Philosophizing with Hammer

The topic came up during a midsummer night conversation with a sweet and sensitive spirit, the idea that a purely contemplative philosophy is only the dark half of philosophy, and that a philosophy in its most developed and concrete form must be committed to responsible action in the world. This should be, above all, the final form of any mature spiritual philosophy. A religion or spiritual tradition immersed and lost in contemplative attitude, limited only to monastic or purely meditative form, in other words an armchair philosophy and a cave-bound spirituality, is a halfhearted dogmatic philosophy. Contemplation, however indispensable to the evolution of the Spirit, should be but a stage for concrete action in the world.

Philosophy changes the world by changing the man or woman who philosophizes. But philosophy, the greatest of all goods, is capable of being the greatest of all evils, for it can imprison as much as it can liberate. It can submerge the philosopher by sedating him, by removing him from the sphere of change and action with the false promise of truth and immortality. No one has been so acutely aware of and cautioned us against the perils of such philosophies and spiritual practices more than Friedrich Nietzsche, the demented soul who adored the “Yes-sayers” and despised the “nay-sayers.”

Philosophy must proceed and make way with a hammer, with the rushing forth of the spirit into, and not out of, the world, and with an unstoppable vitality and all-inclusiveness rooted in Ataraxia.

It is essential in the archetype of the hero to return from his retreat to its fortress of solitude, from the mountain like Zoroaster did; he must return with a divine love and tranquility to lift up the shattered spirit of the last man, to lead him out of the cave, or to become a bridge for the becoming of the new type of man. Only in his return the hero becomes full and concrete prior to which he is nothing but an inactive and unrealized ideal.

Before the moment of spiritual realization man is an abstraction, a sleepwalker and a blind drunkard at best: It is by this very realization, in Ataraxia, that he/she becomes real and concrete; and it is again by this realization that he/she is bound to return; and He returns, knowing that Samsara is Nirvana.

Seeing God

God, i.e. that ineffable Ground of all things to which the word alludes, can surely be seen and realized. This ground is not found as long as one is seeking it in the form of an object of consciousness, for It is Itself the source of that objectifying subjectivity that animates all things from behind the veil that is the seeking subject.

God is not found by seeking, for It is the finding itself: It is the will by which one seeks and the light in which one finds. The revealer of all things Itself remains forever concealed.

However, God, the Ground, can be seen and realized though in a manner incomparable to ordinary cognition subject to the trifold differentiation of the knower, the known, and the knowing. Compared to the seeing that sees God, our everyday seeing is sheer blindness.

Knowledge, whether discursive or unitive, has a form proportioned to its content. As knowledge of the relative world is itself relative, knowledge of God, the absolute and the infinite ground of reality, is absolute and infinite knowledge. Since the supreme principle of all things transcends the conditions of time and place, the consciousness that apprehends it is also unconditional; it is an eternal and universal knowledge that brings instantaneous and infallible liberation.

In seeing God, one does not acquire new knowledge but rather realizes the Ground, in the form of a shocking recognition or perhaps a transcendental and permanent déjà vu, as one’s true Self, an essential self stripped of all relative content, of individuality and personality, and in general of conditional existence.

The seer of truth is truly immortalized which by no means implies a prolongation of individual existence but rather freedom from individual existence as such, for he/she has realized within himself the identity of immanent time with transcendent eternity. In light of this supreme realization he comes to know that what is real in him has never stepped into the river of finitude and temporality but that he has been all along but witnessing all this from the throne of infinitude and eternity.

Seeing God is the self-realization of the Unmoved Mover.

In the words of our Sufi master Bayazid Bastami, “I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, ‘O thou I!’”

Find Me If You Can

The Void swallows that which is like it, empty and transparent. In that blessed moment what is above snatches from the claws of time what is below and hands it over to eternity.

Oh pole-seeking inhabitants of this imaginary sphere! It recedes as you seek It.

My Being stands, like Muhammad and the circle of friends, before this captivating tale of becoming begun.

Neither human nor angel am I! I am a pure gaze of no origin. I am the seer in all eyes and yet no eye can see me. I am one without a second. How do I bear this eternal solitude! In the whole of this existence no one is found but Me.

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 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 Saintly Ass

This creation contains all kinds of creatures, each being the locus of manifestation of certain qualities, qualities that are prefigured in the hidden principle of all manifestation. In other words, all creatures are nothing but the loci of manifestation of divine qualities. Each particular creature has a share in manifesting an aspect of its corresponding principle, much similar to the way each color of a rainbow is only an aspect of white light. If we extend this analogy further and see the colors of a rainbow as the different creatures, then man is not just one color among others: Man in his inward dimension is colorless; he is the white light that contains within him/herself, and in potential form, all the divine qualities and attributes. Thus, man is unique among all creatures because though he is one of them but he can act like any of them; he can become the most exalted in the world, but he can also become the basest of all creatures; and we have all seen among men those who manifest celestial and godlike qualities and also those who manifest bestial qualities. Man in his outward aspect constitutes one color of this rainbow we call creation, but in his inward aspect man is himself a rainbow of a thousand colors.

From a metaphysical point of view, the whole universe, i.e. the macrocosm, is seen as the locus of manifestation of all divine qualities; but this macrocosm in its entirety is reflected in man, the microcosm, who contains within himself all the divine qualities in their potential and undifferentiated form, that is, all the divine qualities can become manifested in and through man: Cosmos is the locus of manifestation of divine qualities in differentiated mode, while man is the locus of manifestation of divine qualities in undifferentiated mode.

This is true not only of the multitude, i.e. each individual manifesting a particular quality, but true also in one and the same individual. Perhaps we have all seen in ourselves the qualities of an ass and also passing glimpses of a saint, though in most of us, including myself more than anyone else, the temper tantrum of the ass has obscured if not entirely veiled the saintly qualities. Therefore, the human life and struggle can be viewed as the battle of the saint within with the ass within. In this sense, man, this strange creature situated in between heaven and hell is indeed a saintly ass: The saint within represents the ray of the Pure Intellect, while the ass within represents the ego whose erratic activity tends to diffract and disperse the light of the intellect.

Who is the saint and the sinner? The saint is the man or woman in whom the saint is riding and directing the ass, and the sinner is the man or woman in whom the ass is riding and bossing around the saint. The human struggle is to tame the ass within so that the saint within becomes manifest. Your ass has veiled the face of the saint within you.

Don’t be an ass; let there be only saint and sanctity.

 

To Know The Truth

Truth is not some sort of a “theory of everything” that science, or philosophy, may or may not someday discover; neither is the knowledge of Truth a theoretical apprehension of an object, a theory or otherwise, by the human subject. Rather, Truth and the knowledge of Truth are one and the same since It is the realization of the Supreme Identity in which the subject and the object of knowledge are united following immediately the Universal Extinction of the human subjectivity and the phenomenal world. More precisely, Truth, which is the same as Reality, is the state of permanent Self-Knowledge, permanence not in the sense of perpetuity but eternity which lies in the Timeless. Therefore, it is not man who knows, or can ever know, the Truth; instead, man is precisely the phenomenon that veils the state of permanent Self-Knowledge, a state that cannot be reduced to the knower and the known: There is neither the knower nor the known but the eternal and the indivisible Self-Knowledge having nothing whatsoever to do with human being, sentimental love, or outward action, for extinction and breakthrough into the Truth, the Godhead, i.e. the state of eternal Self-Knowledge, comes only through Intellectual Intuition and metaphysical contemplation. Truth is neither known nor attained but only Realized by metaphysical remembrance of That Which Is.