the impulse towards God

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RedGoldVajra


Vajra

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My Comment: This text is not readily accessible to Western readers, but if you take some time and let it sink in you will find some real treasures.

Swami Krishnananda:

The evil forces are larger in quantum than the beneficent forces in the world. Acharya Sankara, while commenting on the Upanishad, tells us that it is quite obvious because the impulse towards evil, which is the urge towards contact with the objects of sense, is more powerful than the impulse towards God. Rarely people turn to God; mostly they go down to objects of sense.

[In the war against evil] 

The angels told the other sense organs, one by one, to chant the mantra (that would defeat evil), and all had the same fate. They were all overcome. The Upanishad tells us that every sense organ has, therefore, a double activity. It can do good and it can do bad; it can receive what is good and it can receive what is bad. We can hear nice things and we can hear bad things also. The mind also was defeated. The mind was inflicted with the evil by the Asuras when it chanted the mantra. So it can think right and it can think wrong. Thus, there was no way out. The gods were defeated repeatedly. They were utterly helpless.

When they were all thus defeated, they joined together and considered as to what could be done under the circumstances. They thought that they had made a mistake in choosing their agents for chanting the Udgitha. So they asked the vital force, the Prana Sakti, which is prior to the operation of the senses, which impels the senses to act—as the sun impels all activity in the world, himself not doing anything. They said: “O Prana, chant the Udgitha for us.” And the Prana, the unifying force, the vital energy, chanted the Udgitha. And when the Prana started the chant, the Asuras came in a large battalion to attack it. What happened? They were thrown back. As a mud ball thrown against a hard rock breaks into pieces and becomes dispersed in all directions, the Asuras were thrown and cast in various directions, powerless by the force of the Udgitha chant conducted by the vital force, Prana Sakti—a thing which the senses could not undertake, and could not succeed in doing. Then the Devas won victory over the demons. They assumed their original positions of angels, which had been occupied by the Asuras, the demons. Now, inasmuch as the Asuras were quelled and overthrown completely in this battle with the force of a chant conducted by the vital force, the gods regained their original positions. The lost kingdom was regained. “One who knows this secret also regains one’s own position,” says the Upanishad.

Here is a very mystical anecdote given to us in the sacred text, the Upanishad, which is very precise and goes to the point. The meditational process, or spiritual discipline, is described here in the form of a story. The angels fall and lose their positions due to the evil influence of the Asuras. And in order to regain their lost positions, they have to take recourse to the vital force, and not to the sense organs. The sense organs are not our friends in the practice of spirituality. They succeed in making an attempt only, but really they do not succeed in the end.

Now what does all this mean to us? It means everything to us. The gods, the angels, the celestials are the denizens of the Garden of Eden. They are bosom friends of God, limbs of the Almighty, scintillating sparks of the Divine Conflagration, inseparable from the Supreme Being. That is the angelic condition. There, in that condition, the consciousness of the angel is a perpetual awareness of its relation to the Almighty. The angels never lose consciousness of God. Whether it is Deva, or Michael, or Gabriel, or any other angel mentioned in the scriptures, whatever be the name given to these angels, they are perpetually in the presence of God. They are the guardians of heaven; they are parts of the Divine Kingdom.

There is eternal daylight there, says the Upanishad. “Sakrit vibhato hi brahmalokah.” In Brahmaloka, which is the Indian counterpart of the Garden of Eden in the Bible, there is eternal day—no night there. It is all blazing radiance. This blazing radiance does not come from some object hanging in the skies, as it is the case here in this world. The radiance of Brahmaloka is not the effect of a light coming from some lamp, not even a lamp like the sun or the moon. It is self-radiance. It is the light emanating from everything that is there. It is light shining upon its own self, and not shining on some other object which cannot shine. This is the Kingdom of God, this is the Garden of Eden, this is Brahmaloka, this is the world of the angels, the gods, the celestials.

The angels fell. What is this falling? The Upanishad’s answer is that the fall took place due to the Asura influence, which is a difficult thing for us to understand. The problem of evil is an indescribable problem for everyone. Philosophically conceived, the Asura is the impulse towards sense objects. The desire for anything other than one’s own self is the Asura, or the demon.

This is something very interesting. We can know where we stand by the measure of this yardstick. One who desires anything other than one’s own Self is the Asura. The angels have no such desires. They are self-satisfied, self-contained, self-complete, radiant sparks of divinity. Something happens! Nobody knows the mystery of creation. This mystery, this so-called something seems to have occurred, whether it was the cause of the fall of Lucifer or the cause of the fall of anybody else. Something happened. This mystery diverted the attention of the angels in a direction which is contrary to the original angelic vision. So we do not think like angels. We think like men and women, like human beings. What is the difference between the vision of the celestials and the vision of the mortals like us?

