Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have learned so much from God
That I can no longer call myself a Christian,
a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me
That I can no longer call myself a man, a woman,
an angel, or even a pure soul.
Love has befriended Hafiz.
It has turned to ash and freed me
Of every concept and image my mind has ever known.
- Hafiz, 1320 c.e to 1389
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man."-Frank Herbert
"the sleeper must awaken" — Frank Herbert (Dune)
There's another film version of Dune in the pipeline. The plan is to make it more faithful to the book than the David Lynch version. Lynch's film was visually interesting but probably incomprehensible without having read the book.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
True egolessness means obedience to the universal Self, not to an organisation or hierarchy. Humility does not mean erosion of personality and Self-esteem.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Self, Martin Puryear
Martin Puryear (born 1941) is an African American sculptor. He is considered one of the foremost sculptors of the present day, and the leading African American sculptor. He works in media such as wood, stone, tar, and wire, and his work is a union of minimalism and traditional crafts. The work shown above is called 'Self'. The Washington Times describes it as "a smooth, black monolith, [which] suggests the unknowable truth within a person."
Shiva Lingam from the Narmada River, India
Saturday, November 15, 2008
2007, Josiah McElheny, American, born in 1966
You would assume that this image was created using computer graphics, but it's not a virtual reality.
at each juncture there lies a jewel;
each jewel reflects all the other jewels in this cosmic matrix.
Every jewel represents an individual life form, atom, cell or unit of consciousness.
Each jewel, in turn, is intrinsically and intimately connected to all the others;
thus, a change in one gem is reflected in all the others.
This last aspect of the jeweled net is explored in a question/answer dialog of teacher and student in the Avatamsaka Sutra. In answer to the question: "how can all these jewels be considered one jewel?" it is replied: "If you don't believe that one jewel...is all the jewels...just put a dot on the jewel [in question]. When one jewel is dotted, there are dots on all the jewels...Since there are dots on all the jewels...We know that all the jewels are one jewel"
The moral of Indra's net is that the compassionate and the constructive interventions a person makes or does can produce a ripple effect of beneficial action that will reverberate throughout the universe or until it plays out. By the same token you cannot damage one strand of the web without damaging the others or setting off a cascade effect of destruction.
A good explanation of the Hindu/Buddhist myth of Indra's net can be found in The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra: "...particles are dynamically composed of one another in a self-consistent way, and in that sense can be said to 'contain' one another. In Mahayana Buddhism, a very similar notion is applied to the whole universe. This cosmic network of interpenetrating things is illustrated in the Avatamsaka Sutra by the metaphor of Indra's net, a vast network of precious gems hanging over the palace of the god Indra." In the words of Sir Charles Eliot:
"In the Heaven of Indra, there is said to be a network of pearls, so arranged that if you look at one you see all the others reflected in it. In the same way each object in the world is not merely itself but involves every other object and in fact IS everything else. In every particle of dust, there are present Buddhas without number."
The similarity of this image to the Hadron Bootstrap is indeed striking. The metaphor of Indra's net may justly be called the first bootstrap model, created by the Eastern sages some 2,500 years before the beginning of particle physics.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Out of Many, One.
And out of a single Self
the richly variegated people
that are America,
the Visshuddhi Chakra of the World.
Shri Krishna, the ruler of the Visshuddhi Chakra, is described in the Hindu scriptures as "blue-black". In paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, He is often depicted as light sky-bluish in complexion, but this may be due to the influence of British rule with it's practice of dividing and conquering India, by highlighting differences in skin colour between north and south.
Below are two black images of Shri Krishna: left - ShriNathji (Nathdwara, Rajasthan), right - Shri Vitthala (Pandharpur, Maharashtra). Note the light blue-complexioned infant Krishna superimposed over the original indigo-complexioned, Self-manifested image type of ShriNathji.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
"I have had numerous births.
In vain have I sought the builder of the house.
Oh, the torment of perpetual rebirth!
But I have seen you at last,
O builder of the house.
You no longer build the house.
The rafters are broken;
the old walls are down.
The ancient mountain crumbles;
the mind attains to nirvana;
birth is no more for desire is no more."
Twelve times the earth shook;
the world was like a great flower.
The Gods sang:
"He has come, he who brings light into the world;
he has come, he who protects the world!
Long blinded, the eye of the world has opened,
and the eye of the world is dazzled by the light."
