night, and by its glow one locates this rare plant. Here again is the trace of the legend of the Russian fire flower, that enchanted blossom which fulfills all wishes— and which leads us not to superstition but to that same source wherein so much still lies concealed.

* Snow-frogs”—a legend which attributes to snow-frogs the ability to soften stones.

Before our gates was found a strange gift. The branches of a fir tree, rhododendron and some other plants were there, with their leaves pointing to our house, and covered with a flat stone. This is a conjuration (Sunnium) and the man who raises this offering receives upon himself all which is sworn upon it, whether of good or evil, sickness or sorrow, or joy. For many days it lay there and even horses shied at it. The same conjuration we observed in the suburb of Jaipur; there in the middle of a street, in a flat basket, lay a lamb’s liver, flowers and three silver rupees. None touched them. These conjurations are of very ancient origin.

Everywhere are legends of the accidental discoveries of sacred spots, the revelation of which was followed by dumbness and even death. Thus it is told that one Shikari (a hunter) in Assam, accidentally wandered into a sacred place and beheld its mys­teries, and when he attempted to reveal them he was stricken dumb.

On the shore of the sea is moving a stick. It moves on alone and near the top of it is tied a lighted tinder. Thus do the conjurers of the coast of Malabar invoke their conjurations to burn the house of an enemy. Doctor Jones of Calcutta tried to overtake such a stick but it “walked away” beyond his own pace.

A legend from around Mongolia : “A venerated mother died and her son was desirous that a high lama possessed of exalted powers should perform the services over her. But such a lama could not be found. The son at the moment of death deposited the spirit of the departing one into a sandalwood casket, strongly sealed this sanctuary and himself invited the best lamas from Tibet. The lamas concentrated upon the casket; one of them be­gan to change in countenance, first becoming red, then blue from exertion. Then suddenly the casket burst into splinters before the eyes of all. This lama was able to free the spirit and thus could perform the service.”

The people here know everything; they have heard everything. One can remember and disclose all things in the twilight : of “Nam-Yg” (heavenly letters)—the letters and sacred books which are falling from heaven; of rings of silver or turquoise which change their color as a sign of foreboding and warning; of Si, the stone bead, sent from heaven to guard the health; of the finding of objects which disappear afterward. All this is known.

A woman was very pious and dreamt that she might receive the image of Buddha. Working in the morning amid her flowers she discovered an image and brought it into her shrine. But soon she forgot it and Buddha disappeared from the shrine. Next time the woman found in her garden a whirling sparkling stone and put it into a coffer and forgot it. Then the stone disappeared. Neglect always results in the disappearance of the bestowed happiness.

Do not record the things which can be read in books but those which are related to you in person; for those thoughts are the living ones. Not by the book but by the thought shall you judge life.

Understand the sparks of the primordial bliss.

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

Truth & I

This is a spin off from a discussion on the web … on God !

“Is this not an important part of the dynamic multidimensional mind …

Can you find nothing of value with meeting this view, at least as a challenge ?”

My response to the plea is that starting any discussion with God is a bad idea.

Perhaps, ending up at that would make for more sensible exchange.

Consider, what God can we really speak of while we know so little about ourselves ? Sharing personal experiences is fine because that would be on an informal and subjective matter. But to write something on stone would be premature without a clear perception in our truth, with which others can relate and which one can stand up and defend using commonly understood terms.

I do speak of bliss and the Self because they are in our experience and notion; it isn’t the same as speaking of God. Is God relevant to the dog sucking on the bone ? I am not sure if he is even aware of God, but it is plain that nobody in the entire universe is more pleased, fed and satisfied than a dog with a bone. And, like it, our senses need their respective objects to home in, not God as a hard, formal entity. Experience is a matter between the world and us, or us and ourself, subject to rules and laws, norm and order. And the Self is indisputably evident to each one of us.

When I broach bliss infinite, I also speak of zero identity, silence and love, and of the process to take ourself from being between the world and ourself, from sense and vanity, to love without object, to silence without thought. What remains is peace that I term as bliss infinite. So when people with vanity speak of God, I instantly choose to be counted with atheists.

It’s impossible to find someone without vanity ordinarily, much less hear him speak… of God. I am fortunate to have met one such and have heard him speak, when it was plain that he was referring to the all-inclusive truth supreme. The common skepticism at any mention of the over-individualised notion of “inner reality” is understandable. I mean, only an overly vain person would com-municate notions of the “inner” to the dog perched on his senses !

The dog is equally an individual and he ‘knows’ that all other individuals are no different. He would be right in wondering what the whole babble and brouhaha was all about. Almost all voluntary attempts by us at introspection are short-lived and prove to be more of fad or diversion, which make no difference to the individual’s spiritual content or moral perspective. Forced attempts, imposed by others, are worse. 

There is something fateful or innate at work when the introspection abides for long, deepens with increasing withdrawal from material values, without loss of honesty. There is a surge of courage and quiet determination to live by one’s own accepted truths.

* * *

Dawkins was in Jaipur and I found his view a lot more balanced, less bigoted and militant. All knowledge or realisation must deal with morality. As an aside, that is my compelling argument against intellectual property rights. What damned “rights” on knowledge of any kind ? Or, why must we have to give references, when all of what we wish to say is ours, with us ? If it’s not, we shouldn’t be saying it anyway.

The formal aspect of Truth or truths is onerous. There are libraries out there where it goes dry. It is the informal one that I wish to put across : it is mine… and for that reason could be shared with everyone. That Truth is… my HOME, that which is truly me and mine, which I am, with which I can rest without fear, be absolutely free and fulfilled, which nothing in the whole universe can remove or distort. There is no other Truth than the one which is our Home. 

This is no parable I’ve begun. People are spent on a ” home ” for themselves. They build, buy, rent one for their body… a house or apartment, car or craft. But then the worst amongst us, who constitute the 99%, come to believe that the home they have so invested in is also the ”home” to their emotion, to their thought, their identity, and their happiness !

What is concurrent within us, the ego-person, is a build up and an intensification of vanity… which says : I possess; I win; I acquire; I am successful. It is all a matter of process that is normal to our drive and inevitable in our quest.

But, as surely as sure can be, it is vanity too that blocks our outgrowing, our evolution and progression into the true Home …

for our emotion – which is Love,

for our thought – which is Silence,

for our identity – which is Void, and

for our spirit – which is Bliss Infinite. 

The vain phenomenon limits us to what we have, even as it automatically makes us pore over all that we do not have. Without liberating ourself from that acquisitive pitch, we can never give up our right to pride … and can hence never view people with Love or see things with Silence.

To my mind, these are the real aspects and issues to spirituality : Home of the Self and being Void of Vanity. I find these ideals more pertinent to my quest than God. It is these that will address the monstrous twists with which we reduce ourselves to the gutter.  

I myself have experience with belief in God … the Hindu way, which posits that God is all there is in eveidence. It served to connect me better with others, the environment around, and with the wider universe. It topped up my capacity to accept life and its experiences, both happy and sad. It also shored up my ability to remain focused on whatever I had set for myself and fortified my moral strength through clarifying my values perspective.

But I’d fully appreciate if one did not believe in God and could still avail the stated capacity, ability and strength for himself.

* * *  

Our monstrous idiot, Digvijay Singh of the Congress Party, says :  

Can an individual be allowed to hurt the sentiments of the ”people ?” 

My answer is a clear ” Yes,” provided the individual is true to himself in intent and the mode and manner is completely non–violent. I can visualise the Charvaka, the Jain, the Advaiti and the Buddhist … standing in the courtyard of a temple, before a Vaishnava shrine or any place of worship or congregation, professing their contrary beliefs without any physical obstruction or violent opposition. 

That is the culture of this land from ancient times.

That is what we must all affirm today. 

Freedom is above all the freedom of speech and expression… which must allow every person to say what the people do not want to hear, what they disagree with, and what they might find hurtful to their belief.

Of course, I repeat, with the caveat that the expression be accompanied with peace in mode and manner. 

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

 

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – III

What is the most important thing about us, in the way we are ? Admittedly, it would be everything for someone or other, more or less : survival and daily ablutions, basic needs, food, sex, house, travel, car, possessions, girlfriend or wife and family, clothes and sartorial accessoties, home, friends, countryside, fishing or other hobbies, rest and leisure and, of course, money. 

There is nothing the wrong with any of it and there is nothing complete about each of them either. Every time we are fulfilled with these, the fulness lasts for a while, more or less, and recedes. The right or wrong about them lies in ourself, in the limiting manner we are held up by them or in the way we acknowledge it with gratitude and move on in our quest. It is common to begin being defined by what things comes to mean to us, in the way each one of them cyclically fulfills us in some measure, more or less, over and above their truth in the balance. We start with liking them, then are obsessed by them, which we deem as “love,” which but is nothing more than a auto-suggested habit, as it happens in case of addiction.

