Washed Onto the Shore

I have not posted anything in a long time; today I checked my blog for the first time in weeks and though I still don’t have much to say, I pushed the “write” button to face the blank page of a draft, perhaps the most courageous act I have done in a while.

Prior to this two-year seemingly dry period I was spiritually active, I read a lot and reflected a lot on spiritual matters; and so naturally I had a lot to say and write. For the past two years, however, I was held down by my own humanity, or by that impulse of human constitution which goes against the spiritual impulse to ascend; I moved against my natural instinct to free myself; I became my own shackles.

I descended to the depths, to where no ray of light could reach, to where corruption ruled, to a city in which degeneration was accepted as exciting the norm. I sat so much with the monsters of this underworld that I became one, and I saw that I was one from eternity.

I passed by beautiful mermaids, drank their wine, and laughed out-loud to my heart’s content; little did I know that what I heard as laughter was the cry of the suffocating spirit. I took with me a land creature to live among the fish.

But let what happened in the sea stay in the sea. I forgot my way back to the surface so I was washed onto the shore in an unconscious state and woke up later by the piercing force of sunlight on my skin. “Oh my Sun,” I yelled “had you forsaken me!”

Was my frightening visit to the underworld a dream of a man falling asleep on the beach? Was it a experimental course in human possibilities? Was it a tour and a lesson initiated by the eternal guide, or was a it detour in the Path because there’s roadwork in my life!? I will never know, but I know what I saw:

We do not become sinners and monsters, nor do we become saints and heroes; we are at once all of it. Which of our faces is seen depends on the mirror into which we stare; what we manifest from this infinitely wide range of possibilities depends on the habitat and the company, on people, places, and things to which we cling. I am that majestic brilliance that shines the color of whatever object lies next to it.

Man contains within itself all the possibilities of good and evil. A man or a woman is at once a potential saint and a potential sinner, at once a monster and a hero fighting the monster. The battle is always between the opposing poles of one and the same Person. Life begins with a broken polarity and comes to its conclusion with a return to perfect balance.

This strange creature that I am contains all the opposites within itself waiting to manifest one or the others. I am a man of a thousand faces, and this world is a mirror I face every morning. And every night when I return to the primordial balance of dreamless sleep, all the opposites within me cancel each other out, and hence the world vanishes. Everyday, nonduality breaks into duality, and duality returns into nonduality. This world, a stage for the dance of strife, appears only when Sakina (the Great Peace) shatters.

And this man, this finite vessel of infinity itself, is in its essence the coincidence of all opposites. Rumi, the Persian saint and poet, defines God as the “coincidence of all opposites,” but he also says that man in his deepest essence is identical with with the divine.

What all this teaches me is vigilance, for although I may be divine by nature, still monsters live in me, monsters that can be released, monsters whose sight scare the shit out of me regardless of whether I am dreaming or not.

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The Veiled Revealer

What is that thing through which we see everything? Light.

What is that thing which in principle can never be seen? Light.

What is light? Light is the dark revealer; itself veiled, it unveils everything else.

And the light of this world is only the shadow of that Intelligible Light which shines in your dreamless sleep, the home to which you return every night after a day of surfing on the ocean of life. Though you can never describe the dreamless state you know for a fact that it is a state of your reality. You don’t know what it is but you know that it is. Like dreamless sleep, Truth too is beyond whatness: It is but It is free of being anything in particular.

Whoever claims that there is no consciousness in dreamless sleep is claiming two things that contradict one another: First, by saying so he/she admits that there is such a thing as dreamless state, as opposed to a dreaming or a waking state. But then he denies in it the very existence of a consciousness that must be there in order for him to know about such a dreamless state. Exactly how did you “know” that there isn’t consciousness in that state? You must have been there yourself in one form or another! And if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t even know about it, let alone talk about it.

In dreamless sleep there is certainly no cognition going on but consciousness is there ever present as it is in all other states of consciousness. So this state should be characterized with the absence of cognition rather than the absence of consciousness, the latter leading to contradiction.

