The Bliss of Detachment

Happiness is in acting without acting. There is neither happiness nor salvation in inaction. If the Principle became inactive for a moment the whole universe would collapse instantaneously. Acting without acting is acting without attachment to the fruits of the action. So one must be as detached from the world as a theater screen is from the images displayed on it.

In the plane of multiplicity, to which human action belongs, this disinterested action amounts to the effective coordination of the faculties in response to one’s duties, i.e. harmony within and without the microcosm, or what Plato has rightly called “Justice.”

But justice within microcosm cannot be attained without detachment. A sentimental person, and a sentimental society much like we have in the west, cannot possibly approach justice, let alone realize it, for sentimentality is precisely the glue by which we are attached to things, to names and forms.

You must learn to see with the same eye a mound of earth and a heap of gold, a cow and a sage, a dog and a man who eats the dog. There is another intelligence beyond the mind.” Krishna says to Arjuna in Mahabharata

Names and forms veil the nature of things; and justice is in the nature of things. Illumination is an unveiling of the Real, a negative act. Manifestation is “finding the Real in ecstasy,”* a positive act. The latter projects the experience-of the universe; the former shuts its down, or more precisely it shuts down experience as such altogether. While the positive acts is the production of experience, the negative act is the cessation of experience, or what in various traditions is called Nirvana, Fanaa, Brahmanubhava, Sakina, Godhead, etc.

A man is happy when he is closer to that supreme state, when he has become all-inclusive and universal by transcending his individuality. And this man cannot help but be just and act justly.

So the attainment of justice, which is in the nature of man, is the negative process of purification, of peeling away the many layers of narratives until the Truth shines by itself, until justice becomes one’s permanent station, and only then true bliss ensues. This is the path of maximum action and minimum resistance, keeping in mind that contemplation is the most exalted form of action.

*Ibn Arabi

Summary of Vedantic Metaphysics

The student: What is the cause of this world?

The master: Ignorance.

The student: What is ignorance?

The master: It is confusing the seer with the seen.

The student: What is the seen?

The master: Everything.

The student: What is the seer?

The master: You are the seer.

The student: Who is confused?

The master: No one.

The student: Then, why is there ignorance?

The master: There is no ignorance.

The student: So how come there is a world?

The master: There is no world. What from afar appears to be the world from near is realized to be the Truth. “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.”*

The student: But I can see and hear the world!

The master: That Truth is that very seeing and hearing in which you find yourself  wrapped in a world. The seen and the heard are naught; they are like the waves in the ocean, just water like the rest of it. Only water is real; wave is mere name and form, i.e. conditioned emptiness.

The student: Who am I then?

The master: You are the unconditioned Reality, the Knower of that emptiness. You are the answer to your own question. Don’t seek; see!**

The student: Whatever.

The master: Exactly. At once drop all notions and be happy; you are already perfect: You are unconditioned Reality. Notion is condition.

*Isha Upanishad

**Swami Vivekananda

Indifference, Station of Wisdom

“One may be indifferent to the enjoyments of this world only in expectation of better enjoyments in the next. This kind of indifference is tainted with desires which bar the door to Knowledge. But the indifference that results from a due deliberation on the evanescent nature of this world as well as the world to come, is alone pure, and productive of the higher good.”

Adi Shankara, 8th century CE Hindu philosopher

The Pride of Goodness

“It is not so easy to be good. What are you but mere machines until you are free! Should you be proud because you are good? Certainly not. You are good because you cannot help it. Another is bad because he cannot help it. If you were in his position, who knows what you would have been? The woman in the street, or the thief in the jail, is the Christ that is being sacrificed so that you may be good. Such is the law of balance. All the thieves and the murderers, all the unjust, the weakest, the wickedest, the devils, they are all my Christ! I owe a worship to the God Christ and to the demon Christ! That is my doctrine, and I cannot help it.”

Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, Vol. 2., p. 34.

State of Mind

Our moods and mental states are real only as long as we attend to them. So it is not good to dwell on them, let alone getting caught up in their analysis. Sometimes it is better to simply ignore them instead of looking into them seeking a cause or solution. It is the nature of our consciousness to become identified with the state toward which it looks.