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The power that has created you, the power that has given you all these three powers: Ida Nadi, Pingala Nadi or Kundalini Shakti, the one which is the desire of all that. We can take a simile just to understand it: the owner of the house... supposing the owner of the house walks into the house with his money and creates everything he wants to do about his house. Now the master goes out, he’s not there, when you see a house, you see the power of all the workmen who have done the job, somebody who has established everything. But you don’t know whose desire it has been. In the same way you have seen your body being created, you even see the mind that you have got, you can see your emotions that are there, of course, you can also see you’re a human being, you can also see you’re much far away from the animals. And if you have some wisdom, you understand also you’re much wiser than anything that is created so far. But the power of desiring, desiring power, or we can say the projecting power, or the one who is the owner of all that, the owning power, He is… And then His power of desire, Maha Kali’s power, is His desire, then manifests everything else. His desire, He manifests, His Maha Kali power, that you see here on the left-hand side, manifested in the human being as Ida Nadi, creates all the rest of the universe and everything later on. But first it’s only the desire. But the one who desires, in us He is placed in our heart, away from all this. And He just desires. We do not know Him, but He knows us. We know one thing, definitely, that He knows us. There is someone who is definitely watching us, as in the Gita, the one who is the Knower of the field. The Knower of the field is that. Once you also become the knower of your field, you are Self-realized. This is Self-realization.
...Till you reach the state of Self-realization you’re not aware of it, you cannot control it, you cannot work it out; it works by itself. That part the doctors call it as autonomous nervous system, and the psychologists as unconscious.
After realization only the whole thing becomes your own, in the sense, you change sides. So far you have been looking at things from there, but this principle of Brahma, It can be in such a mood that It has no duty, It just exists. It has no duty. It is not the duty of an owner of a house to do something about it, it is his whim, if he wants to do it, he’ll do it, otherwise he’ll live like a hermit. He has no duties. I hope you understand the meaning of the owner, because the human laws are funny - whatever, you may be the owner, still you can’t do many things. But if you can think of an absolute owner of the place, absolute owner.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Song Ling, Innocence
Without innocence liberalism is permissiveness,
and conservatism is fascism.
Fascism destroys the innocent quickly;
Permissiveness destroys them more slowly.
That is the only difference.
Las Meninas (the Maids of Honour), Velasquez, Prado Museum.
Some argue that, because it seems to depict perception itself, Las Meninas is the greatest painting in Western Art.
- Terry Eagleton on Georg Lukacs
She is worthy of homage.
She is unstained,
and the entire world cannot stain Her.
She is a source of light,
and from everyone in the triple world
She removes darkness.
-Ashta Sahasrika 7, 170 (1st Century)
Monday, October 27, 2008
isn't a thing of momentary thrills,
or even hourly ones.
It's a condition of eternity.
The English composer Gustav Holst was interested in Hindu mysticism and spirituality, and this was to influence his later works, including Sita (1899–1906, a three-act opera based on an episode in the Ramayana), Sāvitri, a chamber opera based on a tale from the Mahabharata, and Hymns from the Rig Veda, in preparation for which he took lessons in Sanskrit at University College London and acquired enough understanding to be able to make his own adaptations of Sanskrit texts. Holst was also interested in socialism, astrology (he regularly gave readings for people) and the gnostic gospels.
I Vow to Thee, My Country is a British patriotic song created in 1921 when a poem by Cecil Spring-Rice was set to music by Gustav Holst, who adapted the music from a section of Jupiter from his suite The Planets. Though some have criticised the song's apparent nationalism, the final part is a call to a loyalty beyond that for ones' country; it evokes the heavenly realm of the Goddess, whose 'king' is Lord Shiva, the unseen, Eternal Self. The last two lines are from the Book of Proverbs, ascribed to King Solomon, which describe Wisdom as a Feminine aspect of God.
I've heard of long ago,
Most Dear to them that Love her,
most Great to them that Know.
We may not count her Armies.
We may not see her King.
Her Fortress is a faithful Heart;
her Pride is Suffering.
And Soul by Soul and silently,
her shining Bounds increase
And her ways are ways of Gentleness
and all her paths are Peace
Friday, October 24, 2008
Shri Krishna and Gopis, Indian temple hanging (pichvai) c.1840
National Gallery of Australia.
Consciousness is associated in particular with the Visshuddhi Chakra (subtle centre located on the throat but which is also the origin of the brain). It is believed that play evolved in order to develop consciousness in living creatures. Intelligent creatures, such as dolphins and apes, tend to be playful. There are many stories about the playfulness of Shri Krishna, the aspect of the Divine who rules over the Visshuddhi Chakra, and whose life exemplified social being, the interplay of collectivity.
