Tuesday, October 30, 2007


“Fundamentalism is an attempt to impose a single truth on a plural world. What really lies behind it is fear and profound insecurity. Aggression is always a sign of insecurity, and insecurity is always, at bottom, a lack of faith, not the presence of it.”

-Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fade I

"Fade I unto Divinity"
-Emily Dickinson

"May our 'I' consciousness fade away"
- Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
(From a letter in Marathi)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Astonishing the Gods

"...very small and humble, and yet encompassing the world with divinity, was the quiet figure of the great mother." p.91

"the hall was suddenly abolished, its walls rendered invisible, and the new space was radiant with the appearance of a summoned being, the tender presence of the great mother, protectress of the island and its secret ways. The swirling energies of this being were everywhere, making the spaces alive with something akin to the electrification of the spirit, and a mighty collective hum of praise now seemed to have lifted off into the air, and the city seemed in flight. Such a splendid weightlessness pervaded everything, and all those in the great hall seemed to be afloat on a silver cloud, spiralling into the sublimity of the great mother. It wasn't long before he felt that something about him had changed forever in that celestial mood."
-Ben Okri, Astonishing the Gods

Ben Okri won the Booker prize for The Famished Road.
Astonishing the Gods is a fable exploring deep metaphysical ideas.
Essentially Okri has written a new creation myth. The book relates the story of the soul's pilgrimage towards new levels of Self-realisation, the false conceptions which must be lost on the way and the guidance which is available to the seeker.
The protagonist is assisted on his path through the magical world by three guides who, though invisible, have distinct qualities: the first is a fatherly being who presents him with challenges to overcome and difficult concepts to grasp, the second guide is a child who instructs him through the medium of silence and imparts a sense of the wonderousness of the world when seen through the eyes of innocence, the gentle and compassionate third guide is feminine and leads him to a place where he can bathe and purify himself before entering - if he wishes - a palace in which exists a state of utter silence, a complete absence of sensory experience. A state akin to the non-experiential states reached in deep meditation
The three guides recall the Gnostic Trinity of Father, Son and Mother Holy Spirit; analogous to the Hindu Holy family: Shiva, Ganesha and Parvati. To the seeker these universal archetypes represent the qualities of Self-awareness, Innocence and Grace, without which he cannot reach the goal.
Invisibility and Egolessness
The hero becomes aware of an invisible spiritual world of which he is also a part. This invisibility is associated with an erosion of identity, not so much in the negative sense of self-abandonment, but in the positive sense of release from the limiting ego. He finds himself on an enchanted island - a symbol of the psyche in many mythologies and a favourite abode of Lord Shiva, who represents the Self. He discovers that there are gradations of invisibility or egolessness that 'shaded into the eternal, the infinite' and the more 'insubstantial' the sense of 'I'ness, the 'mightier; a being becomes. However, the ego resists the threat to its own existence posed by the unknown of apparent oblivion beyond itself. This is illustrated in the book by the ordeal of the bridge across the bottomless abyss which one must cross despite the fact that it appears to be made of thin air, and the faster one tries to cross the bridge the less distance is covered. In a similar manner, the ego resists our attempts to overcome it, becoming stronger the harder we try.
The perils of failing to become what one can become
The first of the guides warns the hero of the dangers of ignoring the Self, telling him: "You will become the statue of your worst and weakest self". The words of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas convey a similar sense of the urgency of Self-realisation at the present stage of evolution; it is not something we can take or leave: "That which you have will save you if you bring it forth from yourselves. That which you do not have within you will kill you if you do not have it within you".
The Self is blissful to those who surrender to it, but terrifying to those who cling to the ego. Shiva, the Supreme Self, is all-compassionate, but also takes the form known as Rudra, the destructive aspect of the Divine. His pleasant consort Parvati may take the terrific form of the goddess Kali.
The Eternal
The first guide introduces a new concept of time as something which appears to the human mind to move but remains still. We learn that the civilisation of the invisible inhabitants of the island is founded upon "a permanent sense of wonder at the stillness of time". The anthropologist Joseph Campbell once said that, according to Eastern philosophy, Eternity is not distant in time and space, in fact it has nothing to do with our notions of time and space. The one who achieves a state of Self-realisation is beyond time and space.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

First Person Personal Pronouns and their Psychic Referents

"Then Moses said to God, 'If they … ask me, "What is his name?" what shall I say to them?' God said to Moses, 'I am who I am' (Exodus, 3, 13-14).

