Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Soul: Triply Seeded

After writing a few posts on the 'Soul', it seems a logical next step to quote the Triad (Tribe) of yogis who to me represent the soul or triple seed of the Aquarian Age. Their conception, experience and description of the soul is in truth an invitation for the soul to come forward in the reader, so much so that its presence and organizing force begins to occur as a matter of fact. The triple seed and orbicular leaf of the blooming nasturtium seems a fitting visual introduction to the words of this Triad. [Note: The first quote is a repeat from The Soul and the Sunflower. I did not want to leave it out of this collection.]

Sri Aurobindo:

'It is the very nature of the soul or the psychic being to turn towards the Divine Truth as the sunflower to the sun; it accepts and clings to all that is divine or progressing towards divinity and draws back from all that is a perversion or a denial of it, from all that is false and undivine. Yet the soul is at first but a spark and then a little flame of godhead burning in the midst of a great darkness; for the most part it is veiled in its inner sanctum and to reveal itself it has to call on the mind, the life-force and the physical consciousness and persuade them, as best they can, to express it …. Unerring in the essence of its will, it is obliged often under the pressure of its instruments to submit to mistakes of action, wrong placement of feeling, wrong choice of person, errors in the exact form of its will, in the circumstances of its expression of the infallible inner ideal. Yet there is a divination within it which makes it a surer guide than the reason or even the highest desire, and through apparent errors and stumblings its voice can still lead better than the precise intellect and the considering mental judgment.'

‘…by the force of the secret Unity the soul in becoming is urged by its own unseen reality and by the occult pressure of evolutionary Nature to come out of this state of Ignorance and recover eventually the knowledge of the one Divine Being and its oneness with it and at the same time to recover its spiritual unity with all individual beings and the whole universe. It has to become aware not only of itself in the universe but of the universe in itself and of the Being of cosmos as its greater self; the individual has to universalize himself and in the same movement to become aware of his supracosmic transcendence. This triple aspect of the reality must be included in the total truth of the soul and of the cosmic manifestation, and this necessity must determine the ultimate trend of the process of evolutionary Nature.*

'When someone is destined for the Path, all circumstances through all the deviations of mind and life help in one way or another to lead him to it. It is his own psychic being within him and Divine Power above that use to that end the vicissitudes both of mind and outward circumstance.'

‘What is Meant by the Psychic Being: I mean by the psychic the inmost soul-being and the soul-nature.’

‘What is meant in the terminology of the yoga by the psychic is the soul element in the nature, the pure psyche or divine nucleus which stands behind mind, life and body (it is not the ego) but of which we are only dimly aware. It is a portion of the Divine and permanent from life to life, taking the experience of life through its outer instruments. As this experience grows it manifests a developing psychic personality which insisting always on the good, true and beautiful, finally becomes ready and strong enough to turn the nature towards the Divine. It can then come entirely forward, breaking through the mental, vital and physical screen, govern the instincts and transform the nature. Nature no longer imposes itself on the soul, but the soul, the Purusha, imposes its dictates on the nature.’ **

'It is the soul in us which turns always towards Truth, Good and Beauty, because it is by these things that it itself grows in stature; the rest, their opposites, are a necessary part of experience, but have to be outgrown in the spiritual increase of the being. The fundamental psychic entity in us has the delight of life and all experience as part of the progressive manifestation of the spirit, but the very principle of its delight of life is to gather out of all contacts and happenings their secret divine sense and essence, a divine use and purpose so that by experience our mind and life may grow out of the Inconscience towards a supreme consciousness, out of the divisions of the Ignorance towards an integralising consciousness and knowledge. It is there for that and it pursues from life to life its ever-increasing upward tendency and insistence; the growth of the soul is a growth out of darkness into light, out of falsehood into truth, out of suffering into its own supreme and universal Ananda.'

‘In the spiritual knowledge of self there are three steps of its self-achievement which are at the same time three parts of the one knowledge. The first is the discovery of the soul, not the outer soul of thought and emotion and desire, but the secret psychic entity, the divine element within us. … This is the first step of self-realisation, to enthrone the soul, the divine psychic individual in the place of the ego. The next step is to become aware of the eternal self in us unborn and one with the self of all beings. This self-realisation liberates and universalizes; even if our action still proceeds in the dynamics of the Ignorance, it no longer binds or misleads because our inner being is seated in the light of self-knowledge. The third step is to know the Divine being who is at once our supreme transcendent Self, the Cosmic Being, foundation of our universality, and the Divinity within of which our psychic being, the true evolving individual in our nature, is a portion, a spark, a flame growing into the eternal Fire from which it was lit and of which it is the witness ever living within us and the conscious instrument of its light and power and joy and beauty. '

The Mother:

Student: What is the role of the soul?
The Mother: But without the soul we wouldn’t exist! The soul is that which comes from the Divine without ever leaving Him, and returns to the Divine without ceasing to be manifest. The soul is the Divine made individual without ceasing to be divine. In the soul the individual and the Divine are eternally one; therefore, to find one’s soul is to find God; to identify with one’s soul is to unite with the Divine. Thus it may be said that the role of the soul is to make a true being of man.

Student: How does the soul influence a being who is normally unconscious?
The Mother: The soul’s influence is a kind of radiance that penetrates through the most opaque substances and acts even in the unconscious. But then its action is slow and takes a very long time to obtain a perceptible result.