The Upanishads have many things to tell us in regard about this interesting feature in the process of creation. An explanation of the significance behind this anecdote can be found in the Aitareya Upanishad, wherein the description of the descent is characteristically described. When the angel, the celestial or the god becomes the mortal, the subject becomes the object and the object becomes the subject. This is what has happened. In the beginning of the creation process, the universe remains as an inseparable body of the Almighty. Since God revealed Himself as this creation, all things in creation are inseparable from God’s Being; and since God cannot be regarded as an object, nothing in this world can be regarded as an object. Since the world is the body of God, it is an appearance of the glory of the Almighty Himself.

[Ramana: Verse 3 of Forty Verses on Reality “…That State is agreeable to all, wherein, having given up the objective outlook, one knows one’s Self and loses all notions either of unity or duality, of oneself and the ego.”]

But, for every one of us, the world is an object of sense, as if God Himself has become a sense object. We are running after things which were originally inseparable from us but which have now assumed the context or the position of the things which are external to us. The origins of our own present individualities, the causes of our present form of existence have erroneously assumed the position of an object of sense outside. The world is an object of sense for every one of us. And we have assumed a false position of subjectivity or the position of a seer or experiencer, while we are the experienced objects from the angelic or the cosmic point of view. The so-called subjectivity in us is an objectivity to God, and to assume that we are subjects is to assume what Lucifer assumed in the presence of the Almighty. Now what position we are all occupying in this world will be clear to every one of us.

The senses were asked to chant the holy mantra. We also chant the mantra every day. We employ our sense organs in the practice of spiritual sadhana. The chanting of the Udgitha is nothing but the invocation of God, the Almighty, for the purpose of overcoming this evil influence by which we have somehow or other become entangled in attraction to objects, the evil influence inflicted upon us by the Asuras. But the senses are not reliable instruments for spiritual practice. The ears, the nose, the senses of seeing, touching, tasting, etc., are not our friends. And, therefore, to ask them to chant the spiritual mantra would be to court defeat in this battle. This has actually happened.

The cosmical envisagement is impossible for the sense organs. The very idea of contemplation in yoga or meditation on the Divine Principle is a non-sensory or a super-sensory aspiration arising from us. Spiritual aspiration is a super-sensory impulse. It is not a sensory impulse. It has very little to do with the sense organs. What we call pratyahara, the well-known word (one of Patanjali’s levels of yoga), is the accumulation within ourselves of a force which overcomes the distracting influences of the senses—the production of a cumulative energy within ourselves which precedes the distracting movements of the senses. This is actually what is meant by the Prana which sang the Udgitha and won victory.

There is something in us that is different from, superior to, and transcending the sensory diversifications. We cannot see God with the eyes, cannot hear Him with the ears, touch Him with the fingers, taste Him with the tongue, or smell Him with the nose. That which is transcendent is not an object of these senses. That means to say that the recourse to spiritual practice is not a sensory activity. It is not anything that is done by the eyes or the ears, the fingers, the nose or the tongue. So the chanting of the holy text, the Udgitha, which is an invocation of the glory of God, cannot be undertaken except by that which is divine in us. And the senses are the undivine henchmen which force us to go contrary to the righteousness of the Kingdom of God.

So all the senses were defeated. The gods had to take recourse to that which is superior to all the senses, viz., the Prana, which has a variegated meaning. We do pranayama, control the breath, by withholding inspiration and expiration, and we speak of the restraint of the prana. We are also told that there are various functions of the prana—prana, apana, vyana, samana, udana, etc. Actually prana is the vitality in the whole human organism. It is not located in any particular sense organ, but the sense organs move on account of this dynamo that is working inside. This dynamo is the power generator, and the energy can be utilised for any purpose—to move a train, light a bulb, power a refrigerator or heat a stove. We can do anything we like, but the generator is not concerned with that. Likewise is the Prana Sakti. We can use it for seeing with the eyes or hearing with the ears, smelling with the nose, tasting with the tongue, etc., but it has no concern with all these, even as electricity has no concern with light and movement, etc.

