For some, unfolding knowledge of the world follows the path of the mechanics of perception. For others like myself, it follows the path of the dynamics of consciousness. The 2 approaches unfold different understanding of the world. There are also variations within each.
On the first path, we discover a version of what Samkhya describes. From the mind arises the 5 senses out of the observer side of consciousness. From the observed arises the corresponding 5 tanmatra or essences. The first comes out of sattva guna, the second from tamas.
As the tamas (inertia) increases, those essences … Continue Reading…
It’s good to consider – why does a world expressed by the Divine have evil? The answer is all about balance.
In the Vedic perspective, there are 3 forces in creation: creation, maintenance, and destruction. Those 3 forces evolve into 3 qualities (gunas) which evolve into the 5 elements, 5 senses and so forth.
The 3 qualities or gunas are:
Sattva: creative, purity, clarity, smooth
Rajas: fire, action, energy, transformation
Tamas: inertia, rigidity, resistance
Without inertia, we would have no form. In fact, nothing would last. As Dharma is that which sustains, tamas is … Continue Reading…
Traditional Indian philosophy has 6 branches or approaches, known as the upangas or darshanas. Often they’re seen as competing philosophical systems when if fact they largely each describe the reality of a different stage of development.
I’ve talked some about several of them, including:
Vaisheshika and Samkhya
Vedanta or end of the Veda (Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads)
Nyaya is the system of logic that informs the others.
One I’ve only touched on is Karma Mimamsa, also known as Purva Mimamsa. Karma Mimamsa means an investigation … Continue Reading…
When we come to the divine for the first time, it’s often through form. This can be a very profound experience. It may trigger major heart opening, insight, devotion, and/or deep humility. Yet it may also bring confusion, circumspection, or reconsideration. If we’ve developed an atheist philosophy, for example, that can certainly be disrupted. But even if we’re a person of faith, the divine won’t necessarily show up as expected.
Often people experience representatives of the divine first; what are commonly called angels or devas. (not to be confused with astral beings) But we may also experience the … Continue Reading…
Over the years, I’ve seen many models of spiritual development. Most of them follow a subjective process that one or a few people experienced that doesn’t reflect how it will unfold for many others. Fundamentally it is shifts in being – in who we recognize ourselves to be – that reflect the underlying process. This is why I’ve focused on that.
Yet it can be instructive to see some of the other things that can shift that are reflected in other models. Categories like this can give you a sense of where they’re coming from. But there can be … Continue Reading…
This comes out of an on-line discussion on the Falling Away of Self interview. Someone asks if Rick was referring to the individual soul. Rick responds “It seems to persist from life to life, some say forever. Is that the self?”
My response, edited slightly for this context:
That depends. What do we subjectively relate to as “who I am”?
I find the Vedic perspective useful. They describe layers to it. The ego-self (Ahamkara) or sense of being a separate self. It is identification with this that leads to the sense of a personal, separate me. It is … Continue Reading…
Awakening can be said to happen through the non-Self being “devoured” by Brahman or through the descent of the divine. It is not something we control or manage. Rather it comes as grace.
We can thus see that spiritual practices are not to create enlightenment. Rather, they are to prepare the ground so the process is as clear and smooth as possible. To use the analogy of farming, we clear the rocks and rubble from the field, sift and till the soil, and add water and fertilizer.
In other words: healing, refinement, sangha and study.
It’s … Continue Reading…
Recently, a friend sent me a quote from Swami Brahmananda Sarawati, a famous Shankaracharya from the Shankara lineage. He was the teacher of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and some other well-known teachers.
I was not able to determine the source of this quote or who translated it but I have seen reliable sources who quoted him saying somewhat similar things. I thought it insightful enough to share in any case.
“Real victory is that, after which there can never be a reverse. Nobody can call himself a victor forever merely by crushing an external foe, because such foes can … Continue Reading…
When I previously wrote an article on the Mahavakya (great sayings), I used an old understanding, informed by a 70’s talk by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (before he was differentiating the Brahman stage) and common English translations. It’s time for an update.
The common translations are “I am That, Thou art That, All this is That, and That alone is.” These are lovely and sound both like realizations of Unity Consciousness and of the stages to it – if we take That to be equivalent to Atman. Or as Brahman where Atman = Brahman.
But … Continue Reading…
In the west, individuality is king. Forging our own path, beating the competition, and success. However, this approach does not serve us as well on a spiritual path. There, we surrender individuality to discover our universal, cosmic nature. And yet, we often see the usual western elements mixed in to spiritual teachings.
Traditions the world over point to a trinity of support for the best spiritual progress. In Buddhism, this trinity is known as The Three Jewels. They are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; the teacher, the teaching, and the spiritual community.
In Judaism, they are similarly God, the … Continue Reading…
A comment On Truth lead me to some thoughts on knowledge.
The first form of knowledge we have is stories we’re told as children and the feedback we get from others. Those turn into our working stories we often carry throughout our life. Boys don’t cry. Girls wear dresses. They start as simple principles and are built into more complex threads like ‘Girls wear dresses except in gym and at the beach’. Then ‘when I darn well feel like it’. But even the latter is built on the former.
The above stories become a part of our sense … Continue Reading…
Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita is known as the Sovereign (Royal, Raja) Knowledge and Sovereign Mystery (Secret). What is this “secret”?
Unless one recognizes divinity behind all things, we remain deluded about who we are and the nature of our existence. This recognition is from “sitting near” (9:14) – it is something directly experienced, not imagined, made a mood of, or believed.
9:22 “To men who meditate on Me as their Very Own, ever united to Me by incessant worship, I supply their deficiencies and make permanent their gains.”
Note that “incessant worship” doesn’t mean spending your life … Continue Reading…