Para vivir no quiero islas, palacios, torres. !Que alegría más alta: vivir en los pronombres! Quítate ya los trajes las señas, los retratos; yo no te quiero así, disfrazada de otra, hija siempre de algo. Te quiero pura, libre, irreductible: tú. Sé que cuando te llame entre todas las gentes del mundo sólo tú serás tú Y cuando me preguntes quién es el que te llama, el que te quiere suya, enterraré los nombres, los rótulos, la historia. Iré rompiendo todo lo que encima me echaron desde antes de nacer. Y vuelto ya al anónimo eterno del desnudo, de la piedra, del mundo, te diré: 'yo te quiero, soy yo.' "

Ana-Maria Rizzuto

From Wikipedia:

"I am that I am" (Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה, pronounced Ehyeh asher ehyeh) is one English translation of the response God used in the Bible when Moses asked for His name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means "existed" or "was" in Hebrew; ehyeh is the first person singular present/future form. Ehyeh asher ehyeh is generally interpreted to mean "I am that I am" (King James Bible and others), yet, is most literally translated as "I-shall-be that I-shall-be."
The word "Ehyeh" is used a total of 43 places in the Old Testament, where it is usually translated as "I will be" or "I shall be," as is the case for its final occurrence in Zechariah 8:8. It stems from the Hebrew conception of monotheism that God exists within each and everyone and by Himself, the uncreated Creator who does not depend on anything or anyone; therefore "I am who I am".

Theologians have many different explanations for the meaning behind this phrase. Many theologians explain that "I am that I am" is better translated to "I be that I be". The ancient Hebrew language does not have a past, present, or future tense. Instead, it has an imperfective aspect and perfective aspect as indicators of time, with no actual determined time.
Perfective aspect is something that is completed, or will be definitely completed. Imperfective is something that has not been completed, might be completed or might be completed in the future (there is no definite).
"Ehyeh" is in the imperfective aspect, and can be understood as God saying that He is "in the process of being", a reference saying that He exists in all times, constantly, eternally.

According to traditional Christian interpretation, the New Testament testifies that Jesus Christ declared He is the great “I Am” (the Self) of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible).

The revelation of the ineffable name "I AM WHO AM" contains then the truth that God (the Self) alone IS. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures understood the divine name in this sense: God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from Him; but He alone is His very being, and He is of himself everything that He is.

In Advaita Vedanta, the "I am" is an abstraction in the mind of the Stateless State, of the Absolute, or the Supreme Reality, called Parabrahman. It is pure awareness, prior to thoughts, free from perceptions, associations, memories.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The term 'I am' has no meaning by itself

Some philosophers deny that the concept of "being" has any meaning at all, since we only define an object's existence by its relation to other objects, and actions it undertakes. The term "I am" has no meaning by itself; it must have an action or relation appended to it. This in turn has led to the thought that "being" and nothingness are closely related, developed in existential philosophy.
- Wikipedia

Ownership of Identity

Jean-Luc Nancy believes that the in-between moment is not about what lays between subjects, as a subject of the ego, which for Nancy does not exist. Having intersubjectivity without subjects is important for Nancy because it points to a concept of self that is prior to a self that contains the property of an ego. The ‘as’ structures of self, by Nancy’s account, is not about ownership of identity, neither that of one’s own nor that of the other. Through the ‘as such’ structure of self, the ‘I’ as a self that owns an ego, gets displaced as follows: Ego sum=ego cum, being-with=thinking-with. As such, one’s presentation of self is exposed through a community, in being with others. This is in essence what Nancy is trying to do in revising the Cartesian logos as “Cogito Ergo Sum”, “I think, therefore I am”, which changes the gaze of one’s in accordance to rule following and execution of order. So if “order of thought” is what determines “order of execution”, then multiplicity of meaning encased in one’s experiences of the different as “praxis of meaning”, requires a non-subject-descriptor of the in-between that makes certain notions of behavior less mechanical while at the same time, less mysterious.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Electric Sheep