What would we move on to ? The wit says, self-improvement, which is a wise thing to point but needs more specific pointers to direct ourselves. Improvement along what lines ? It speaks of a more exact and real understanding, a more calm and non-violent values orientation, more moral strength to stand by one’s values, and an evolution towards obtaining a more adequate and complete understanding in truth. But, in a way, I seem to be repeating myself, for all of these are inter-related and inter-dependent. 

The picture then emerges of broadly two kinds of humans, by their spiritual make-up : one that projects and is ready for the conflict and violence and, the other, of one who is involved in examination and understanding than in projecting oneself. So, how do we distinguish them ? By naming the categories and mapping out the essentials of the human animal and the human human. It would be difficult to accept the nomenclature but it is no more than the commonly encountered attitude against admitting that one is imperfect and that one needs to improve !

The mapped essentials are sketched out here below :

 The Human Animal Loop

The Human Human Loop

On the whole, spiritual evolution, moral strength and values orientation are more a matter of understanding and truth, ability and skills, than God, faith and religion. It takes immense effort to understand anything material or mental, and the difficulty only increases when it comes to knowing oneself. There are so many material distractions and preoccupations to overcome, so many trapping psychological hold-ups to encounter, so much failure to persist and retain the quest in focus … When, in fact, the only obstacles are our own naturalised habits !

But the super-human arises out of this battle against oneself. The Vedas and Krishna, in Bhagwad-Gita, acknowledge : ” It’s a wonder. It’s a wonder. It’s a wonder.”

Journal : Awakening… Into The Truth

LOVE AND HAPPINESS

Everybody loves and is happy, more or less. None of which abides though : loves meet the gutter and happiness is flushed in the sink. If we are into possessions, there is always more to have; if sensory experience, more to consume. Feelings and emotions ? There is nothing more mutable than them, by the minute. Thoughts and actions follow … for the same : love and happiness.

There is a love though that is not people- or thing-specific, not even beholden to returns in cash, behaviour or kind. It is not abstract but palpable, like the love we have of ourself … but only to one that is de-identified with lineage, station or familly, with the body, sex or vitality, or with knowledge and ability. 

Such love abides : without the necessity of give and take. It is unworldly, so to say. It not an idea but is ideal, resting on the reality of the truth of an idea realised. It is of the heart, in love with that reverberating in its beat. It needs no other and is more than adequate for all – in nature, people, animals, things, good, bad and ugly – despite conflicts and contradictions in our world of action and thought. One could be opposing to restrain, fight to disable or kill to eliminate, be it one who praises or humiliates, even watch horrible conduct flow out of one’s own self … but that realised idea shines unblemished and with it, the love : perfect in the midst of imperfections, calm through the trail of agitation.

The love we each already have is not dependent on preferred happenings, though we would give ourselves with our whole heart to make things happen. It seeks no change, even while we would be working hard to bring it about. It is placid, in its own thanks of being, in its own freedom from identity and preference, in its own knowledge of truth in one’s own regard, in its own unity with the manifest, felt and unmanifest universe, and in its own bliss, eternal and infinite.

The concomitant happiness is of the nature of peace to which its variants converge with diverse hues : pleasure, joy, satisfaction, contentment, enthusiasm, discovery, welcome, fulness, exhilaration, ecstasy … There is no abiding happiness without eternal love, nor that without true knowledge. 

Though we pick up the words floating in material space, our quest for love and happiness completes itself in the transcendent space of knowledge infinite, where the terms morph into forms unrecognisable from our references in the gross and subtle spaces !

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

THE SANATAN WAY – II

Let a man lift himself by his own Self alone. Let him not lower himself.

  For this self is the friend and this too is the enemy of oneself.”

 

Dualism, Qualified Monism and Monism ( or Pure Monism, to differentiate it from Qualified Monism ) are different rungs in the ladder of realisation of the ontological truth and its respect with our being. They are real perspectival positions that raise concommitant attitudes with which we interact, communicate and regard ourself and other beings in our respect. 

Dualism positions every individuated being as eternally different and separate from the ultimate reality. Deism is dualistic, whether in its pantheistic or monotheistic construct. There is no hope for dualist to ever unify with his or her ideal in truth. The involved belief also brings in terms of power, with the individual considering itself weaker or fallen compared to the deity. A belief in “sin” and “salvation” therefore is natural to dualistic perspective, of being in eternal error and condemned to perpetual imperfection. 

Interestingly, with the deemed inequality between the individual being and the universal one, the concommitant attitude can only admit supplication before the deity and not the love we feel in freedom and identity with the other. The psychological reaction then towards fellow individuals is limited to two natural stream : compassion for the sameness of error and imperfection in our dualistic being or power over the other before they have on ourself in our collective condemnation. And since compassion, both the emotion in our vitality and the empathy born of understanding, does not come naturally into our hounded lives, it is the power game that rules our human order. The world we have created takes its cues from that dualism seated in our awareness of ourself. Not all the religion we subscribe to will displace that primacy on our spirit. We will continue to lie, rob, kill and cheat and confess at the exalted alter, with error as our alibi and power of the deity to forgive as the law. 

The Sanatan way offers alternate relationship models to bridge the fathomless inequality between the individual and God through identity of kind and identity of stature : father and son, mother and child, teacher and disciple, paramour and lover, friend and friend. These relationships, any one, were to be invested to a fulness, completion and perfection, in thought and action, with every passage of breath, till the time its sweetness, innocence and ease settled informally in our heart and let in the waters of love for both the deity and our fellowmen for as long as it takes to inundate the formal dualism in our belief. The distance disappears in actual effect and leads to the rise of Qualified Monism. 

Broadly, qualified monism views this very universe, and the world, as the body of the deity. Each being is then perceived by it as its own and is as dear to it as our own limbs are to us. Love brings compassion in its wake, kindness and forgiveness in our attitude. Power is no longer the primary asset; rather, it is relegated to being very contrary to the love and unity we have already established in our heart and mind, for the deity and for the brotherhood we consequently feel exultant about. Peace and happiness, derivatives directly experienced, become proof of the truth thus realised. 

Panentheism naturally trails qualified monism. The sun, tree, stone or river worshipper actually offers oblations to the primal deity, whose “body” is adorned with the sun and the moon, the stars, the earth and all beings on and in it. It forms and pervades all, as the inscrtable “space.” Among evolved minds however, the forms constituting the “body” are redundant to their connect with One, supreme and universal, because they in any case appear and disappear in time and are rendered non-essential to the living, pervading deity. 

The formless being, void of all adornments, is singularly alone in the perspective of the pure monist. They still refer to it a Existence-Knowledge-Infinite or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Infinite, but only as a true descriptor to that impenetrable, fathomless being in terms of experience here and now, in forms all about and their own. This converging of the universal in our being – body, possessions, other bodies in our relationships, in our vitality, feelings and emotions, mind and thought, intellect, knowledge and bliss, and sans every trace of it all – is the summum bonum of true religion, the innate experience at the root of our spiritual being. 

Pure Monism is then where we are led up to … through fervent worshipful Dualism, which today is fast going out of vogue and increasingly becoming unacceptable to secular, materially grounded and critically aware minds. Relating with the formed immanence of the universe-being, of Qualified Monism, brings the deity within our touch, permitting us to love it in truth, embrace its “presence” in the diversity all around us, respect nature and the environment that envelops us, and actually sense the brotherhood we formally hear of. When the overwhelming love of truth settles, the ground is prepared while we wait on the being-with-void, of pure monism, to inundate the knowledge we have of our self.

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Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

THE SANATAN WAY

The world capitalises on our need to be happy in a variety of ways : by the economic order in which food is available to those who either have land and money for inputs to grow and harvest or have the money to buy it in the marketplace; it keeps billions on our planet hungry and deprived, and enslaved. There are regions where water is sold by owners of fresh water bodies and clean air to breathe can be had only in costly air-conditioned areas. Governments and oligarchs big and small buy up natural resources held untill then in common and, as “property owners,” do as they please untill the environment is too polluted and is no longer self-generating, leaving the “public” more in want of fish, firewood and animals, even air and water that was earlier consumable and freely available till then.

Then, there is the ubiquitous media and “urban” advancements – food, gadgets, civic amenities, security, transport, communication, entertainment, lifestyle – that get propagated to multiply people’s needs, create where there was not, which again ropes in a much larger population that perpetually feel disatisfied, constantly aspires to enter the set graded channels and end up either enslaving, being enslaved, or becoming mediates in between.

The apparent priviledges of the masters too is less real than it seems : they might have more than they need, but the needs multiply, with real risks to their wealth and income; that it all might disappear in a jiffy or diminish alarmingly for any number of causes, leaving them rather poor. If not enslaved by bigger cats in business, there would be robbers and killers on the prowl, or taxmen and politicians who may or may not be humoured unless the stakes are met on the high. Money itself begins to enslave the masters and dangerously too, like a man astride a tiger !