The more we zoom in on a state the more it stands out, and there is no limit to its complexity. In fact zooming in on a state, which begins by first entertaining its idea, brings that state into existence, from potentiality into actuality. So, the quality of our lives depends only on our overall orientation toward reality and not what we do with it. All we need to do is turn the gaze of consciousness toward the state of bliss, or hell if you please; this is very similar to the way we can bring the eye focus on an object by simply turning away from everything else and withdrawing our attention from them. This is easily achieved by continuous practice in which we have to keep bringing our focus back on a desirable state.

Of course in the beginning the mind tends to scatter and steal away our focus but practice makes it easier and finally attainable where we become identified with that state and it becomes a permanent station for us. This is really the simplest thing in the world because it requires no action at all and is accessible at all times and regardless of outward circumstances. We should see that there exists nothing but the mind and that the mind is nothing but emptiness.

The Overman

Much has been said of the coming of the Overman. The Overman doesn’t evolve; the Overman descends. It was not Nietzsche that spoke of the coming of the Overman; it was the Overman that spoke through Nietzsche of his own coming.

In Overman the real has become the ideal and the ideal the real since in him the ideal is fully realized. It is at the transcendent summit that idealism and realism stand united, while in the manifest order they appear to be distinct and standing against one another.

But when comes to man, this little worn out image, whose fragmented world is a reflection of his own fragmented soul, the Overman must blow in him again. We are all born and live on a life support machine. What is then the life of man?

The life of man is the journey of a shadow; he rises from nothingness and falls back into nothingness. But the Real Man, the Transcendent Man, i.e. the Overman, that which casts the shadow, remains unmoved throughout this journey, for He is the perfect image of the Unmoved Mover.

The Overman is not an individual; he is no historical figure. The Overman is not in the world; it is the world that is a thought in the Overman. He may take up the mask of Krishna, Christ, or Muhammad and become a bridge; or He may tease us through Nietzsche without giving him a taste of His face, leaving him in the madness and confusion that precedes eternal sobriety; but He can’t be understood in terms only of one or another individual. The person of a saint is nothing more than a passing appearance in which we can see the reflection of Truth, our own real Face shining in eternity. So there is in reality only one saint projecting many images of itself on Nature. The various religions and traditions are the petals of one and the same flower.

The Truth cannot fit in a theory, image, or idea; yet every theory, image, and idea is an expression of one of Its intelligible aspects. Art, religion/philosophy, and science/technique, constitute various neighborhoods in the city of Truth. We cannot oppose these to one another because they are united in their principle, the spirit; they are, so to speak, various sense organs by which man confronts reality in the form of a world. They address the different needs of a man. As the eyes cannot touch and the hands cannot see, religion sees but doesn’t build while science builds but doesn’t see. And we all know that the best and the most majestic of architectural masterpieces belonged to periods in which makers were both builders and seers, where wisdom and action were still united.

A science opposed to religion is a like a headless man. Religion by nature cannot possibly oppose science, for religion is about man and reality in an entirely different sense than that used in science. If fans of popular religion and even some religious authorities see an opposition, and sometimes even a competition, between scientific facts and religious doctrines, it is only because they have misunderstood religion altogether; their fundamental mistake is in confusing form with essence: The subject matter of science is form while the subject matter of religion and true philosophy is essence. As the subject matter of each is different, their methods of inquiry are as well different. We cannot apply the methods of one expecting to reject the claims of the other or confirm those of our own. Metaphysics, in its true sense, is the root of both science and religion, and also of art, and is a field of knowledge far from speculative. Metaphysics is the field of self-evident realities and also the source of all evidence in any rational inquiry. We can only say this, that compared to the truth and self-evidence belonging to metaphysics, the degree of evidence in pure mathematics is but a pale reflection. The essential content of art, religion, and science, is always metaphysical.

In Metaphysics we step into a new domain, the oldest reality, where world and man have no place, where the abstract becomes the living and the living the abstract. Sartre mistakenly thought that in man existence precedes essence; but it is known that in man existence is the essence.

Metaphysics is the universal and immutable form of the Real. Thus, metaphysics, the highest form of knowledge, is still a superposition on the surface of the Real. There is a higher stateless state, the Real Itself, in which there is no more metaphysics nor anything else. There is where nothing can creep in, no expression and no man, except total death and annihilation. Even God must die in order to return to the Godhead.