Electric Sheep by Sakura Graphics

Egolessness does not mean becoming a sheep, or an android - an apparently autonomous organism that is really no more than a lifeless circuit in a vast machine.
Self-realisation gives a person initiative, drive, originality, intelligence, leadership qualities, an assertiveness which achieves results without dominating 'others', indomitability, freedom (all the qualities associated with being a strong individual)
These are all qualities of the single Self, which express themselves after Self-realisation.
Ego is not the source of strong individuals, it is pathological, and ultimately weakening.
It is not the free expression of Selfhood, rather it is a symptom of possessiveness.
Non-possessiveness is not incompatible with being a strong individual, in fact it is the prerequisite for being a strong individual.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the One

"I am the One who alone exists"

-Gnostic wisdom
The Thunder, Perfect Mind

The Kundalini as Spiritus Sanctus

From the Chants of Hildegard von Bingen:

Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vita,
movens omnia, et radix est in omni creatura,
ac omnia de immunditia abluit,
tergens crimina, ac ungit vulnera,
et sic est fulgens ac laudabilis vita,
suscitans et resuscitans omnia.

English Translation:

Holy Spirit, bestowing life unto life,
moving in All.
You are the root of all creatures,
washing away all impurity,
scouring guilt, and anointing wounds.
Thus you are luminous and praiseworthy,
Life, awakening, and re-awakening all that is.

According to yoga knowledge, the Kundalini is the Root of the Tree of Life (the Subtle System of Chakras)

In Sahaja yoga the Kundalini is experienced as a cool breeze - the Divine Breath (Ruach):

"I am the breeze that nourishes all things green,
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life."

- Hildegard Von Bingen, medieval abbess, mystic and upbraider of popes, quoting the Holy Spirit

Self and Imagination. The imaginary self

"The natural scientific thought is that the identity of a human being is just that of a large mammal undergoing the natural process of birth, aging and eventual death. The real enemy of this thought is our imagination, which enables us to envisage ourselves born to a different body at a different time, or even floating free of our present reincarnation and surviving as heaven-knows-what.
....The first serious opponent of the notion that imagination can help define identity in western philosophy was David Hume.
Literary and narrative conceptions of the self that have been prominent since the late 20th century, which have us constantly telling and retelling ourselves who we are, thereby constructing our identities in something like the way an author constructs a character. Selves become useful fictions, a notion that has appealed to some neurophysiologists anxious to find a unifying function that ties together the otherwise heterogeneous structures or 'modules' responsible for how we respond to the world.
The awkward, lurking question of who is the author (and who the audience) of these stories is best left a little vague."
New Scientist, August 2006.

After Self-realisation, the faculty of the human imagination becomes one with the Imagination of the Universal Self. The Self imagines itself however it pleases, and that imagining is reality.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Ludwig Wittgenstein, at an early age, already caught up by deep philosophical problems.

Wittgenstein's anti-Cartesianism is evident in the Blue Book "where he writes, first, that our language creates the illusion that the word 'I' refers to 'something bodiless, which, however, has its seat in our body," and then concludes: 'In fact this seems to be the real ego, the one of which it was said, "Cogito, ergo sum".'
he returns to the theme once again in the Philosophical Investigations where he writes: " 'I' is not the name of a person, nor 'here' of a place, and 'this' is not a name. But they are connected with names.
Names are explained by means of them. It is also true that it is characteristic of physics not to use these words." (P.I.,410)
In the Tractatus he states that "there is no such thing as the soul" (TLP5.5422)
He uses the words 'soul' and 'subject' interchangeably, so what he was really getting at was that the subject (self) does not exist as an object. He considered the self, the 'I', to be a mystery inaccessible to thought, which is based on language.
"language disguises thought. So much so, that from the outward form of the clothing it is impossible to infer the form of the thought beneath it."
It became apparent to Wittgenstein that the subject cannot be conceived of in Cartesian terms as both simple and representing (ie. thinking, believing, judging, etc.) These two characteristics, which the classical modern tradition from Descartes to Leibniz to Russel has taken to be compatible, are, in fact, not so. And with this observation he cuts through the Gordian knot of the modern conception of the subject. The idea that a simple self could also be a representing self is indeed absurd.
Wittgenstein rejects the idea of a composite subject: "a composite soul would no longer be a soul."