Apart from material causes, rather as perceived material causes, images or impressions in memory, or imagination, trigger the same persistent emotional distress – pain, want, anger or despair, nowhere thoughts, darkness in awareness and inadequacy of being. Every craving that issues of recall and takes us over, everytime we are lost in the maze of thought or are unable to extend it to light, we suffer the same smallness of the slave, of being a mere for-other distressed robot under remote control. Occasionally, some of us meet a guide or chance on our own the ability to hold the dissatisfaction in our very hand and summon the intuitive will to take the grapple on to the next level, where our purity of being fills us with manifold more moral strength and intellectual acuity required to wring the truth out of matters in our subconscious and those thrown up by out mental ground.

Few are fortunate and sagacious enough to remove themselves from this worldly game of being in the master-slave trap, of ensnaring and entrapping others into it. But it continues blatantly for the billions in every secular and religious walk of life; yes, every ‘faith’ plays by it, more or less. 

In the Sanatan way, its varnashrama society codifies the “householder” period of life during which the man is expected to fulfill two goals : acquire income and wealth and attain physical pleasures and sensuous joys. The period covers approximately 25 years, one-fourth of the total, after he has gone through the rigours of leading a celibate life and educating himself in a whole range of disciplines including dharma, which equips him with moral clarity, ethical norms, and a well-etched perspective of matters in truth and the ability to discriminate between right and wrong.

Unlike the contracted souls of bleak, colder climes in the West with fewer hands, less sunshine and deficient resources, which conditions tethered them to survival-induced barbary amongst themselves and compelled them to colonise faraway lands and its populations, the agriculturally rich energy-surplus tropical lands fostered far more expansive and embracing ways of life in the Indian subcontinent. The Sanatan way evolved with the refinement of the thread of thought from Vedic antiquity, its culmination in the Upanishad era and popularisation through the Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Puranas and, above all, the Bhagavad Gita. 

Though there were codified norms laid out by various authorities for public behaviour and conduct in private, the evolution of both the community and the individual was more an integrated and inherited affair, with rules and values perspective even the unlettered were aware of. The elite and the laity grew into the Sanatan way without an elaborate enforcement bureaucracy or judicial vertical, and fell in step in accord with their nature and station. The community was responsible for the welfare of its people; and individuals for themselves, for each other and the community. 

A community of people that lives responsibly must have collective institutions and agreed processes to educate and skill its people in diverse arts and sciences. It must also value truth : as God to theists and as pure knowledge to atheists. The truth is self-evident to the man unified with himself, his day and his environment, his people and his time. How the man’s being expands with thought and action issuing from the unified self, and contracts of segregagtion or alienation, also yields his moral and ethical values. The book merely records them and makes it formal.

The Sanatan way, and the Hindu country, produces scriptures and saints. Untill history began with kings and monuments, and truth was no longer evident : it only remained in debates and arguments. People were no more responsible for their karma, for living out the consequences in their awareness in order to learn, know and remember, and transcend with their awakening. Instead, men and women came to be seized by concerns of wealth and power, slave and enslave !

Karma is the thread vibrating between our immortality and now, over the seen and unseen. It spans the five sheaths of our being across the three great spaces, in our life and death and beyond through umpteen iteration of forms gross, making or unmaking the subtle untill its unity with the causal and ultimate turning away for liberation absolute. Our preoccupation with the body, with material possessions and worldly station only distracts us from the primary task here and now : of attending to the karma pulsating in the unseen. The shrink is of no help … for he only takes his norm and references from the mundane.

Awakening … Into Truth

THE CORE ASPECT

Hypothetically, to a stone, the truth is manifest in its existence but is not perceived; to a tree, it is sensed and even responded to but not thought of; with animals, it is sensed and thought of but not questioned and understood; and, in humans, truth is pondered over, inquired about and progressively understood.

There has never been and will never be when men, some of us, will stop enquiring and examining for this elusive certainty in respect of uncertain existence. Nothing else offers to us a sure ground that stays even when calamity falls, when all is lost or death is at hand, as all else falls short, deserts, changes, moves past or alienates.

Men are happy when their desire is met : whether upon material affluence, when relationship blossoms, our creation comes to shape, a drink is before us, a panorama engulfs us in its beauty, or when unpleasantness departs. Just then, when our “self” is free from prevailing want, without the craving in thought for us to coil about, without the emotion whirling with need to which we get anchored … just then, our self finds itself “released,” detached and un-anchored; our being expands. That freedom, accompanied with expansion of being, with nothing to hold us down, spells happiness. Un-tethered to the pegs of want, unburdened by the weight of need and unagitated by our own dissatisfaction, our being expands of its own, in itself, as we are by ourself.

But our happiness deserts us of the same causes in the reverse : the want resurfaces, a need arises, a desire pre-occupies … the pegs again come to tether us, we again contract to coil about the iterating thought and are again attached to the urge in our emotion. We then become unhappy, over a far more stretched period of time because desires are not met everyday, needs are not fulfilled pronto and our wants remain for long, perhaps forever. 

This is a, nay, the core aspect of our life between long stretches of dissatisfaction and fleeting spikes of happiness, over a stagnant bed of frustration from ever. 

Truth is our home, so to say, knowing which we find ourselves connected with our being, with all being and space itself, to our own situation, all situation and time itself. The object may be without – physical or material – but the want, disatisfaction and joyous phenomenon is our own, within our being, in our vitality, mind and ego-self. No, it does not occur in absolute isolation, without a peer … there is a witness-consciousness peering through the intellect which, if and when we are ready to methodically recall, enlightens us with moment-by-moment facts, the knowledge if which empowers us with the overriding mandate to breaking through the process as it occurs and halt the cyclic phenomenon at our will…  to be continued

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

VEDANTA : I

“Every drop of water would find its way to the ocean.”

I could have done without introducing Vedanta but not without acknowledging the source of the line of progression I embarked upon one day decades ago. There is nothing in life that would have prompted me to take to the reality without and within this inclusive, cosmic fulness. It peeps into man, into each manifest being inert and alive, right since it all was yet unformed and unexpressed. Religions present this simple immanence as the “other” to us and renders it fictional, as yet another something in the humdrum of diversity we are situated in, or someone above the crowded multiplicity we end up dealing with. It was Vedanta that showed to me the way to that enveloping infinetely transcendent immanence that itself projects and permeates this living, breathing, pulsating reality we are priviledged to embody, view and experience.

Vedanta called aloud to me, “It is there, here and everywhere.” And that, it was attainable through this being expressed as us, the I – handle in our psyche at its source, the self I was never without. I remember that resonance when its meaning reverberated within me, filling me with an assurance my spirit was starved of and a trust to authenticity and harmony that was then singularly absent. The call itself was the culmination of humanity’s progressive rise into the truth millennia ago. And as effectively did I, over a period of about 12 years, when I allowed myself to be drawn by its rarefied reach.

The truth perspective of Vedanta is outlined and detailed in the Aranyakas, which include the more familiar Upanishads, the body of thought meant for reclusive and retired forest dwellers given over entirely to spiritual pursuit. It is what the Vedas ultimately lead us up to, after the Samhitas and the Brahmanas exhaust the revelations and purifying rituals to go along with them. The Bhagwad Gita and Brahma Sutras are different treatment and presentation of the same body of truth exposed in the Upanishads, and are hence considered authoritative Vedanta texts : the Gita being more pleibian and the Sutras more scholarly in their respective structure, context and content. These works have spawned a series of commentaries and clarificatory texts over time, right upto modern times, either to refresh that pinnacle of profundity where there is no more subtlety to unravel or to offer perspectival interpretations to suit different natural orientations in human subjectivity – devotion and reverential oneness, friendly and empathetic unity, or the formless undifferentiated being-witness infinite.

Vedanta concerns itself with truths that are superceded, not negated, by ones of higher or more subtle order. In contrast, a whole body of scientific facts have validity only until they are displaced by discovery of more ‘factual’ ones of the same material order. Truths are more subjectively intimate perceptions occasioned by a holistic integration of our multi-layered experience. That dimensional direction towards our within is important in the context of truth. Science, on the other hand, must point outward and insist on objectivity involving rational reductions, physical instruments and measures, and peer group validation of its repeatability and falsifiability. String theory speculations are less “scientific” in comparision.

Too, Vedanta is not a philosophy, which is largely a body of thought, speculative in nature and scope. We have, in any case, not had a philosopher proper in our midst since a couple of centuries now, while humanity has chosen to lay more and more of its lot with science that, in turn, is increasingly focused on areas having application in commerce and technology, with a promise of return on investment. Historically, it does seem that the natural philosophies and principia of yore morphed into the starker, more hard core, scientific treatises of modern times. Today, the only notable ‘ philosophers ‘ we still find occasionally on the horizon are all men of science !

The degree of truth is measured in terms of unmanifest cosmic drives it signifies and the manifest effects it engenders. Its hierarchy orients in the inverse, from the expressed to the subtle, and corresponds to the extent of its real equivalence and conceptual validity. A truth valid over the longer scale is superior to one that holds true for mere minutes, a particular environment or just one species. In simplistic terms, the one which holds good over the entire time scale, the whole of space and all of being, is termed the Supreme Truth.

