The Face of Truth

“The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel. Do thou, O Sun, open it so as to be seen by me who am by nature truthful.

O thou who art the nourisher, the solitary traveler, the controller, the acquirer, the son of Prajapati, do remove thy rays, do gather up thy dazzle. I shall behold by thy grace that form of thine which is most benign. I am that very Person that is yonder in the Sun.”

Isha Upanishad, 15-16

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

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.

Know Thyself

“Just as a mirror takes on the hues of images, so also the abstract Intelligence assumes the different shapes of objects, by virtue of its holding them within itself.

Abstract Intelligence can thus be made manifest by eliminating from it all that can be known. It cannot be known as such and such, for it is the supporter of one and all.

This, being the Self of the seeker, is not cognizable. Investigate your true Self in the aforesaid manner. [Note: There is no agent other than the Self to know the Self; there is no light other than Its light to illumine It.]

You are not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, because they are all transient. The body is composed of food, so how can you be the body?!”

Tripura Rahasya, chapter XVI, verses 20-23

The Last Illusion

At the closing of Mahabharata, seeing his enemies in heaven and his own family in hell Yudhishthira starts shouting at the gods and condemning their justice. This was the last waystation before he entered Sakina, the Great Peace at the heart of the Godhead. So the keeper of the last dwelling said to Yudhishthira:

“Stop shouting! You have known neither paradise nor hell. Here there is no happiness, no punishment, no family, no enemies. Rise in tranquility. Here words end, like thought. This was your last illusion.”

The Inexpressible Reality

“We did not come to return; we have come to rise above.”

Man is a deep well connecting the oblivion of Godhead to the personified God. He is not something suspended in the abyss; he is the abyss itself. He seeks God, not knowing he is the very ground upon which God stands. The Absolute is void, and man fills this void by relative utterances of hopes and desires. Man seeks to be enlightened, not knowing that he is the light of the world.

Know thyself?! What is to be known, and who is to know it?

Ask yourself: Who is in there? Who is looking out into this world of empty appearances? And who is looking in? No “I” is to be found. Why? Because the “I” is the one always looking. How can anything be found where the only thing that is is seeking?

God became man so to find Himself as God, and yet in this becoming He lost himself in the midst of himself. He was a whole that has become a part. Dear, don’t give too much thought to this, for to think is to make apart. You have become too partitioned; your way back is to accept you are but a paradox.

God is never known if He doesn’t fall into pieces that can reflect His face. God remained unknown even to himself unless He becomes the other, the not-God, man.  He becomes whole precisely through becoming partitioned. Man isn’t the fallen Adam; man is the fallen God.

Sit back, relax; this world has never come into being, neither did your beloved personhood. Look again deep into your own eyes and see the bottomless well that you are. Don’t be the ocean wave seeking its own source; the wave and the ocean are never apart; it is all water. Zoom in and you see only the wave, the separation; zoom out and you see only the ocean. This god of yours and its creation are akin to the ocean and its waves. How can one be without the other? They are one and the same.

You are crucified by your own beliefs. You are bound by your own bonds. Use this body only to surf this life. The surfer who thinks he is surfing the wave little knows that waves too are surfing him. Surfers don’t last; waves never cease to be. You are that wave and not the surfing body; you are the ocean itself.

These words too are nothing but waves; don’t dwell in them, for they too shall be forgotten. Words need meaning but meaning doesn’t need words. You too need no words, for you are that which is meant throughout all empty appearances. You are the inexpressible Reality.