Chakras and the Zodiac

Here is a TENTATIVE, SPECULATIVE, suggested correspondence between the parts of the subtle system (seven Chakras, Kundalini and Void) and the twelve signs of the zodiac. And also the Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious.
Notice that we are ascending in a serpentine fashion, oscillating from left to right and back again.

This is the way the Kundalini moves.

CAPRICORN - Earth - Chakra = Left Mooladhara and Left/Back Agyna,
Presiding Deity = Shri Ganesha,
Archetype = (The Child), Quality = overcoming obstacles

AQUARIUS - Air - The Kundalini, the Divine Breath, The Cool Breeze of the Holy Spirit.
Note: the Kundalini is not a chakra, but the source of the energy that nourishes them.

PISCES - Water - Void
(The Ocean of Illusion, and the Wise old man or woman/Guru that takes one across it)

ARIES - Fire - Right Mooladhara and Right/Front Agnya, Shri Kartikeya
(The Warrior) destroying negativity.
Note Shri Kartikeya is a warrior child, and the sign Aries fits that description better than any other.

TAURUS - Earth- Left Swadisthana?

GEMINI - Air - Right Swadisthana, Shri Hanumana, Mercury
(The Trickster)

CANCER - Water - Left Nabhi -Left heart
(The Housewife), motherliness, food

LEO - Fire - Right Heart, Shri Rama,
(The Solar Hero)
Note: the right nabhi chakra is associated with royal dignity, so perhaps it is also ruled by Leo.

VIRGO - Earth - Left Visshuddhi, Shri Vishnumaya
(The Virgin)

LIBRA - Air - Right Visshuddhi?
Note: the quality of the right visshuddhi is diplomacy. In Astrology Libra is associated with that.

SCORPIO - Water - Left Sahasrara, Brahmarandhra, rebirth/death of ego

SAGITTARIUS - Fire - Right Sahasrara, Shri Kalki (Horse-headed deity)

Note: in the Indian calendar the year starts with the sign Capricorn,
and it is an alternative to Aries as the first sign of the zodiac.

Each of the seven chakras has a left and a right aspect.
The left aspects are of the Yin elements (earth and water) while the right side is Yang (fire and air).
There is a strong link between the Mooladhara and Agnya chakras.
HH Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has mentioned the correspondence between several of the signs and chakras,

and I have based the above on these insights.
To my knowledge Shri Mataji hasn't physically drawn a chart like this but has referred to the signs and their chakra in different talks. I merely did the chart as a summary of that
and tried to fill in the gaps in a speculative but logical manner.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

"So when the great word ‘Mother!’ rang once more,
I saw at last its meaning and its place;
Not the blind passion of the brooding past,
But Mother - the World's Mother - come at last,
To love as she had never loved before
-To feed and guard and teach the human race."

- Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
American writer, artist and social reformer.


When the Kundalini energy reaches the 7th subtle centre in the body, at the crown of the head, the yogi realises the single Self, and knows that individual selves are an illusion. This chakra is the Sahasrara - the Lotus of a Thousand Petals. The medieval Italian poet Dante saw it in mystic vision as the Sempiternal Rose, "its petals rising in more than a thousand tiers are the thrones of the blessed."

The Kundalini emerges through a subtle opening known as the Brahmarandhra - the Aperture of Brahma. Sanskrit 'randhra' = a slit, split, opening, aperture, hole, chasm, fissure, cavity. (probably related to the English word 'rend' - to split)

This subtle opening also manifests on the physical level - in infants the bones forming the skull are not completely fused and there is an opening called the fontanelle - a word suggestive of the emergence of the fountain-like, upward-springing Kundalini from the top of the head.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Who is troubled?

From both science and (so-called) mysticism
we know intellectually that the ego-self
can not possibly exist,
yet we still feel troubled by a sense
of being an owner of a body and a life,
an owner who fears suffering and desires pleasure.
These fears and desires trouble us,
and we try to rid ourselves of this
illusory sense of ownership,
but rather than trying to wish it away mentally,
one should ask the question:
"Who is being troubled?".

Through inquiry into the source of this illusion
it disappears by itself, just as a weed is destroyed
by finding it's root and cutting it off.

- Paraphrase of Advaita Vedanta philosophy.