The Center

“It is unmoving, one, and faster than the mind. The senses could not overtake It, since It had run ahead. Remaining stationary, It outruns all other runners. It being there, Matarisva supports all activities.

That moves, That does not move; That is far off, That is very near; That is inside all this, and That is also outside all this.

He is all-pervasive, pure, bodiless, without wound, without sinews, taintless, untouched by sin, omniscient, ruler of mind, transcendent, and self-existent; he has dully allotted the duties to the eternal years.

He who sees all beings in the Self itself, and the Self in all beings, feels no hatred by virtue of that realization.”

Isha Upanishad

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

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

On Truth & Untruth

Who is He that all the birds sing His name, whose dark light has befallen the fallen! What can be said about Him without whom nothing can be said! What can be thought about Him without whom nothing can be thought? And what name can be given Him who is the Great Pronouncer of all names?!

Are we not closer to Him in our silence than in our words?! In the Face of The Absolute everything burns but the Supreme Silence, that sublime abyss from which we have arisen and to which we shall return, the ever veiled abode of that Sole Dweller of the Void. It is in the seductive charm of that Black Magician that we roam as if freely; we are passing nomads in the imagination of a child.

Behold you tired traveler of time, the path you walk ends in your heart. You are the home you have so much missed. You but not you, You are the veiled face of the One. Drop the mask of time and shine in glory.

I am far too outside this world, of its concerns and consolations. But from the heights of truth, from the mountaintops that pierce the dense clouds of illusion, history and identity, I stand alone and see not what’s below but what is above, the ineffable and ineffaceable glory of Khorshid. Up here even the loudest uproars of the earth can’t reach. You may perceive my shadow but I am veiled with the Light of the Supreme Silence. This world with all its horizontal curiosities and irrelevant questions is nothing but a shadow of a shadow, a refracted Light of the One. Yet here I am standing beyond all reflection and refraction, beyond world and people.

There is a partial truth in the claim, of superficial observers, that religions are means of consolation, but so too are man-made sciences and philosophies: Sciences produce abstract notions and thought stirs them until they solidify into a rigid block of merely accepted beliefs about the world and reality. These abstractions have veiled the face of the One who is Itself the source of all abstractions, and hence Itself the most concrete of all. Religion, too, veils the Face but does so only to protect Its sanctity and also to shield the mass from the fatal radiation of the Face; but unlike tradition the modern veilings introduced by our sciences and scholars made us forget the Face and its sanctity altogether. We mistook the veil for knowledge! This is so because the majority of men rather forget their ignorance than confess to them. But our worldly engagements, no matter how intense they are, will always allow for occasional rifts in which we become world-loose again and remember that despite all appearances we never really know anything at all, that what we think we know is nothing but ideas of our own making. We see, if at all, not only that we are essentially nothing in particular, but that we can never truly become anything, for we are ourselves occasions for all becomings: We ourselves are the veil.

What nowadays passes for knowledge is nothing but the accumulation of verbal notions in the memory; and that is why the learned men and women of today that take so much pride in the size of their baggage of verbal notions are worse off, in their being, than when they started. These so-called educated and cultured men and women come out of their cults, academia, with a flattened intelligence and outlook that cannot recognize, by its nature, anything above their purely horizontal comprehension, or rather incomprehension, that operates only in the plane of subjectivity. Knowledge that doesn’t transform and elevate man’s being, adding to the weight of his presence, an addition imparted vertically and from above rather than learned horizontally and from below, is no knowledge at all. This modern education introduces only mental deformities that pull down the objective intelligence unto its knees, to the level of mere subjectivity and sentimentality which is nothing but the madhouse of competing beliefs and opinions.

The Real, The Absolute, is the most concrete of all; everything else is mere abstraction. Hence, the secretum secretorum: Insofar as I am the individual I do not know The Absolute, and insofar as I know The Absolute I am not the individual.