Whilst Vedanta mentions truths of various kinds in passing, it lays at the very outset its primary focus : the Supreme Truth, its nature and facts, its meaning to man, especially the means and ways for an individual to realise and attain it. It would be clarifying to remember that the truth spoken of in the context of Vedanta is not the opposite of ‘ lie.’ A lie is a dream-like human construct, a creative representation of truth, a fact of the moment that gets contradicted in time. Conversely all truths, other than the Supreme, are illusory in comparison. Higher the truth, the more inclusive it is; and everything it includes are its expression, even if they are in apparent conflict with each other.

Truth is existence and the Supreme Truth is existence infinite. Humans sense the consciousness in their own very existence, and universally in all living and semi-living beings. The same consciousness is sensed or observed to configure itself to different forms of knowledge, identities, ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings, organs and bodies. The difference among these forms lies in their capacity to reflect upon itself and animate the body with their will. In other words, the ‘formed’ knowledge could be fixed or programmed, instinctual but aware, or reflective and with a measure of control over its adjuncts, depending upon the intellectual and mental-vital endowment of the being. Besides, it is sensed that every form of being, animate and inanimate, comes to be on account of convergence of several pre-existing inputs and much energised cooperation at very specific actuated processes respective to manifestation of each form of being. The science we glean of it is the knowledge that pre-exists its discovery.

Vedic ancients hence appended their understanding of the Supreme Truth and described it as ” existence – consciousness – infinite ” or ” existence – knowledge – infinite.” They address the more universal and particular forms of beings anthropologically, but never without the sense of the infinite behind them. Further, in the phenomenal realm, a universal desire and pursuit for happiness, that is, for freedom from need, pain and want is seen to characterise all animals, including man. The same desire was projected and is now proven in plants All human motives, drives and actions are aimed at having happiness in some form or another – satisfaction, pleasure, joy, delight, fulfillment, contentment or peace. The descriptor for the Supreme Truth was thus modified to include this manifest aspect innate in existence; hence : Existence – Consciousness – Bliss – Infinite.

Vedanta suggests that whilst phenomenal truths, finite in their extention, having qualities but limited validity or lifetime, can be observed, studied and contemplated upon objectively and known, obtained or attained, the Supreme Truth is not an object accessible to our senses and mind. If it helps, we may go back to the facts at the origin : one, all truths are superceded in time; and, two, the Supreme Truth alone remains beyond the limits of form and space, and is transcendent of the of time and its effects. In other words, if we were to negate all forms in our vision, all emotions in our experience, all thoughts in our mind, all finite knowledge in our intellect including that of our own self… our own very consciousness would be subsumed in the Supreme Truth, since that alone is not superceded.

Traditions since antiquity admit of all manner of ways of ” uniting ” with the Supreme Truth. Very broadly, it spells the perspective to human needs, goals and endeavour within which such an exercise could be pursued : ethics and moral strength, livelihood and material abundance, sexual and sensory fulfillment, and liberation from all past impressions, present desires and future wants… which “liberation” subsumes in union with the Supreme Truth, the summum bonum. It allows for exceptions from the order or hierarchy of the nature of purposeful exertion, depending upon one’s moral excellence, freedom from sensory desire and focused drive to wipe the inner universe clean in order to maximise conditions for ultimate subsumption.

Journal : Beauty, The Quest

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part I : INDIA (1924)

Siani glides by. Here are the Wells of Abraham. Here are the “Twelve Apostles”—fantastic little islands. Here is Jeddah, the gateway to Mecca. The Moslems on the steamer are praying toward the East, where, behind the pink sands, is hidden their center. To the right the boundaries of Nubia are lying like an ancient cornice. The hulks of wrecked vessels cleave to the reefs. The Red Sea can be merciless as can the Arabian sandstorms. Not in vain does the fiery finger of the Stromboli Volcano threaten and warn by night. But now in the winter the Red Sea is blue, not hot, and the dolphins leap in mad merriment. In a fairylike design lie the Arabian Bays—Korya Morya.

The Japanese do not lose an opportunity to visit the Pyramids. This nation does not waste time. One should see how quickly and sharply their field-glasses move about. And how persistently practical are their questions : Nothing superfluous. This is not the vacant touring of tired Europe. “Well, now finally we will come to an understanding,” says the Japanese in a businesslike way without any sentimentality. And may this businesslike attitude be the guarantee of cooperation !

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In Cairo, in the mosque, sat a boy of seven or eight and chantingly read the lines of the Koran. One could not pass by without noticing his penetrating striving. And in the walls of that same mosque was boldly imbedded the cannon-ball of Napoleon. And that same conqueror of empires broke the image of the Great Sphinx. But if the sphinx of Egypt is mutilated, the sphinx of Asia remains safeguarded by the great deserts. The treasures of the heart of Asia are preserved and its hour has come.

Ancient Ceylon—the Lanka of the Rāmāyana. But where are the palaces and pagodas ? It is strange. In Colombo we are met by the Swiss Consul. The policeman is Irish. A French peddler. A Greek with post-cards. Dutch tea-peddlers. An Italian chauffeur. But where are the Singhalese ? Have they all emigrated to Europe ?

The first aspects of Buddha and Maitreya reveal themselves in the Kelaniya Temple near Colombo. The powerful images are guarded in the dusk of the temple. Hinayāna prides itself before many-varied Mahayana on the refinement and purity of its philosophy. The great restored stupa near the temple re­minds one of the ancient foundation of this place. But, after all, only in fragments do Colombo and Ceylon recall the ancient Lanka of Hanuman, Rama, Ravana and other giants. And for Buddhism, Ceylon is an important site. Many temples and palaces guard the fragments of one of the best periods of the Teaching. Outside of the ruins that are known, numerous unsuspected treasures are buried under the roots of powerful jungles. That which has above the soil gives an idea of the past splendor of the former mighty city. You do not need to search for the places. They proclaim themselves. But exploration can only give results if it is carried on in a broad measure. One must approach such ruins fully fortified, as one palace alone has 900 chambers. Ceylon is an important site.

The public baths near the bitter-sweet mountain, Lavinia, do not suggest the domain of ancient giants. Slender palms shame-facedly bend down to the spray of the tide. Like skeletons stand the fragments of Anuradhapura; consider that Anuradhapura is not entirely explored. And Adam’s Peak is not enticing. By the remains of Anuradhapura one may judge how powerful was Borobodur in Java.

And again, ceaselessly, are gliding by the faces of our fellow travelers : the Japanese, with whom we wept over the remains of the Cairo Pyramids that have passed from a valiant history to become the curio-museum of a greedy guide.

Is it really India ? A thin shore line. Meager little trees. Crevices of dessicated soil. So does India hide its face from the south. And the black Dravidians as yet do not remind us of the Vedas and Mahabharata.

Multi-colored is Madura with the remains of Dravidian strata. All the life, all the nerve of the exchange, was near the temple. In the passages of the temple are the bazaar, the court, the sermon, the reciter of the Ramayana, the gossip, and the sacred elephant who wanders in freedom; and the camels of the religious processions. The ingenious stone carving of the temple is colored with the present-day crude colors. Sarma, the artist, sorrows over it. But the city council did not listen to him and colored the temple according to their own plan. Sarma is saddened that so much of fine understanding is gone and has as yet been replaced only by indifference.

He warns us not to go far in our European attire because some elements of the population may be hostile. And yet Madura is a city of 1,000,000. Sarma inquires about the condition of artists in Europe and America. He is genuinely surprised that the artists of Europe and America can live by the labor of their hands. It is incomprehensible to him that art can provide a means of livelihood. With them, the occupation of artist is the most profitless one. There are almost no collectors. Sarma himself, tall, in white garments, with sad, calm speech, awaits something better, and knows all the burden of the present.

There was no possibility of a meeting with Tagore. Strangely such things happen in life. In London, the poet found us. Then in America we succeeded in meeting him in New York; and he also met George in Boston. But in India itself we did not meet ! We could not go to Bolpur and Tagore could not be in Calcutta. He already was preparing for his tour in China.

There were many curious occurrences. In Calcutta we tried to find Tagore. We thought that in his native city his name would be known on every corner. We took a motor and requested to be taken straight to the poet Tagore, and in vain we rode for three hours through the city. First we were taken to the Maharajah Tagore. Then a hundred policemen and peddlers and passing Babus sent us into the most varied alleys. Finally six volunteer guides were hanging on our motor. And so we ourselves, in this bushy manner, finally remembered the name of Dwarka Nath Tagore Street, where the house of Tagore was situated.

It is said that when Tagore received the Nobel prize, a depu­tation from Calcutta came to him, but the poet severely asked them : “Where were you before ? I remain the same person, and the prize has not added anything to me.” Greetings to Tagore !

We met the relations of our friend Tagore—Abanindranath Tagore, brother of Rabindranath, artist head of the Bengal School. Gogonendranath Tagore, nephew of the poet, also an artist, sec­retary of the Bengal Society of Artists. Now he imitates the modernists. A splendid artist is Kumar Haldar, present Director of the School in Lucknow. Hard is the life of the Hindu artist. Much resolution is needed in order not to abandon this thorny path. Greetings to the artists of India ! Why is it that in all countries of the world the condition of scientists and artists is so precarious ?