."At one time it looked like all physical causation was push/pull Newtonianism", says Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy and neurobiology at Duke University, North Carolina. "Now we have a new understanding of physics. What counts as material has changed. Some respectable philosophers think that we might have to posit sentience as a fundamental force of nature or use quantum gravity to understand consciousness. These stretch beyond the bounds of what we today call 'material', and we haven't discovered everything about nature yet. But what we do discover will be natural, not supernatural."New Scientist 25 October 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
It's kind of fun to project human egoistic foibles onto animals, but the reality is that they do not have ego at all. They are, what is called in Hindu philosophy, pashu - completely bound to, and integrated with, the Self. However, this doesn't mean they don't have personalities. The difference between ego and personality is that the former is illusory while the latter is a real manifestation - a facet - of the singular but multifaceted Self. Ego is not a component of the true personality, it occludes the real personality.
As indicated in most depictions of this scene, the presence of the Virgin Mary was central to the Pentecost Event as the Kundalini is a Maternal Divine Force. El Greco was a Self-realised artist, many years ahead of his time stylistically, who must have himself experienced the emergence of the Kundalini from the fontanel at the crown chakra. There is nothing hysterical about his interpretation, rather there is a sense of profound calmness and depth.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The true meaning of the Day of Pentecost is the awakening of the healing Kundalini energy (the Divine Breath or Wind, described in the Koran as the Rukh), and awareness of the chakras in the inner, subtle body. In ancient yoga texts it is recorded that when the Kundalini rises and passes through the various chakras, it makes different subtle sounds: the syllables which make up the Sanskrit language. This is probably the unknown language that the apostles learned on the Day of Pentecost. The hysterical gibberish - 'speaking in tongues' - and collapsing into trance states, practised by pentecostalists has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit or the Kundalini; it is a dangerous psychological regression into the subconscious.
Kundalini awakening gives the yogi an understanding, not only of their own inner being but that of others. It confers peace and self-possession, not hysteria and hypnosis. It engenders tolerance and empathy for other peoples and cultures. In the realm of the subtle body, we are all built the same, and all speak the same language. In contrast to this, the Charismatic churches are characterised by hystrionic fundamentalism, literalism, exclusivism and intolerance.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Exactly what is he referring to when he talks about an "owner" of a mind or body? A self or soul separate from the body?
Even scientific magazines, it seems, are not immune from the dualistic thinking perpetuated by the religions they often criticise.
."According to one influential school of thought, some of the ways we think about our minds have to go beyond our investigations of what is inside our heads to include the physical and social environment surrounding our heads. This idea is prompted by the thought that what we know when we understand a concept has to involve a connection between a brain event and something in the world. Here is an obvious example: to understand the concept of a flower, and to be able to distinguish between flowers and other things - trees and buildings say - the relevant physiological occurrences inside the head have to stand in a determinate relationship with flowers and non-flowers outside the head. This relationship, again obviously, is empirical: an actual perceptual encounter between the head's owner and flowers (or at least pictures of flowers) must have taken place at some point.But a less obvious aspect of having a concept of flowers is that whenever we think of flowers, the relationship between what is happening inside our heads and flowers outside our heads has to remain in some form, in order for our discourse to be about flowers rather than some other thing. Nothing mysterious or magical is implied by this; it just means that to explain the thought of a flower as distinct from a thought of anything else, reference to flowers out there in the world is unavoidable.The notion that thought is thus essentially connected to the outside world is intended to illustrate the more general idea that "mind" is not describable in terms of brain activity alone. Instead, it must be understood as a relationship between that activity and the external social and physical environment. Philosophers give the name "broad content" to thoughts that can only be properly described in terms of their thinkers' relationship to the environment. Some even argue that there can be no such thing as "narrow content" - that is, thoughts that are specifiable independently of their thinkers' environments and just in terms of what is going on inside the skull.If it is right that all content is broad content, then the implications are very great. It means that understanding minds involves much more than understanding brains alone. It involves understanding language, society and history too."- A.C. GraylingNew Scientist, 4 October 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (Creator, Sustainer, Destroyer/Renewer) are themselves believed to be created, sustained and renewed by the Great Goddess and Mother of the Universe, the Devi.
"Maya, the legendary Goddess, sprang from the One,
and Her womb brought forth three acceptable disciples of the One:
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva."