If there is no experience in dreamless sleep it is because there is no cognition to be illumined by the ever shining light of consciousness. Cognition is entirely conditioned and determined by the psycho-physical constitution of the individual being while consciousness is universal and transcendent to the plane of nature cognition.

Experience arises when the Intelligible Light, i.e. consciousness, is reflected back to Itself off of a non-consciousness, matter or cognition. In the absence of a non-consciousness, of a duality, there is nothing to reflect the light of consciousness so that no experience arises; however, the light is still there.

Same is true of the light of this world: That the outer space is dark, as opposed to our sky, is because there is no air or matter to reflect the light. In fact, the empty space is filled with visible light. We cannot see it because light, Intelligible or worldly, is the dark revealer: It only manifests the face of the Other and not Its own.

Hell is the Other

The man of today is drowning in the ocean of subjectivity, in phenomena, falling for his own shadow, falling a second fall. By continuous feeding of our little desires we have made a mistress out of them; mental and physical needs become more subtle, and we have developed a consciousness for them; we have become too conscious of every disturbance, and we struggle to suppress it one way or another, like a madman trying to calm the waters by pressing down upon waves. But this growth of desire has no end, a shoreless ocean it is; it opens up indefinitely like a fractal.

We are so mesmerized with the dance of forms that we can’t remember our exalted station. Man is a frail and fragile creature, a transient phenomenon; but what is within him, or what animates him, is immortal and indestructible. It is the androgynous perceiver of all the states of reality. It perceives all points of view at once; It sees through all eyes: It is the beholder of every now and then, of every here and there. It is what it is; “I am that I am.”

This universe is a one-man universe. There is no one else in it but you; there is no “other.” It is like when we reenact a situation or lost opportunity in our head, playing all sides and conversations by ourselves! This world, this diversity of subjects and objects, it is one of those situations in the mind of the Solitary One. And you are that One, the One without a second, the only One; and there is nothing like it.

If you see the success of others, why jealousy! In them, in their hearts, it is you; their gaze is your gaze. So their achievements should make you better and happier; their success is yours and their failure too is yours. Who else is in this world!? When you judge you judge only your own perceptions. If you are true to yourself, if you are objective at all, you must realize that you see nothing but your own perceptions. So, if the world is hell for you it is the hell of your own perceptions; and if it is heaven, it is the heaven of your own perceptions.

The otherness of the other is just another perception. The other is a manufactured reality, a notion, an alien interpretation read into the Current of Forms. I am all alone; I am the only reality. The diversity of subjects and objects, giving rise to the illusion of multiplicity, has its cause in a greater and higher intelligence beyond the mind. Being one and alone, It perceives within itself an apparent diversity, much like when a single mind can perceive such diversity in a dream state. As it is in the nature of light to shine, it is in the nature of consciousness to project, to make an image of its ideas. So the reality of the image is not to be found in the image itself but in the consciousness that projects it. All we perceive is light; world, diversity, is an interpretation: “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.” (Isha Upanishad)

In this world there is no such thing as equality. There are greater men as there are lesser men. What shines in them is the same; the difference is only in what they reflect of that Intelligible Light. The difference is in the degree to which they reflect in the outside world what is reflected within them. It is the matter of concentration and utilization. The psycho-physical constitution of a man, and indeed of this modern people, is such that the intelligence shining in him is mostly dissipated by mundane curiosities and irrelevant information; the attention is leaking out every which way.

As sun shines equally on everything, pure intelligence too shines equally in every being and animates it; but the receptivity of the spirit to this light always depends on our spiritual/intellectual orientation. If your mind-body complex is consuming most of your intelligence, then you are moving toward intellectual dullness and stupidity. Here lies the difference between literacy and knowledge, between mere information and true wisdom: Literacy doesn’t make noble men; it doesn’t impart virtue. Books don’t make men; it is men who make books. We see more crookedness, arrogance, and awkwardness in the merely literate than the illiterate. While literacy concerns itself with the letter, or the most superficial reading of it, knowledge is concerned with the spirit behind the letter, i.e. the transcendent and immutable meaning of things.

The imperative has always been the same: Know thyself. Know, first, that by knowing which everything else is known.