Oh, deluded man, seek only the consolation of the One. Seek the blessed moment that contains all moments, the permanent actuality of the Self within which we are but crawling possibilities. Behold that blessed moment where His eye burns your “I.” It is that dark light of the Self which conceals Itself by revealing the world. When you wake up in the lower darkness follow the light into the higher darkness where He dwells.

In a phenomenal world man is nothing but a phenomenal man, a passing appearance that veils the permanent essence.

This world is nothing but the bottom of a well. The way out is upwards and not forward. You seek the rope of salvation in vain; you are the rope of salvation. Pull this rope with the longing of the heart. Your ascent is indeed the walls’ descent. Oh my dear essence, you have always been in The Open. The well in which you found yourself was the world you imagined around yourself. You are the sun hypnotized by the lure of its reflection in the well. Lose this petty identity of yours and attain to Supreme Identity.

Spiritual ascent is like the ascent to the surface of air-bubbles in water: Your human individuality is nothing but an apparent form, the bubble, while your essence is the air seeking to merge in its source. The liberation of air at the surface coincides with the extinction of the bubble, the form, the human you. Thus, the summit of spiritual realization is the total Liberation of the essence which comes from the total extinction of the form and individuality as such. Fear not reaching that surface, for it is the bubble that bursts, not You. Fear not that Blessed Moment, for your mortality is nothing but a veil over your immorality.

Every object is both a door to heaven and a door to hell. It is a door to heaven through its essence and a door to hell through its form. Through the essence we ascend toward Unity; through the form we fall and sink into diversity. Seek not what is looked at but the source of all looking, that descending ray of The Sacred Look who is captivated by its own eternal Self-disclosure.

Lord, please forgive my forgetfulness.

Egology IV

This article is the fourth and the last post of the 4 part series Egology.

In Egology I and Egology II we expressed in detail the nature of ego as such and introduced the two types of ego operative, in a hierarchical order, in the constitution of the world and experience: The Transcendental Ego who constitutes/creates the world and its experience, and the Empirical Ego who lives these world experiences and identifies with various roles in it through the narratives it tells itself. While the empirical ego is human, manifold, and exposed to consciousness, the transcendental ego is non-human, the one in the many, and concealed from consciousness. In Egology III we introduced in detail the principal modalities of the empirical ego, the human subject: Empirical ego has two principal modes of vibration or behavior, the Proactive mode and the Reactive mode, which are associated with the types of narratives the empirical ego tells itself and with which it identifies. We also added that the empirical ego can vibrate in the proactive and the reactive modes simultaneously which is really a superposition of the two principal modes. This superposition state of the empirical ego has an important spiritual function to which we have devoted our present post.

In the previous post, Egology III, we stated that the empirical ego can also vibrate in the proactive and the reactive modes simultaneously which makes it somewhat neutral or indifferent to circumstances, for when the reactive mode and the proactive mode superimpose they tend to cancel one another into a relatively flat line which constitutes a kind of passivity or detachment from the ups and downs of a narrative. We call this mode of the empirical ego the superposition state, its detached mode, or the passive mode which is far from a passive personality truly belonging to the reactive mode.

The passive mode, thus, is not really another principal mode of vibration of the empirical ego but rather the result of the two principal modes, proactive and reactive, superimposing on one another. The empirical ego in its passive mode tends to be more objective in the sense that it identifies itself with circumstances with much less intensity than the ego in either of the two principal modes separately; its narrative is more like the life of a monk. Note that the passive mode of the ego does not necessarily imply a passive personality which is a modality of the reactive mode; ego in passive mode may even be a very active person but it doesn’t identify too much with these activities; it is more detached from and less identified with its narrative compared to the other two modes of the ego. A natural consequence of this detachment is that the ego in passive mode is not too much affected by favorable or unfavorable circumstances, by loss or gain. While the ego in proactive mode uses obstacles to its own advantage and in reactive mode laments over them, nonetheless they are both always entangled in the world and its ups and downs, and hence they are naturally always affected by world events and phenomena. The proactive mode tends toward worldly success while the reactive mode tends toward worldly failure, but the passive mode which is neutral and detached from the worldliness tends more toward liberation from the world as such.