Thorny also is the way of the Hindu scientists. Here, before us is an example, in a struggling young scientist, a biologist and pupil of Sir Jagdish Bose. He began his laboratory in the name of Vivekananda. In his peaceful little house above the laboratory is a room dedicated to the relics of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and other teachers of this group. This young man, pupil of the closest pupil of Vivekananda, carries into life the principles of this master, who fearlessly proclaimed his evocation to action and knowledge. In this little top chamber he formulates his thoughts, surrounded by the things which belonged to his beloved leaders. One remembers vividly the portraits of Ramakrishna and his wife. Both faces impress one with their purity and striving. We sat in complete silence near this memorial hearth. Greetings !

Who can explain why the path of knowledge and beauty is the most difficult ? Why does humanity accept with such hesitation all that is predestined ? It is therefore the greater joy, to see in India, the signs of an ascent of knowledge and art. It is joyful to see that in India the number of schools is increasing and that legions of new enlightened workers for science and beauty are ready to serve in the victory of evolution.

In Calcutta, not far behind the city, are two monuments to Ramakrishna. On one shore, Dakshineswar, the Temple where long lived Ramakrishna. Almost opposite, across the river, is the Mission of Ramakrishna, the mausoleum of the teacher him­self, of his wife, of Vivekananda, and a collection of many memorable objects. Vivekananda dreamt that here should be a real Hindu University. Vivekananda took care of this place. There is a great peace here and it is with difficulty that one realizes oneself so near to Calcutta with all the terror of its bazaars and confusion.

We met Sister Christine, almost the only living pupil of Vive­kananda. Her useful work was broken up by the war. And now, after the lapse of many years, Sister Christine has returned again to the old site. The people are changed. The conscious­ness is consumed with local problems. And it is not easy for Sister Christine to find contact with the new waves of Hindu life.

On the memorable day of Ramakrishna, as many as half a million of his admirers gather.

From the purest to the most hideous : In special streets of Bombay, behind bars, sit the women prostitutes. In this living merchandise which clings close to the bars, in these outstretched hands, in their calls, is contained the whole terror of bodily desecration. And a Hindu Sadhu passes through with his burning incense in order to purify the spot !

When we entered the Chartered Bank of India—out of the door there came to meet us the sacred cow; and how strikingly amusing was this correlation of bank and sacred cow !

The tigers roar in Jaipur. The Maharajah has forbidden any one to shoot them. In Golta Pass two tribes of monkeys are at war. The guide arranges a battle for a most reasonable fee. Nowadays all battles may be arranged thus easily !

The Fakirs are seated, “charming” the old, half-living toothless cobras. The pitiful Hatha-yogi is whirling in the bazaar, making the most gymnastic contortions for the purification of his spirit. “The spiritualist” offers to make the carriage move without horses, but to do this it is necessary “that there should not be one cloud in the sky.”

And along with this is a fantastic and romantic fragment of old Rajputana—Amber where the princesses looked down from their balconies upon the tournaments of their suitors; where every gate, every little door, astonishes one by the correlations of its beauty. Near here is the penetrating and fantastic Golta Pass which could not be imagined in any fantasy—only the “play” of life can accumulate such unexpected creations. And here also is Jaipur with its fairylike astrological observatory and with the charm of an unspoiled Hindu Moslem city. Fatehpur-Sikri, Agra—rare chips of a departed culture. And the frescoes of Ajanta are already unsafe.

All the remains of the constructions of Akbar have a veil of seeming sadness. Here the great Unifier of his country buried his best visions so misunderstood by his contemporaries. In Fatehpur-Sikri, he conversed with his wise Birbal, and with the few who had attained his level. Here he built the temple of universal knowledge. Here he lost his few friends and foresaw that the welfare of the State created by him, would not be preserved. And Agra and Fatehpur-Sikri are full of a kind of limitless sorrow. Akbar knew how the well-being which he bestowed on his people would be pillaged. Perhaps he already knew how the last emperor of India would live to the middle of the nineteenth century, peddling the furniture of his palace and chipping from the walls of his palace in Delhi the fragments of mosaics.

With all the dustiness gathered by time, the architecture of Benares still retains its charm. All the mixture of form of the old Hindu, Dravidian and Moslem, can give new solutions to the unprejudiced architect. One can easily imagine a combina­tion of the many-storied Tibetan structure, with the comforts of an American sky-scraper. One can draw a parallel from the palaces of Benares to the palaces of Venice and to a livable private dwelling. One can develop the style of American pueblos, with the newest understanding, as is being done in Santa Fé.

A Hindu complained to me of the lack of Hindu architects. I said to him, “If there are no architects, let an artist develop an idea, but let him proceed from out of the harmony of the folk consciousness combined with the character of its nature.” One cannot defile the whole world with a uniform building. One cannot make out of Java a Swedish Stockzund. And one cannot visualize Comanches and Apaches in the houses of Boston. Ap­propriateness must be maintained.

On the shores of the Ganges, a gray-bearded man, cupping his palms like a chalice, offers his entire possessions to the rising sun. A woman quickly telling her rhythms performs her morn­ing Pranayama on the shore. In the evening she may again be there, sending upon the stream of the sacred river a garland of lights as prayers for the welfare of her children. And these fireflies of the woman’s soul, prayer-inspired, travel long upon the dark watery surface. Beholding these offerings of the spirit one can even forget the stout priests of the golden temples. We are minded of other things. We recall those Yogis who send into space their thoughts, thus constructing the coming evolu­tion. Not the usual priests these, but active hermits; they are bringing our thought near to the energy which will be revealed by scientists in the very near future.

Gigantic stupas of Buddhism—burial mounds surrounded by a fence. The same Kurgans of all centuries and nations. The Kurgans of Upsala in Sweden; Russian Kurgans of Volhov on the way to Novgorod; the Steppe Kurgans of Scythians, sur­rounded by stones; all tell the legends of the same solemn crema­tions which have been described by the skillful Arabian traveler, Ibn Fadlan. Everywhere, the same purifying conflagrations.

Everywhere, much incense, rose water and fragrant sandal-wood. Hence the smoke from the bodies in the Burning Ghats of Benares is not turbid. And in Tibet, also, cremation is used.

Regard the gentle child games of the Orient—and listen to the complicated rhythms of the chants and soft music. There are not evident the profanities of the West.

The Maharajah of Mysore is awakened with special songs— songs of beginning and of end.

In Madura in a crowded alley, an old man models the forms of the “sacred images.” He is the last old man—with him dies this knowledge. Thus is dying the past. So is approaching the future.

On the fields are standing, in circles, the figures of white ceramic horses. Whence are these resplendent mounts ? Upon them, the subtle bodies of women are said to go galloping through the nights. Backs, which are doubled during the day in household tasks, at night are made erect in flight. Shall one say it is a goat’s leap to the gathering of witches ? No, rather is it the flight of the Valkyries—the virgins of the air—the leap toward a wondrous future.

Each day a woman’s hand molds the sand at the entrance of the house into a special design. This is the symbol that within the house all is well, and there is neither sickness, death nor discord. If there be no happiness in the house then the hand of the woman becomes stilled. A seeming shield of beauty is placed before the house by the hand of the woman at the benevo­lent hour. And little girls in schools early are being taught a variety of designs for the signs of happiness. An inexplicable beauty lives in this custom of India.

Vivekananda called the women of India to work and to free­dom. He also asked the so-called Christians, “If you so love the teaching of Jesus why do you not follow it ?” So spoke the pupil of Ramakrishna who passed through the substance of all teachings and learned through life “not to deny.” Vive­kananda was not merely an industrious “Swami”—something lion-like rings in his letters. How he is needed now !

“Buddhism is the most scientific and most coöperative teach­ing,” says the Hindu biologist, Bose. It is a joy to hear how this truly great savant who found his way to the mysteries of plant life speaks about the Vedanta, Mahabharata, and about the poetry of the legends of the Himalaya. Only true knowledge can find the merited place for all existing things.

And accompanying the voice of the savant, simple and com­prehensive, the silvery tones of an electric apparatus tinkle out the pulse of the life of the plants, reopening pages of the world’s knowledge, long since sealed.

Bose’s mother in her day sold all her jewels in order to give her son an education. The scientist, in demonstrating “His king­dom,” says : “Here are the children of the rich in luxurious con­ditions. See how they become puffed and baggy. They need a good storm to bring them back to healthy normalcy.” Know­ing the pulse of the plant world, the scientist approaches whole­somely all the manifestations of life. He values highly Timiryaseff’s review of his works. One of Bose’s best books was written on the heights of the Punjab in Mayavati—in the shrine of Vivekananda. Vivekananda departed too soon. Bose and Tagore—noble images of India !

The frescoes of Ajanta, the powerful Trimurti of Elephanta, and the gigantic stupa in Sarnath, all speak of other ancient times. And this former beauty also glimmers in the fine and slender silhouette of a woman who carries her eternal water—water which feeds the hearth.