We produce informed but not wise men. We produce readers but not seers. We produce sterile beings. It is by the admission of our scientists and philosophers that “the more we know we realized how little we know.” That this knowledge, this outward curiosity, adds not to knowledge but to our ignorance. Then, how can it be called knowledge when by possessing it we feel less knowledgeable. Simple is the answer: This cannot be knowledge in the true sense of the word if it does not remove ignorance and instead multiplies it. That is why the more we fill ourselves with this world-knowledge, the more empty and arrogant we become. This is the difference between knowledge and literacy; in the latter we accumulate letters, a pile of names and forms, something even a tiny flash-drive can do; while in knowledge we accumulate nothing; we only peel off the many layers of ignorance; we add no more conceptions but stand behind all conceptions. By reaching the ground of Being we stand under everything; then and only then can we say we truly understand.

In true knowledge we add nothing but subtract everything until the true Self shines, until its beams emerge from underneath a pile of forms and letters. Literacy makes a man heavier, less flexible, less immortal; but knowledge, i.e. knowledge of universal principles, makes a man light, more flexible, and closer to immortality. At the summit, when the last veil, i.e. your human cover, drops and His face, your true Self, is beheld, then immortality is realized. And it is the immortal man who hovers over the surface of the waters, the waters in which the literate man of today is drowning to his demise.

Some make their own truths, and some let themselves be made by the truth: To be made is to be hammered.

 

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

From Present to Presence

The moment is always free due to its nature, like a balloon that tends to fly away. It is the ego who apparently ties it down to a particular situation/narrative, i.e. a complex of name and form. The now is the vessel of total reality; we have broken it into pieces and call them past and future. We were once gathered in Adam, but he fell into subconscious and shattered into existence, into us. Each is seeking the paradise for him/herself; we have forgotten that we are the very pieces of paradise. We are the petals of one and the same flower.

We fell from His presence to His presents, from essence to attributes, from Adam to the world.

This man falls for the fruit again and again. For the boldest and thirstiest of all men, the saint, who renounces all presents for a glimpse of His presence, this market does not have what he seeks. Here they sell only images; here everything and everyone is an image. The saint, though he appears to be, he is not.

The body seeks the stench of the world while the soul follows the scent of Truth . Oh, there is a rose garden in the heart. This world is a distraction; this marriage is an affair. The soul is His eternal bride.

Everyone is saying the same thing and everything is singing the same song; they are just putting it differently.

He gave us a choice, as to our fundamental orientation, whether we want to see His face or His back!

I seek solitude not because I enjoy isolation; I seek it because I hate isolation.

All separation is from Him.

All experience is spiritual experience.

In this courtyard I may be one among the many, but on the throne and with my Lord I am the one in the many.

Ignorance, the primordial vice, is the support of existence.

Spiritual realization does not consist in escaping the world but in seeing it as it is.

Of the metaphysical transparency of phenomena we can say this: Every phenomenon has a metaphysical root whose universal form is reflected in the phenomenon itself, so that the outward form is only an image or reflection of the inward meaning or essence. The manifest part of a tree, i.e. its trunk and branches, has the same form as the unmanifest part of the tree, its root. Thus, the soil, or that which separates earth from heaven, is really the plane of reflection through which the unmanifest essence projects itself into the manifest form. This portrays the universal architectonic of Reality which regenerates itself, much like a fractal, beginning from the Godhead and repeating itself all the way up to the most mundane aspect of any phenomenon. This universal form, i.e. the polarity of principle and projection, is the origin of all dualities: Essence and form, mind and matter, subject and object, ego and world, lord and the servant, heaven and the earth, creator and creature, up and down, north and south, wave and particle, the I and the other, happiness and misery, profit and loss, friend and enemy, union and separation, good and evil, with and without, inward and outward, light and darkness, life and death, mortality and immortality, here and there, now and then, right and left, me and you, etc. Now you get to make only two moves, either toward your root and principle, i.e. your first cause, or away from it, to become whole or remain a hole. To perceive in all these pairs the presence of one and the same principle, one and the same meaning; this is the metaphysical transparency of phenomena, that is, to see the painter in the painting.