Aphorisms: Pain and Spiritual Freedom, West and Gita

To convict the soul of the spiritual freedom and erect a mental edifice of bounded ego will bear on itself the modesty of crucifixion as a progressive necessity of normal and tardy evolution and will delay the divine progression for a brief while.

Pain as a progressive necessity of an evolution caught in the mire of its own darkness – the representative figure or symbol of it in its partially awakened consciousness is the crucifixion of Christ – cannot be advocated as a supreme gospel of divine life upon earth.

Even though the promise of heaven is implicit in the Christian idea of self-redemption, it comes at the cost of a self-inflicted pain, an amputation of the Spirit and Life still worthy of evolving otherwise through the means of a higher Power and Consciousness descending through the stairs of the mind into the human frame.

Such a divine Consciousness, even when it has assumed a human form, will not digress from its own illumination and intricate self-existence or lose itself to the pressure of the Inconscient or to the term of Ignorance.

It is one of the most important ideas of the Gita that to be in self-weakness is a mistake, a spiritual regression into dismay and self-dejection has no honour in itself or in the world.

The spiritual warrior declines the way of pain and fights for the just cause of the inner or higher Deity, the Lord of all existence who determines everything according to a profound inner law of existence, where the human morality of self-redemption and self-forgiveness does not exist but only the ineffable movement of the highest Spirit.

How do I learn more about Hinduism?

Temple in Angkor Vat

That was the question asked by someone few days back. “Aspire”, was my response. For that is the key element, without which the Shastra[1. Veda, Upanishads etc] and Guru will be in vain with regard to understanding Hinduism and living its tenets meaningfully.

Aspiration is a subtle seeking, not the hankering of crude ambition, but a prayerful poise. The pride of external accomplishment left behind, we unmoor our little selves from familiar shores.

It is fine that we have nothing yet, not even a Guru. What matters is that in the depths of our being the gong has been struck and the time has arrived for the journey to begin.

Based on the intensity of this seeking, external events will be moved with an infinite precision by the all pervading Divine.

The stranger who guides you away from harm, the scrap of paper that latches onto your leg that magically clarifies your pressing doubt, a song of aspiration you hear when half-asleep and flying over a foreign ocean, the priest-less nameless temple in which you shudder in awe at an unexplained presence, the beggar at the traffic signal who provides an opportunity to practice generosity, the almost bare farmer sheltering his child from rain on a remote highway, the laborer who watches his toddler though slaving in sweltering heat..everything, everything becomes a book that you can and should learn from.

The Shastra and Guru will arrive when necessary, but know it is enough to depend on the Purushottama[2. The Divine, Perfect Being, Brahman] within.

For when not constrained by your personal preferences of institution, form and method, the Divine is perfectly free to engineer serendipity. And there is nothing more pleasing to Sri Krishna than a soul that not only “knows” of his omniscience but also acts with perfect obedience and strength upon the knowledge of that omniscience.

Yet, do not trust every stranger and charlatan who comes your way. Judge what you see, then think and decide. The one who carries the Divine light within carries it in silence. Many would tout their exclusive truths, ride rough with the strength of their swords or haggle for the allegiance of your soul. About these we shall not concern ourselves now.

Once you have begun to aspire, as Swami Vivekananda says and I paraphrase, “The quest for God is like canker, whether in this life time or next it is sure to lead you to the Divine”.

This and this alone makes one a Hindu, everything else is mere preparation and not the actual understanding or living the tenets of Hinduism.

Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

Aphorisms: Man, Ego and Knowledge

Knowledge is not that which sees and acts. Knowledge is that which, while seeing, surrenders its ability to see and surrenders too its ability to act.

Commentary

Man is magnified ego compressed into human form. His mind is a principle of Ignorance seeking after Knowledge. But true knowledge is not intellectual or else a culmination of mental intelligence sharpened and trained to be competitive and dubiously practical.

The descent of spiritual knowledge from the higher spiritual planes into the human mould would mean in its essential consequence a sublimation of the natural ego element, and in a farther spiritual self-development, to be replaced by a superior creative Gnosis. That is true knowledge. And in that great transition towards the divine Manhood, man must be self-surrendered to the Divine within in all his parts and portions and not insist on having his own ideal set by the dominant ego-consciousness.

A progressive knowledge culminating into a divine Gnosis is one of the essential consequences of the integral Yoga. Also, a self-surrender to the inner Divine is the key to all perfection in this world and above.

Every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace

Siddhartha, in Herman Hesse’s book of the same name, arrives at Jetavana hoping to catch a glimpse of the Budhha, the Enlightened One. Not having seen him before, Siddhartha waits, almost wondering how to identify the Awakened One from the river of ochre colored robes that seemed to flow through the Jetavana grove. And then it happens, read how Hesse describes this sequence.

Siddhartha saw him, and he instantly recognised him, as if a god had pointed him out to him. He saw him, a simple man in a yellow robe, bearing the alms-dish in his hand, walking silently.

“Look here!” Siddhartha said quietly to Govinda. “This one is the Buddha.”

Attentively, Govinda looked at the monk in the yellow robe, who seemed to be in no way different from the hundreds of other monks. And soon, Govinda also realized: This is the one. And they followed him and observed him.

The Buddha went on his way, modestly and deep in his thoughts, his calm face was neither happy nor sad, it seemed to smile quietly and inwardly. With a hidden smile, quiet, calm, somewhat resembling a healthy child, the Buddha walked, wore the robe and placed his feet just as all of his monks did, according to a precise rule. But his face and his walk, his quietly lowered glance, his quietly dangling hand and even every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace, expressed perfection, did not search, did not imitate, breathed softly in an unwhithering calm, in an unwhithering light, an untouchable peace. – Siddhartha, Herman Hesse.

The sentence “..every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace..” has stayed with me ever since I read it almost a decade back. A peace that fills the entire being is perhaps alien to most in practice. But that is the payoff for a soul that has consented to take the difficult journey to the Divine.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna in Samadhi

That phrase and idea also reminds me of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s picture above. Check the posture when he entered into a state of Samadhi. Notice the inward drawn countenance and specifically those fingers, all indicating complete absorption in the immanent Divine.

This peace and union with the Divine is attainable through systematic practice of Yoga or any spiritual practise. This possibility is open to everyone regardless of their station of birth, race, caste and other human taxonomies society thinks of to classify itself. The old world notions of a specific caste or race or tribe having exclusive access to the Divine, or the condition that one has to follow a specific Messenger or Prophet, sometimes under the not so gentle nudge of sword or money, is a perversion of all that can be considered Divine.

Any universal principle or power would not stoop down to laying criteria for embracing humanity and all of life. Anything that insists on human criteria can safely be assumed to be less than Divine or a Divine impulse misused for lesser purposes by men. What matters is adherence to Dharma, inner Yoga and renunciation of all human hypocrisy.