And the well, as in biblical times, remains the central spot of the whole population.

Journal : Beauty, In Truth

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Serge Whitman : We who search the paths of international understanding and the structure of universal peace, must look upon Roerich as the apostle and forerunner of this new world of all nations.

An extensive literature is dedicated to Nicholas Roerich. A large monograph “Himalaya,” published by Brentano’s, New York (1926), gave 100 reproductions of paintings Roerich made during 1923-25. Another, published by Corona Mundi in 1923, International Art Center, introduced to the world the phases Roerich”s consciousness morphed through in its quest for beauty and peace that he sought for us after the gore and gloom of the First World War.

For four and a half years, Roerich traveled the Indian Himalayas, over the Silk Route through Central Asia to Mongolia, before returning to Tibet. Precisely, his expedition started in 1924 from Sikkim, then an independent kingdom, through British India region of Punjab and Kashmir in Himalayan foothills, on to Ladak, Karakorum, Khotan, Kashgar, Karashar, Urumchi, Irtysh, Altai Mountains, Oyrot region, Mongolia, Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, and Tibet.

Apart from the paintings he made during that mem­orable journey, Roerich kept a diary of sort with jottings, travel notes, those “thoughts upon horseback and in the tent,” contemplations induced by lofty mountains and boundless deserts, all wrapped in the inviolable secrecy of the East.

The publishers called Roerich’s write up “The Symphony of Asia.” But Roerich himself wrote in a letter, in 1925 : “Friends, it would have been far easier for me to have set down the entire journey in all its fairy-tale of ‘fantasy,’ which colors every peak and every desert space with unprecedented truth. But then some will be incredulous, as he who sleeps in darkness does not believe in the sun. Is it possible that the sun is already rising ? Facts are needed. I am writing only facts. I am setting down fragments of the thoughts as they now live in the East. I am setting down distances and tales, as they are now related. But even in facts, the Sunrise comes from the East.”

Then, after its lengthy wanderings in Tibet, came this telegram on May 24, 1928 :

Roerich American Expedition after many hardships has reached Himalayas. Thus ended big Central Asiatic Expedition. Many artistic and scientific results. Already sent several series of paintings to New York. Hope last sending from Mongolia safely reached you. Many observations regarding Buddhism.

Peaceful American flag encircled Central Asia. Everywhere warmly greeted except Khotan and Lhasa Governments. Further movement Expedition from Khotan assisted by British Consul at Kashgar. On Tibetan territory have been attacked by armed robbers. Superiority of our firearms prevented bloodshed. In spite of Tibetan passports Expedition forcibly stopped by Tibetan authorities on Oct. 6, two days north of Nagchu. With inhuman cruelty Expedition has been detained for five months at altitude of 15,000 feet in summer tents amidst severe cold about 40 degrees below Centigrade.

Expedition suffered from want of fuel and fodder. During stay in Tibet five men, Mongols, Buriats and Tibetans died and ninety caravan animals perished. By order of authorities all letters and wires addressed to Lhasa Government and Calcutta British authorities seized. Forbidded to speak to passing caravans. Forbidded to buy foodstuffs from population. Money and medicines came to an end. The presence of three women in caravan and medical certificate about heart weakness not taken into consideration. With great difficulties on March 4, Expedition started southward. All nine European members of the Expedition safe. Courageously bore hardships of exceptionally severe Winter. Greetings.”

I have chosen to serialise Roerich’s work because, I believe, we all need to have a glimpse of that spirit and its quest, that yet oriental culture, as it was before its westernisation, that yet untrampled topography and pioneering adventure, and those words yet special, in their wonder and pithiness. The excellent “intoduction” here below speaks of “surface existing for depths” and an “aura that brightens the darkness” with which you, dear reader, might well strain to connect but emerge refreshed in ways that is becoming increasingly rare in our electronic age. It merits both my extraordinary belief in beauty and my hope for personal evolution.

INTRODUCTION – By Publisher

ON May 8, 1923, Nicholas Roerich left America for India, and he has been wandering about in remote, dangerous and seldom-visited parts of Asia ever since. “Altai-Himalaya” is the record of his mission, just as his series of pictures “Tibetan Paths,” “Banners of the East,” “His Country,” are records in terms of paint. But “Altai-Himalaya,” though penned on horseback and in the tent, under conditions the most difficult, is as much more, and as much richer than the ordinary diary of travel, as his paintings of the Himalayas are more than a literal transcription of some of the earth’s most magnificent scenery. For in whatever medium Roerich works, or in whatever he is expressing, there shines forth not only the artist, but the embodied intelligence – the man, the whole character of the man. Though sincere and simple, it is a character compounded of such unusual elements as to be on its esoteric side uncomprehended.

Now, “esoteric” is to most ears either a meaningless or a hateful word : what do I mean by it in this connection ? I should perform for Roerich an ill service if I failed to answer such a question, because it would be to avoid mentioning what seems to me the very raison d’être of his journey, his art, his life. And yet how is it possible to make intelligible or even plausible what I have in mind ? Without attempting to elucidate, explain or justify it, therefore, I shall simply say that there is a tenable point of view from which one may regard Roerich as an envoy of those powers which preside over the life and evolution of humanity in the same sense that gardeners preside over a garden : that he journeys into desolate and forbidden lands for the fulfillment of a mission, the purpose of which will increasingly reveal itself. Whether one believes this or not, it would be hard to imagine a better ambassador of good will from the West to the East, for the reason that although he represents the summit of European accomplishment and culture, Roerich is deeply Oriental in his temperament, sympathies and point of view.

One has only to look at him to see – or, if you must have it so, imagine – the reincarnated Eastern sage. In Little Tibet, and in the white vastness of Siberia he was received with an honor, accorded a confidence and even an affection, quite different from the ordinary attitude of these peoples toward strangers, which has the reputation of being covertly or openly hostile. Roerich and his caravan encountered frustration and hostility, too, and in full measure, but it is interesting to note how exactly in proportion to the spiritual development of the various peoples he encountered was their response to his unique quality, and their recognition of the unprecedented nature of his mission among them.

This book was written “in the saddle,” more literally than figuratively. There is a certain vividness, immediacy, authenticity about it for this reason, giving the reader a sense of actual participation perhaps impossible to be imparted in any other way, together with intimate glimpses of the workings of the author’s mind in the presence of sublime scenery, new human types, strange manners and customs, and under the assaults of hardship, danger, and the stresses and strains of exploration in almost untrodden lands. Roerich is a man of original, strong and definite personality, of which everything he does bears the stamp. His expressions are themselves revealing, eloquent – not only of himself, but of the thing he is attempting to describe. The one-, two-and three-word sentences, the subjects without predicates – they have been suffered to remain just as he wrote them because they have so much the merit of the sketch, the jotting, put down in the moment of that “first fine careless rapture” which in a more premeditated form of art is likely to leak away.

This is a book whose surface exists for the sake of its depth, and even for concealing from all but the most penetrating, what that depth contains, as surfaces sometimes do. But in order to give you every possible advantage, and for your further enlightenment upon Roerich’s antecedent accomplishments and life, I shall devote the remainder of this essay to what I have learned and know of Roerich, and what I think of him.

In the history of the fine arts, certain individuals have appeared from time to time whose work has a unique, profound and indeed a mystical quality, which differentiates them from their contemporaries, making it impossible to classify them in any known category or to ally them with any school, because they resemble themselves only – and one another, like some spaceless and timeless order of initiates. Such were Leonardo, Rembrandt, Dürer, Blake, and, in other fields, Beethoven and Balzac; such also, in our own times and in a lesser way, were Rodin, Ryder and Burne-Jones, for their work show flashes of that dæmonic and eerie beauty which is the sign whereby they may be identified as belonging to that mythical, mystic brotherhood.

Roerich, in his life, in his character and in his art reveals himself as a member of this fraternity. For thirty-five years – since the time of his first exhibition in Russia – he has been going up and down the world – Europe, America, Asia – absorbing the auras of diverse peoples, making pilgrimages to remote places, and always and everywhere scattering wisdom, planting seeds of beauty, some of which have sprung up, flowered and scattered seeds of their own.

In Russia, as secretary of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, and later as director of the school of that society, he was an important agent in organizing and coördinating that native, new and powerful impulse which in painting, in music, in the drama and the dance later spread throughout the civilized world : for it is not too much to say that everything which now goes by the name of modernism had Russia for its cradle. It is significant in this connection that Stanislavsky enlisted Roerich’s aid in the Moscow Art Theatre, that Stravinsky dedicated to him the Sacre du Printemps, for which Roerich designed the original mise-en-scène, and that Andriev, Gorky, Mestrovic, Zuloaga, Tagore and others throughout the world, who represent the newness, have paid him the tribute of their homage and their praise.