So there is a super-sensory integrating vitality in us, which was the thing that finally succeeded in chanting the holy invocation and quelled the Asuras. How could it be done? Because the integrating force is the only power that can put down the distracting force. The impulse of the senses in terms of or in relation to objects is the evil spoken of as the Asuras here in this battle. This sensory impulse cannot be overcome by employing the senses themselves. It would be like employing a thief as a policeman to catch the thief. He will not succeed in that, because he is a friend of the thief. Therefore, the senses are not good instruments in the practice of yoga. They have to be withdrawn in pratyahara, and this is done by various ways, as we all know. So the Udgitha, the divine invocation, was the recital by that integrating vitality which sung the chant; and the concentration of this force, which is the total energy of the system, melted the impulses of the senses, and there was a retention of the activity of the senses. A true pranayama-kumbhaka took place, in yogic parlance. The senses ceased from operating in their own ways.

The Asura spoken of is not a human being or something like a human being, but it is a power. Finally, everything in this universe, in all this creation, is a force moving in this direction or that direction. The Deva, the angel, the god, the celestial, the power divine is the impulse towards cosmic integration, divine experience.

The Asura, the demon, the Rakshasa, the evil that is spoken of is the counter-energy that rushes towards the periphery of creation, away from the centre, to the farthest gross form of objects of sense; it recognises a drop of honey there and licks it, like a dog licking a broken bone. The spiritual practice of yoga is the union of the powers of the senses together and the centralising of this force in the great vitality in us, which is indescribable, finally. This energy, or Sakti, is in every one of us. This Sakti is not a physical power merely; the physical power of ours is only an expression of this internal Prana Sakti. The Udgitha mantra was chanted thus by the Prana, and the Asuras were quelled, and the gods assumed their original positions.

What is the meaning of gods assuming their original positions? It means that the gods went to heaven. Otherwise, they were banished as exiles and they were wandering anywhere, helplessly. When the Asuras were defeated in battle, the angels got back their original positions. The angel is a limb of the Virat who visualises everything as a subject rather than an object. There is no object for the Virat, or the Supreme Universal Consciousness; and we were all parts of it. We are all parts of it even now, but we are blindfolded and afflicted with some kind of evil, as the Upanishad mentioned already, and so we have lost our positions. We have been thrown out as exiles from this relation that we had with the Cosmic Virat or the Hiranyagarbha. The origin that we aspire for, the position that we have to regain, is that position in the limb of the Almighty.

Everything was visible in that Cosmic Form described in the Mahabharata, particularly in the Bhagavadgita. Everything is found there. Even the one who sees it is there, already included. The seer of the Virat is also inside the Virat. That means to say that there is nothing outside it. So the so-called outsideness and the running after the things that are outside is something totally undivine. And the practice of yoga, the living of the spiritual life, is the chanting of the Udgitha. It is the Divine Name for all practical purposes. It means the invocation of the Divine Principle in our practical lives, implanting God in our hearts and seeking the blessing of the Almighty.

This is a hard job, because when we visualise the Divine Being, or when we invoke the divine into us, the senses persist in their action; the Asuras attack us, as the Upanishad tells us again and again, and we do not succeed in our attempts. Because there is always a tendency in us to objectify everything, we cannot think in terms of the angel’s vision; that is out of question. But we have to succeed in doing it. Otherwise, there is no entry into this Divine Kingdom. “A flaming sword is placed at the gate, and an angel guards it that no mortal may enter.” It means to say, no sensory appetite may be permitted there. Not only appetite, even an activity of a sensory type will not hold water. “Straight is the gate, narrow is the way.” The gross objects of sense cannot enter that narrow gate. It is so narrow that even this body cannot go. We cannot carry this body there; we have to shed it.

The angels have no physical body. The angel is an ethereal existence, which can penetrate through walls and pierce through everything. It is not physicality; it is rarified angelity. That is the Spirit within us. The angel is still speaking within us; it is not dead. The Spirit within us is the angel. But the whisper which compels us to divert the attention of this angel to the body and all its external relations is the Asura, the Satan speaking.

The voice of the divine is the voice of pure divine subjectivity in affiliation with God’s omnipresence; but this is not the way in which we are working in the world. We have a different way altogether. We are not in the Kingdom of God; we are in a mortal world of birth and death. The process known as transmigration is consequent upon this divine impulse, stifled by the urge for sensory contact, struggling to regain its original position but getting defeated again and again. Birth and death are processes of the struggle of the spirit to regain its original position. But in every attempt, it gets defeated. And so it is born and it dies, it is born and it dies, and there is no end to it. So the gods fight and get defeated, fight and get defeated again and again, because they have not employed the proper means in the battle with the Asuras.