-Hymns of Guru Nanak, eka mai (16th Century)
Though Sikhism is often seen as a patriarchal religion,
Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, did talk about the Goddess.
Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the
cosmos pour into culture.
Myth is the ark which carries the knowledge of what it takes
to remain human, set loose upon the vast sea of time.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The powerful spirit Ariel (the imagination), no less than Caliban (the passions), is mastered by Prospero (the Self)
Monday, September 22, 2008
-Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The Caduceus - entwined serpents symbolising western medicine.
Read more about the realtionship between the Goddess, the serpent and healing here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygieia
Medicine, Gustav Klimt
Thursday, September 04, 2008
The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -but through all human hearts.- A. Solzhenitsyn..Of their mystical experiences, mystics report that the duality between matter and spirit dissolves. While in the state of mystical union, even the most commonplace object is perceived as the Self. There is, therefore, nothing instrinsically negative about matter itself, negativity comes from the mind's attachment to matter. This is materialism.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Jill Bolte Taylor was a neuroscientist working at Harvard’s brain research center when she experienced nirvana. Dr. Taylor says the right, creative lobe can be used to foster contentment. But she did it by having a stroke. On Dec. 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor, then 37, woke up in her apartment near Boston with a piercing pain behind her eye. A blood vessel in her brain had popped. Within minutes, her left lobe — the source of ego, analysis, judgment and context — began to fail her. Oddly, it felt great.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Indian tribal painting of marriage dance
"... our civilisation is breaking down not because of a lack of independent reasoning, but of this re-linking step that forms a synthesised larger reasoning, perceiving and acting unit - a meta person."
- From a letter to New Scientist by Wade Schuette, USA
The word "re-ligion" means "re-linking" the individual to the whole. Instead, organised religion has become a divisive force.
Examples of meta-persons are: marriages in which neither partner dominates, and cultures. Schuette suggests that scientific rationality/reason must take this wider sense of personhood into account.
What seems irrational for the individual may be rational for the meta-person.
He also points out that the concept of meta-personhood is likely to be misconstrued as leftist ideology.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
There can be nothing less obscure than the Self; after all, the Self is the seer, the experiencer, of all phenomena. By virtue of the fact that one 'inhabits' the Self, it is more concrete, in a sense, than the material world.
Mysticism is not occultism or parapsychology, it is simply the realisation of the advaita (non-dual) state.
The eye with which I see God
is the same with which God sees me.
My eye and God’s eye is one
and one sight, and one knowledge,
and one love.
- Meister Eckhart (medieval Christian
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Read more at:
The comment with the idea about the European Renaissance being a knock-on effect from developments in Asia, is worth investigating.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Unusual depiction of a feminine Holy Spirit, flanked by Father and Son,
in a medieval church fresco.
"I recently ran across an interesting piece by a Baptist about his research and work with Biblical languages and his startling conclusions about who the Holy Spirit is revealed to be in Scripture. I think it is particularly interesting because of the conservative theological bent of Southern Baptists. It seems to echo some of the same things that Dr. Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister and now Roman Catholic theologian has been saying.Here are some thoughts from R.P. Nettelhorst of the Quartz Hill School of Theology associated with the American Southern Baptist Convention. He asks on his site http://www.theology.edu/journal/volume3/spirit.htm :
Is There a Question About the Gender of the Holy Spirit?
In my graduate Semitics program at UCLA, one of the languages I had to study was Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic written with rounded letters reminiscent of modern Arabic. Syriac was the language of people living in northern Mesopotamia, from at least 300 BC until the time Arabic became dominant in the region, around 1000 AD. Most of the Syriac documents available today were produced by a Monophysite branch of Christianity, today known as the Syrian Orthodox Church (monophysitism is the belief that Christ had but one nature). One striking puzzlement of the texts, at least to me, was the constant reference to the Holy Spirit as "she". I was aware, of course, that in Aramaic (and hence in the dialect known as Syriac) the natural gender of the word "spirit" was feminine; however, I was surprised to discover that this accident of grammar had resulted in a whole theology constructed around the femininity of the third person of the Godhead.