Here is a summary of what we said: The empirical ego which is the constitution/creation of the transcendental ego and also the object of knowledge of the Witness has two principal modes of vibration/behavior which are associated with the nature of the narratives the empirical ego tells itself about itself and its surrounding world. The empirical ego can vibrate in the proactive mode in which it situates (narrates) itself in an epic story and welcoming environment. The empirical ego can also vibrate in the reactive mode in which it situates (narrates) itself in a tragic story and a hostile environment. The empirical ego throughout its world-life usually switches back and forth between the two principal modes; however, in each empirical ego one or another mode of vibration is more dominant.

The empirical ego can also vibrate in a mix of the two principal modes. This vibration of the empirical ego, the human person, is called the passive or detached mode, or the superposition state, of the ego whose narrative is more neutral than either of the two principal modes separately. While the detached ego may be a very active ego in the world, it does not identify itself with those actions and the fruits of those actions. The proactive mode tends toward worldly success; the reactive mode tends toward worldly failure; and the detached ego tends toward liberation from the world as such.

It is important to note that in all these cases, the success, the failure, and the liberation are only narratives and not concrete realities: They are only narratives created by the transcendental ego and told by the empirical ego which is itself a narrative constituted by the transcendental ego and experienced in light of the Witness Consciousness, or what in Hindu metaphysics is called Saksin and in Phenomenology The Disinterested Onlooker.

The true essence of everyone and everything is the Witness, and hence the empirical ego, itself illusory in its existence since it is nothing but a narrative, is a fundamentally free agent that can choose to vibrate in the proactive, reactive, or the mixed passive mode. Liberation or Deliverance consists in liberation from the empirical ego as such and hence from all narratives associated with it. Thus, one who is liberated no more perceives itself as an empirical ego in a world of phenomena, and hence it doesn’t vibrate in any of the modes of the empirical ego: As long as we are empirical egos, perceiving ourselves as human beings in a world, we can’t but vibrate in either of its modes or the mix state. Narrative is essential to the life of the empirical ego which is itself only a vibration; there is always a narrative attached to the empirical ego even in its passive and detached mode who tends toward liberation but not yet truly liberated; its narrative in this mode is the narrative of detachment and liberation from the world.

However, the truly liberated one is in fact liberated from the bonds of all narratives, and hence of worldliness and humanity; it is no more identified with an empirical ego and hence is free from all its vibrations each of which is really a narrative mode. The phenomenal world too, which is itself a mega-narrative against which all other narratives of the empirical ego play, vanishes for the liberated one. This is a very logical meaning of liberation or Deliverance: Since liberation is in fact liberation from all narratives, and since the phenomenal world itself is nothing but a narrative constituted by the transcendental ego, naturally the liberated one becomes free of the world-narrative also, and hence the world ceases to exist for the liberated one.

Change, decay, and, mortality which are the essential features of the world narrative and all its constituents do not apply to the liberated one who has already transcended the world. The liberated one achieves immortality, for it is now identified with nothing but the Witness which is its true nature and essence. We said earlier in Egology II that the Witness which lies entirely outside the world-narrative, space and time, and hence unaffected by it is not subject to any change or decay; It is immortal and immutable. Therefore, the liberated one who directly perceives and realizes its essential identity with the Witness, known as The Supreme Identity, becomes truly immortal and immutable.

We always start things from the human state, from the empirical ego. To ascend the hierarchy of states and stations, that is, egos and vibrations, moving up toward the Witness and Supreme Identity we must first move from the proactive or reactive mode to the passive mode of the empirical ego. This horizontal movement from the two extremes to the middle point takes place in the plane of human existence. Once in the passive or detached mode of the empirical ego we begin our vertical ascent toward the Principle, an ascent which requires leaving behind the human state and moving up through all conditioned states and finally merging in the The Unconditioned, The Witness, The Absolute and The Infinite Principle.