Coming to America with an exhibition of his paintings, at the invitation of the Chicago Art Institute, Roerich immediately took steps to resume and repeat the work he had inaugurated in Russia, that of uniting the arts, and thus uniting men through beauty, for he believed, as many others are coming to believe, that beauty is the universal and true solvent whereby racial and national animosities may be dissolved. To this end, he founded, with the help of friends, a school in which all of the fine arts were to be taught, under the title of Master Institute of United Arts, and a year later he established Corona Mundi, an International Art Center. The school passed through those vicissitudes which usually beset enterprises of this character in a civilization such as ours, the best image of which would be a rush-light in a wind-swept darkness – but it survived, and has today a permanent home on Riverside Drive, New York. Other vast outlines, sketched by Roerich at this time, have not been filled in : they include Cor Ardens, an affiliation of the creators of beauty everywhere throughout the world, and Alatas, an international, non-commercial publishing association for the interchange and dissemination of new and constructive ideas through the mediumship of the “art preservative.”

I mention these enterprises to show the vast sweep of Roerich’s vision, to indicate his function as a prophet and pioneer, clearly foreseeing and quietly planning a better order in a world still in the grip of its so recent terrible nightmare, not yet risen from a bed drenched with blood and stained by tears.

Should his prophecies come true, and should his dreams of binding humanity into a brotherhood through beauty materialize, it is for this that he will doubtless be most honored and longest remembered, but to us, his contemporaries, he is naturally best known as a painter of hauntingly beautiful pictures. These are of all kinds and on a vast variety of subjects, but in general they represent nature strained though a mystical consciousness – the light that is on sea and land translated, by some potent magic, into the light that never was on sea or land. Roerich satisfies the idealist without affronting the realist. Mukerji, the Hindu novelist and poet, remarked to a friend that if he wanted to know how the Himalayas impressed a beholder, he should see Roerich’s paintings of them, because along with true rendering of their form and color, something of their spirit was communicated too.

After a brief sojourn in America he forsook the ordered and easy life of cities, and unappalled by the rigors, dangers and difficulties of such a quest, he set out for Asia, “trailing clouds of glory” as he went, so to speak, in the shape of paintings of the Grand Canyon, the Santa Fe country, the Pacific, India and the Far East. The culmination of his life work, up to the present, is in those groups of paintings named by him “The Tibetan Path,” “Himalaya,” and “Banners of the East.” These are freighted with mystical meanings which, even though unintelligible to all save the initiated, yet act upon the unenlightened consciousness as does perfume upon the senses, or as music upon the emotions. It is not that Roerich attempts to be deliberately cryptic – on the contrary, a very great deal of his symbolism is almost naïve in its simplicity – but the average mind so resents the very idea of esotericism, that it closes itself to a certain extent.

Roerich’s symbolism, as I say, requires no glossary, possessing the characteristics of directness and universality. An example of his general method is seen in that painting of what he names the Messiah series, entitled, “The Miracle.” It represents a titan valley, not unlike the Grand Canyon, a world primeval, stark, rock-strewn, without visible flora or fauna. Prominent in the foreground is a natural bridge, and over this bridge passes a road. On the near side of the bridge are a few human figures, prostrate before the miracle of a great radiance coming from behind the bridge, the aura of some supernatural presence whose figure is not yet visible. Here is a simple, natural symbology subject perhaps to different interpretations, but none of them contradictory. Considered objectively, the picture is simply a dramatization of that expectancy of a messiah which is so general nowadays, and it holds forth the healing promise, that though his presence is not seen, his aura brightens the darkness, his influence is already felt. Considered from the standpoint of subjectivity, the denuded valley might symbolize the condition of the soul after trials and purgations; the road, the “small old path” to freedom and perfection; the bridge, that stage on that path where the transit is effected between the lower and the higher consciousness; the prostrate figures, those “qualities” which must be redeemed and “carried over,” awe-struck at the miracle of the felt approach of the “golden person” bringing release from the bondage through the shining of the inward light.

But the great merit of this picture, freighted as it is with meaning (and that of others of its class), lies in its beauty of color and composition. The mystic and metaphysician in Roerich never submerge the artist, with the result that when he permits himself the use of symbols he is still lyrical and not literary: his pictures are not sermons, but songs. “The Miracle,” despite the fact that it conveys a message, is not a morality so much as a delight to the visual sense, abounding in spatial rhythms and color harmonies as fine and subtle as those of some priceless old yellow Chinese rug. The “story” is there, but the final indelible impression is one of beauty, and this is as it should be, for in the hierarchy of trades and talents the creative artist is nearest to the throne of God.

Of Roerich’s archæological pictures I shall not speak, nor of his pioneer work in the theatre, important as that has been, because I feel that these things, which at one time absorbed his mind and dominated his consciousness have since become far less important to him than what I shall call his mystical quest. One has the feeling that in everything he does he is seeking the hidden truth, the unrevealed beauty, the Lost Word, in point of fact. Like some mighty indefatigable hunter, armed not with a gun, but with his pen and brushes, he stalks his quarry across oceans, rivers, mountains, though knowing all the while that the thing he is seeking is in himself. Both in his writing and in his paint­ing he permits us to participate in this adventure, and thus draw nearer to that truth which is beauty, and that beauty which is truth.

CLAUDE BRAGDON

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

IV             Whom The Way Calls

In common with every other perception, experience and knowledge, the way to truth surfaces within ourself. The witness in object–subject relatedness is forever between the fact in our eye, the meaning in our perception and the knowledge with ourself, including of our own self at the foundation of our subjectivity. 

In setting ourselves up on the way to truth, we shall have to exclude much, nearly everything, and all ultimately. This work therefore does away with jargons common in religious texts, and most certainly their fervour and calls on faith, though not the values or knowledge they signify in a philosophical or spiritual discourse. This work is about us, our being as we are and as it resonates with us. If we are a creation, and only the vain or absolutely knowledgeable amongst us will aver that we are not, there is an urgent need to discover its universal matters of fact.

Each one of us is in a material environment, with a body that is wondrously formed – a marvelously organised physiological system. It works excellently without our intervention, very predictably if watered and fuelled timely, adequately and appropriately. It signals for its needs from time to time, for particular cares necessary on account of environmental factors, and warns us of its misuse, activating alarms when stretched too far and even scaring us into mending our abusive ways. And if we let it be, not deny it of rest and sleep, it diagnoses its problems to correct, undo, regrow and recover by itself.

But however dire, immediate and wholly intimate it feels, our body is only as it serves us to mutually survive and a mere means for adults to use it as they choose. Sure, we deliberately dress it up to impress or time its presence to surprise others, who look upon it as we are in their perception, what we mean and how they deem. All men and, as I hear, some women too, know how beautiful the fairer gender can seem. We all have a story or two to tell about the powerful impact of their inviting curves, mesmerising countenance or awesome proportion. But mostly it soon clarifies and we begin to look beyond the body before us, at the person behind or within it… at the one who is thinking and opining, emoting or touching, setting the deal or laying the trap for us ! 

Not everyone is a human soul; not yet, though every person has a line to one. Most of us are animals without their nakedness, which is both an advance and the first lie we tell ourselves, and project to others. The religion we subscribe to is for afterwards – to confess and feel awashed for a new day of lust and greed, apathy and lies. In Islam, the communal faith confers celestial merit and heavenly rewards for what, in the eyes of you and I, is inhuman behaviour and subhuman conduct. We are informed that it is growing the fastest ! Clearly, being with a normal human body, most of us are not wanting in intelligence; but it is through developing the intellect, equipping it with universal human values, that we characterise ourselves with humanity. Fostered in an environment of entrenched feudal power structures, equally common in rigorously instituted religious societies and in those with extreme Gini index, it is our intellectual blindness that arrests our spiritual evolution to universal values, individual liberty and creative freedom.

I really am not sure how far the truths laid out in these pages would resonate with the beast within us. But there are many who are prone to be content and happy, even if disadvantaged or less fortunate than those around. They might be hounded into moral fatigue or failure on occasions but, by nature, are courageous enough to follow their calls of conscience in utter honesty and truth. Their ethics is their life and covetousness has no place in it, though they might not be entirely free of envy. It is these individuals, I trust, who would have the patience, love and the pure drive for the quest of truth. Likely, I believe, they would have the richness of experience that living against our animal propensities invariably fetch us, and the internal instrument to intuit the facts of spirit, as opposed to those of matter. They would sense the sinister in propaganda, however socially acceptable, and self – promotion would be beyond the pale of their own instinctual priority. Though not ashamed, they would be aware of unhappy consequences of unchecked lustful impulses, and of those easy inner processes which lead us to greed. They would value facts, liberty and truth, and constantly initiate to add, examine, change or modify their own views and perspective. They would be happiest leading clean, honest lives, being monogamous in their affection, nurturing moral and ethical values in their progeny, extending their love to beings and having a ready regard for life everywhere.

It is for them that I have the pleasure of writing these essays. But that is only to give me a start. There is no one who cannot arise, raise himself here and now, and step up to gain from these truths I have availed from my glimpses of Vedanta.

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

III             The Fact In The Way

There is no way to any absolute truth for those of us who are not taken up exclusively by the drive to know; untill then, facts would be the truth of our moments and action our refuge for what is in our desire and want or in our hatred and revulsion.