After ages of struggle, we awaken ourselves to the proper means. We have to know the tactics of the enemy in order to meet the inimical forces. Already we have been told that the angels are lesser in number and the evil forces are more, and they can threaten us. The quantity of the world always surprises us. And the quality of our Spirit seems to be a little spark before this mighty magnitude of the physical world. We are awe-stricken even by looking at this world. We do not know whether we can do anything here at all. Such a mighty giant is this world before us. So the quantity engulfs the quality; the Asuras overpower the gods. But, the gods have their own strength; quality is superior to quantity, as we all know. Yet, we are frightened by the quantity of things because of the incapacity of this little quality of the spark to assert its pure independence in its primitive originality.

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hope and despair

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“Hope confronts. It does not ignore pain, agony, or injustice. It is not a saccharine optimism that refuses to see, face, or grapple with the wretchedness of reality. You can’t have active hope without despair, because hope is a response. Hope is the act of conviction that despair will never have the last word.”

– Virginia Jones 

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the universe in me

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zen The life that runs through everything

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My Comment:

We focus on the name and form (nama rupa) of what we perceive as being outside of us. The act of seeing the name and form instead of the one substance (the Absolute) obstructs the Absolute and projects instead the selfhood character onto a phantom of our own making. It has no Reality. Withdraw from the name and the form and be with the Absolute that is the inner Reality of all we see as the universe.

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I Ching #47 Kun ~ Exhausting

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The I Ching Weekly for July 23, 2018

#47 Kun: Exhausting / Confinement / Oppression / Adversity / Weariness

Above: Dui ~ Lake:  Open, responsive; free movement with no blame or judgment

Below: Kan ~ WaterGorge, precipice, water; moving without hindrance; radiant clarity

Bring old relationships to a close
Dismiss sadness
Gather energy for a bold move
You are in a state of confinement.
Words will not set you free.

Shifting sands of change beneath your feet are stirring your psyche. On the road you will meet guardians of the gates you wish to path through. You will be tempted by praise and offers of what you have desired and have dreamed of. Caution is called for  as you stand in humility at the gate as there has been a breakdown in the code, the code within language. You have made great efforts to communicate clearly and to purify your intentions and intuition. The work has been good, but now you are at your limit. Come to stillness as busyness is all around you and it has been deafening. It is sage advice telling you that should you proceed in your present state of mind —that of intellectual and emotional exhaustion—you would not only be confined as you have been feeling, you would be caught in a trap that no matter how hard you try would not release you for a very long time. Moving without a proper plan the ties that bind you would tighten…muscles in the neck and tension in the belly are the messages as you pass through an imminent and somewhat treacherous canal of birthing. The birthing is that of a new and improved self, free of the stale patterns that serve you no more.

In the lessons of the Book of Changes, the I Ching, there has be great credence placed on being firmly in truth in your communications with your tribe, associates, and in your relationships. This was good, but times have changed. A cycle that has been difficult, which has contained many benefits, has come to an end. That cycle had called on you to be honest, forthright, and to communicate with clarity so that you can move toward and achieve your goals for yourself , community and tribe

Now, while in this current period of confinement and you are faced with adversity, you feel you should have the ability, because of your attention to the process, to speak all the right words that would embody your ideas and in a perfect world, carry you to the next stage of development and set you free. But as this cycle ends, your words are not heard or they are ignored. If they are heard, they are misconstrued and to your listeners these words take on the opposite meaning of what you intend. the code you have deciphered is breaking down. You do not know what to do or say. If you were to proceed now, using your words to pave the way, you would hit obstacle after obstacle, and the state of intellectual and emotional exhaustion you are in could manifest as a physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown.

It is not illusion that aspects of your life force are bottled up and the feeling that they must somehow be released is very real. You need release. Be calm and look in a different direction, beginning by looking inward for the sustenance needed to continue.  There is a way in but it will not come from outside advice, books lectures, priests or shaman. This is the time to trust your intuitive sense. This is also a time of great risk. It is risk that can exact great change, such as what see and feel lay before you.

This is a turning point and there is much to consider. There are places that appear to be doing well, yet other areas seem dry, confined, and hopeless. Kun has appeared now because of difficulties that have in the past caused you to despair and become sad and depressed. This is where the message of this hexagram is of great assistance. Know that this situation, which is omnipresent, is temporary, and that the assistance needed to regain the proper life flow that will replenish you emotionally, spiritually, and physically is within reach; it is within. The only way that relief will find you is for you to take the time to rest, re-create, breathe, and remain positive, knowing that this is the end of an exhausting cycle and the beginning of a new, enlivened, and exciting one; in fact, it is a renewal of life and of the life force.