An example of Syriac theology is found in the apocryphal Acts of Thomas; it is usually assumed that this particular work was influenced by speculative gnostic Judaism because it contains the notion, that associated with God was a wisdom, or creative power - a spirit - which was feminine. In an invocation accompanying baptism, Thomas calls for the Holy Spirit:
Come, holy name of Christ that is above every name;
Come, power of the Most High and perfect compassion;
In English, this passage from Judges doesn't appear startling, but in Hebrew something strange leapt out at me: "came upon" was a third person FEMININE verb, indicating it's subject "Spirit" was being understood as a feminine noun. Hebrew is not like Aramaic in its use of the word "spirit". While the word is exclusively feminine in Aramaic, in Hebrew it is sometimes masculine. Therefore, the question that came to mind was why had the author of Judges chosen here to make the Spirit of Yahweh feminine, when he could just as easily have made it masculine? Oh well.
I just shrugged my shoulders and went on, not overly concerned. Occasionally, I thought, one finds something inexplicable in the Bible: no big deal. But then came Judges 6:34. Again, "Spirit of Yahweh" was feminine.
At this point I decided to consult the concordance. Much to my surprise, every occurrence of "Spirit of Yahweh" in Judges is feminine. As I pondered that, I recalled Genesis 1:2, the first occurrence of "Spirit of God" in the Bible, and realized to my shock that it too is feminine.
Back to the concordance. Out of 84 OT uses of the word "spirit", in contexts traditionally assumed to be references to the Holy Spirit, 75 times it is either explicitly feminine or indeterminable (due to lack of a verb or adjective). Only nine times can "spirit" be construed as masculine, and in those cases it is unclear that it is a reference to God's Holy Spirit anyway. (Please see Appendix 3 for a complete list and detailed discussion of the usages.)
The New Testament references to the Holy Spirit are not helpful for conclusively deciding on the gender of the Holy Spirit, since "spirit" in Greek is neuter, and so is referred to as "it" by the New Testament writers.
The conclusion of all this is that our traditional assumption of a masculine Spirit is questionable; in fact, the evidence seems overwhelming that the Spirit should be viewed as "She", which does seem to make sense, since the other two members of the Godhead are labeled "Father" and "Son".
What are the theological implications of a feminine Holy Spirit? There are four:
A feminine Holy Spirit clarifies how women can also be said to be created in the "image of God". It has long been recognized that he Godhead must include some feminine aspects, since Genesis 1:26-27 explicitly states that both men and women were created in God's image.
I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.
To fear Yahweh is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have understanding and power.
By me kings reignand rulers make laws that are just;
by me princes govern,
and all nobles who rule on earth.
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
bestowing wealth on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.
Yahweh possessed me at the beginning of his work,
before his deeds of old;
I was appointed from eternity,
from the beginning,
before the world began.
Where there were no oceans, I was given birth,
when there were no springs abounding with water;
before the hills, I was given birth,
before he made the earth or its fields
or any of the dust of the world.
I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon
on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind....
Other commentators have pictured "wisdom" as a created being, like an angel; better have been those who argue that the personification of wisdom in Proverbs 8 is simply a literary device, without objective reality.
However, if the Holy Spirit is feminine, then the identification is relatively easy: Genesis 1:2 pictures the Spirit of God hovering over the deep, active in creating the world, just as Proverbs describes. Both the Old and New Testament connect the idea of teaching and imparting wisdom with the function of the Holy Spirit (Ex. 31:3; 35:31; Acts 6:3; Ephesians 1:17; Luke 12:12; and John 14:25-26).
The third benefit of recognizing the femininity of the Holy Spirit is that it explains the subservient role that the Spirit plays. The Bible seems to indicate that the Spirit does not speak for itself or about itself; rather the Spirit only speaks what it hears. The Spirit is said to have come into the world to glorify Christ (See John 16:13-14 and Acts 13:2). In contrast, it should be noted that the Scripture represents both the Father and Son speaking from and of themselves.
Finally, a feminine Holy Spirit, with a Father and Son as the rest of the Trinity, may help explain why the family is the basic unit of human society."
In Hinduism, the Trinity is formed by Shri Shiva (Father), Shri Shakti (Mother) and Shri Ganesha (Son). ShivaShakti is described as a completely integrated whole - the word "subservient" implies a separation.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
He replied: "I am neither a man nor a god, I am a victor".
He was referring to the fact that he had been victorious over his mind and it's constituents: desire and ego.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Newton by William Blake
"In the 21st century, we are discovering more and more about the brain and the role of emotion, and challenging old ideas about how we learn, make decisions, act and remember. This is already beginning to make us revise our notions of what constitutes reason - and that, in turn, is bound to have consequences for our attitudes to reason and to the endeavours of scientists." -Chris Frith