The desire to know the ” other ” drives us into subjective relationships and to objective studies along diverse disciplines : science, commerce, economics, politics, medicine, sociology, management, and the arts. Sure, we sharpen our intelligence during the course of our study in these fields. But that does not necessarily develop our intellect, our perspective and values system. The depths we illuminate in our intellect with our effort have a calming effect upon us. The process equips us with several skills to focus, study, observe and remember, analyse, concentrate, clarify and integrate… all of which come handy when we embark on an a-religious, matter-of-fact study of our self.

As the subjective being, our self is never without an object, whether in ourself or about the other. Our being is complicatedly diffused among others-in-self and self-in-others projections in the mind, revealed in dream state, but the differentiated subject – object paradigm obviously persists. In deep sleep, the being is apparently in a state of undifferentiated “absence,” and there is no subject-object divide in awareness. There is a consciousness though that arises when we wake up with the memory of being “blissfully asleep”. 

The entire cyclic sway from differentiated to undifferentiated consciousness, and back, from all to nothing and back, is moot. It isn’t just diurnal but very exactly sums up our lifetime as well, through birth to death and back, at all kinds of entry to exit and back, and every psycho-vital experience with their respective extremities : love and hate, thirst and quench, want and meet, desire and fulfill, eat and expel, breathe and asphyxate, etc. And, I am told, the same circumscribed motion qualifies the cosmos and universal being through manifesting big bang to extinguishing big crunch and back, creation to destruction and back, magnetic pole shifts through great terrestrial flood to ice age and back, shift of solar phenomenon from our present sun to the nest one that is getting prepared, and galactic shift from Milky Way to another in its place. 

Every cyclic sway that we become aware of reveals the same flooding … growth, abundance, extinction and freeze, whereafter the cycle repeats. The sages oft declare : as within, so without; know thyself and the cosmos will be revealed. The journey however is full of unknown details, the process punctuated with inscrutable operating and decision nodes. We start with being the ” I ” in this differentiated awareness, in an indescribably extensive game of alternating between the “other” and the self, outwaiting the crowded focus till it simplifies to one object, which stays and begins to reveal itself. It shows up the attachments and anchors upon ourself as the object is brought back again and again and retained in the metal frame, untill all psycho-vital bonds of relatedness disssolve and the finitude in our knowledge of the object extends to include its being entire over all space and time. 

That about outlines the classic Raja-Yoga method to union with pure being. What remains in our perception is knowledge of the object as it is, without any taint or flaw contributed by the mind – the perceiving organ – and without any subjectivity on part of the perceiver himself. The method suggests we next take up progressively subtle objects such as a thought, concept or idea, followed by concentrating on the subject being itself. The object specific knowledge are important only for the challenges they offer : of scale over space and time and of penetration into layers of being. The capacities we broadly acquire along the way are towards attaining knowledge that is immutable and without doubt, breaking through our own limitations, our immensely arresting happiness born of the sense of fulfillment, and the singularity of doing away with the individuated sense of being we have of ourself.

The method rips us away from our dream-like everyday existence in family – work – food – sex – ablutions – relationships – thought – action routine. Withdrawn from all but a frame in the mind, it gets killingly intense at times, when however we end up learning the most. The journey we cover within us is real, with a presence that throws us off at first, perhaps for long, but intensifies and deepens with time, raising a whole gamut of rich impressions latent in our mental being, filling the psychological universe with images and drives that inexorably draws us in. No matter what the scientists say and the dialectical materialists inform, this question of how we have come to this start is shrouded in mystery and does not resolve untill the will and wilfulness gives way to thought and contemplation, to meditation, and to the vigorous urge to join in the drama in our lives ! 

Life begins to cumulatively clarify in the layered impressions of our memory of world, body, relationships, our own being qualified by its ignorance, our knowledge, want and will. The forever situation becomes here and now; the self in the experience is closely watched in the measure of its want; the hidden link of experienced quality with subconscious infiltrations is mapped in vitality; the action is truly anchored in awareness and performed with our whole heart…

But all that only enables us to expand and intensify the awareness … the results may continue to be as unsatisfactory as they’ve always been. However, the difference hereon is that nothing escapes our attention. We fail at every outlined step; but now we know : a very big deal, for we now would get up and on to doing and improve every time ! Every twig, leaf and motion is in our watch : the others and ourself are known real time and included in our thought and behaviour. There is a constant feedback loop, at times surprisingly in advance, with the body we own and owe to, the breath flowing in out, through ablutionary exercise, the things we have now also have us … We are happy with our feelings, comfortable with our relationships, watchful of subconcious interpretations, mindful of our emotions, desires, will, thought, values, actions and their consequences … These are our facts of the way. Our sight is clear on our self, afloat on a sea of subconscious impressions with an unceasing stream of desire, want, will and thought passing through it, claiming it. We compulsively make happy choices, preferring one or other, and are at ease between life and our witnessing reference. And we know every trace of that which we are bringing over from the previous moment and are not bothered : because we are happy with it.

The constant cycle of want and pleasure, joy and misery, ordeal and achievement, hope and anguish … engenders a whole range of attitude. Most people battle through life to fulfill their need and meet their want. Many forever strive to profit, deeming it all as an euphemism of life itself. Some who succeed also grow dissatisfied, tired of the status quo. They search for a way out of it. Of the last, some buy time for their leisure and self-actualisation; some despair and live in depression; others summon the will to work for the welfare of others or for causes that would herald a change. Only a scant few have the clear sight, vigour and the mental preparedness to take a turn away from it all for a time and direct their search into hitherto uncharted terrain, to the self abiding with transcending paradigms.

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I loved these accounts from a whacky lady … http://clotildajamcracker.wordpress.com/

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

II          What is the truth ?

It is that which supports the entire tangible and intangible domain, that exists by its own potency and cannot be contradicted. It is everything material, physical, mental, psychological and spiritual … all that are perceived to exist of their own accord and power. It is existence that comes to be, whose being cannot be denied in its moment or eternity, through which it continues to be. It is the substratum with which the unmanifest subsists, of which forms are manifest, into which all being de-manifest and subside.

We could have an idea of the truth as an all-inclusive sum of facts and the history of each over time, if we knew. Whether in respect of objects, the subject, or both in their relatedness, truth is a realisation that is over and above what we know, that circumscribes and permeates all we experience and perceive, and is hence transcendental. It is inseparable from its knower, forever preceding it, constituting and illuminating it, casting its light upon the mind and all things in our sense and perception. In the absence of the knowledge of this truth, our sense of the self is without the eternity at its support and the truncated awareness remains in its individuated in-itself emptiness that we abhor or its transient for-itself preoccupations that take us through respective existential cycles of will and want, emotion and thought, idea and vitality.

An objective fact is a local truth of the moment that excludes us. Clearly, it is impossible for us to be objective about a being, person or thing, with which we already relate. If it isn’t the thing, then our subjectivity would be found in the act, the need of being objective or drive behind it. The most unrelated of facts or object is perceived with its form and nature, its causes and effects, while our attention is led to the dark domains of ignorance within us. It makes us dream of horror, romance, profit or sheer disinterest, while our perception of the image in our awareness changes in tune with frame in our dream. It might take years for the mind to clarify, and ages if the intent is to purify.

Truth arises when we are aware of being as it is, without our least interpretation of it. It may start with anything phenomenal – physical or mental, but soon extends to include our self and the universe. It takes a while, a long while from the start, before the mutating interpretations of being die down and give way to the unchanging perception. We then know the truth.

However wide its scale, the knowledge of the fact remains formal, leaving the knowledge we have of ourself untouched and instead prompts us with emotions and drives that lead us to action, with a profit in view. It doesn’t become intimate and informal until our enquiry expands to discover how the fact, its sources and effects, subserve our environment near or far, or directly impact our body, senses, mind and being. Inclusive extension and interpretive absence – nothingness, if we will – transports awareness past the veils of ignorance upon it … when there is no distance or separation, and cognitive mediate, between ourself and the truth : we then know ourself as the truth and the truth as our self, and find in ourself the capacity for perspective that includes both the fact of being and the being in truth. As a corollary, we then assign to the object being the same importance we reserve for ourself, and every fact is owned subjectively with the same regard as the body-mind bing assumes in our sense.

All existence, beings and things, including our body and thought, are matters of fact. The material ones are gross; the mental forms we sense are subtle. We may have a degree of intimacy with our material possessions and with bodies that please us, that we use frequently or sensually interact with, but the sense of that intimacy is subtle, within us, as a form of mind-stuff = feeling or emotion, thought or knowledge. The sense we have for each object is a historical reduction of experience subtly impressed upon our mental being, as a drive of one kind or other – desire or revulsion, hatred or want, or any other in between.

Infrequently, in evolved minds, the urge would transcend the desire – hate spectrum of vitality and will, and lead to curiosity, awareness of a gap in our knowledge that bothers, causing an irrepressible need to know. It is the hallmark of a refined human being.