Your truth now will be made evident not by words but by actions. You will benefit by using your will in all situations that are confronting you, for it is willpower that is your greatest ally as you begin to break through what has been binding and suppressing you. It is a great frustration when your words are not heard and knowing the words you hear from others cannot be trusted on face value. You must listen to decipher the code in words. These are challenging times, as you are regaining your strength and are remembering your sense of purpose.

In stillness make your plan—you must have a plan—and look inward for the strength to continue. This is where your greatness will be found.

The way to gain the strength that will release  the binds on your life force, is to undertake a plan of rest and recuperation. Plan this time of recouping your energy and strength as you would plan a battle—well-thought-out and organized. Leave no place open where you could be caught unaware. Once this commitment is made, all will begin to fall into place, and recovery, creativity, and abundance will follow.

Rest in this situation might mean a literal resting time, or it could be simply a retreat from trying to fix what is seemingly going wrong, trying to change people’s minds, or make an old way of thinking work for you. The current cycle is swiftly changing; be assured the light needed to remove oppression and to recuperate from exhaustion is yours and found in your practice, prayers and sutras.

You will reap positive results from being in confinement and experiencing oppression. With care and compassion you will breed great and useful creativity in the plan for your success and in honing your craft. You can now change your ways of handling obstacles and old and tired ways of thinking.  Above all, do not let this confinement create anger as that would be  food for the negative ego and will cause you to become cynical or strike out by being vicious and speak words without compassion. If you take that road all will be lost, and you will not be able to benefit from the teaching given to you in the wisdom that can be accessed within while enduring in this precious time.

In your rest and retreat you will begin to hear, understand, and learn to speak the code of  new language that will emerge in this coming cycle. This will put you at the forefront, at the head of the class, while others remain in their struggle, conflict, and fear.  It is love that will remove the fear. It will not be difficult.

In this cycle your wordless actions will be of great benefit. You will learn when not to speak and to hear beyond the veiled words to the underlying truth held in the unspoken code. This lesson in understanding unlocks the mysteries that have been held as secrets by priests, shamans, and sages for eons. As your planet is moving into a glorious new age of enlightenment, lessons like these will integrate as you change your way of thinking, speaking, and listening. In these times you will have the opportunity to access help from unexpected places. You will leave old, stale relationships behind as you move forward in your understanding of your sense of purpose and in forming new, positive associations. Look deep into yourself. You will find the strength needed to continue as you reflect in stillness.

If you feel, in these days ahead, a broken or troubled heart, embrace it and stay steady; suffering will give way to greatness and joy. It is the Way.
Don’t stand on the sidelines….jump in…sing dance and be joyous…love can be your guide as you trust and open to let yourself be loved.

In lak’ech

BobbyK

source: The I Ching Weekly for July 23, 2018

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externality of experience

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The Essence of the Aitareya and Taittiriya Upanishads

Chapter 5: Ananda Mimamsa

Swami Krishnananda

We will continue the subject of the Taittiriya Upanishad. We observed that our individuality is constituted of different layers, and these layers are called koshas in Sanskrit. There are primarily five such koshas, or sheaths, in which our consciousness is enveloped. These sheaths are nothing but the forces of objectivity that pull the consciousness outwardly in terms of space and time. Thus it becomes clear that these sheaths are not substances or material objects like five walls that may be built round a person sitting inside a room. They are mere urges of consciousness to move outward in greater and greater density, and with more and more of impetuosity towards externality of experience.

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what is mind?

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Talks with Ramana:

Talk 25

Q: What is this mind?

R: Mind is one form of manifestation of life. A block of wood or a subtle machine is not called mind. The vital force manifests as life-activity and also as the conscious phenomena known as the mind.

Q: What is the relation between mind and object? Is the mind contacting something different from it, viz., the world?

R: The world is ‘sensed’ in the waking and the dream states or is the object of perception and thought, both being mental activities. If there were no such activities as waking and dreaming thought, there would be no ‘perception’ or inference of a ‘world’. In sleep there is no such activity and ‘objects and world’ do not exist for us in sleep.

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thus

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Dogen Genjokoan Verse 11 (TA translation):

Accordingly, in the practice-enlightenment of the buddha way, to attain one thing is to penetrate one thing; to meet one practice is to sustain one practice. 

Here is the place; here the way unfolds. The boundary of realization is not distinct, for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha-dharma. Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your intellect.

Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge.

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(see this post for Verses 9 and 10)

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step by step

 

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Dogen Genjokoan

9. A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies there is no end to the air. However, the fish and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their field is large. When their need is small their field is small. Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. If the bird leaves the air it will die at once. If the fish leaves the water it will die at once.  Continue reading