'Some people say there is something outside their own will that organizes their whole life, that puts them in the required condition, that attracts favorable circumstances or people, that arranges everything outside them, so to say. In their outer consciousness, perhaps they wanted something and worked for it, but something else came. Well after some years, they realize that this is what really had to happen. You may know nothing of the existence of a psychic being within you and yet be guided by it. For, in order to become aware of something, you must first of all admit that this thing exists. Some people don’t. I have known people who had a genuine contact with their psychic being without knowing at all what it was, because there was nothing in them that corresponded to the knowledge of this contact.'

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)

‘… the soul is the spark of the Spirit in its plunge into the deepest depths of total being. Our manifestation is the soul of the Unmanifest, thus all material form is the encasement of the psychic substance and is the channel for the flowering and outpouring of its energy. Creation in matter is the crystalisation of soul.'

‘… [Man’s] soul is the manifested universe within him. He finds that it too is the perfect equilibrium; that it is the Infinite and the Eternal of his totality of being; that it is the centre of harmonisation, and that it pulls together the strings of all his various times and unites them around his great pulse. And that his individual pulse is then adjoined through his soul to the One Great Pulse that is the psychic being of the Unmanifest, the all-pervading reality and the totality of the universes.

‘Time is the field within which the marriage of Spirit and Soul takes place. Time and Timelessness are one and the same. When we speak of the Spirit, we speak of that which is Timeless; when we speak of the Soul, we speak of the Timeless in Time – that which is boundless yet bound, by powers inherent in itself.' . . .

'The freedom or formlessness of the Absolute would be its shackles if it had not the inherent possibility of self-manifestation within the limits of Form. The Formless and the Formed are one. Their simultaneous existence and their inherent oneness are what constitute absoluteness of being.

'In the individual these same potentialities and relationships exist. He is both free and bound, formless and formed: his soul is the bridge in between, the solver of the paradox. And soul is only conceivable or existent in matter; it is the spark of the Absolute Spirit in matter, the connecting bridge between the two poles of being: the supreme light of limitless spirit and the thick depths of dark matter. The soul essence is the hidden light in matter. It is its heart. The soul-essence is the core of Matter: the Kore. … The experience of the soul is the realisation of the Eternal Now. Added to this is the knowledge that all things can be known through this centre. All knowledge of the Manifest, as well as the Unmanifest, can come by a plunge into this limitless pool. The soul is a bottomless well of Light; to understand what is without and beyond we need only to plunge into the sweet, the blissful waters of this infinite yet infinitesimal pool. The soul is the point where the harmonisation of Time and Space occurs in the being of man – and also in the being of the Absolute. The soul is the harmony of Space and Time, thus it speaks to us of the Infinite as well as the Finite, the Eternal and the Temporal, the Point and the Circle. Through the soul the individual can know that the vast and the minute are one. And it is therein that we can solve the paradox of the simultaneous existence and oneness of the Unmanifest and the Manifest, – of the simultaneous being of the One and the Multiple, their perfect and utter harmony.

'Our universe is of this essence: a perfect utter harmony. Our Earth is of this essence: a perfect utter harmony. Our evolution as a collective becoming is to assist in the manifestation of perfect harmony. The collective body of mankind can realise its soul by realising the principle of Harmony that is its fundamental core and purpose of being.

'In this light the conscious development and understanding of a collective soul is indispensible in order for the evolution to be successful in its leap to a higher status. But all things resolve themselves in the individual, for the collectivity is but a multiplication of the one. As each individual realises his soul, the conscious formation of a collective soul becomes possible. And thereby the new way becomes manifest for Earth.'

*********

Notes: All quotes of the Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, with two exceptions, are from The Psychic Being – Soul: Its Nature, Mission and Evolution. The Sri Aurobindo quotes marked by a single asterisk came from The Life Divine, and the double asterisk from Letters on Yoga, Volume: 22-23-24 [SABCL]. The Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet excerpts are from The New Way, A Study in the Rise and Establishment of a Gnostic Society, Volume 1.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Soul and the Sunflower

In editing ‘Is the Soul Fudge? Is the Cosmos Dumb?’ I chopped out a whole section on sunflowers as a nice metaphor of individual seeds/souls sharing a common blueprint and a common goal within shared parameters of the Earth and Cosmos, and yet still expressing themselves as variations of their kind, variations of their common design.

A month or so ago I planted a sunflower sprout in the middle of a garden freshly purged of chest-high weeds. It grew so fast and was so beautiful I planted two more sprouts in front of it. And then as they began to ‘take off’, I planted a row of seven. As seeds they all looked pretty much the same; but as sprouts they all had their different quirks based on both quality and content of the seed and on the quality of their environment. Each seed needed the same four spatial elements for their success, – Sun, Air, Water and Earth, and they also needed Time in which to exist and grow. It has been clear in the process of sprouting, planting, watering and watching these beings that each has an individual relationship with the Sun and with the Earth and its elements. Some are heartier, perhaps better rooted and better positioned than others. Some seem to be vulnerable to being gnawed on by garden pests and others not so much. They were all sprouted in the same tray at the same time, but the ones planted first are much taller and bigger leafed than the others. The first-planted sprout is now eight feet tall and bloomed on July 19th. The second two seem to be growing much faster than the first one did by itself. It is as if they are trying to catch up to the accomplishments of the first. The final row of seven are growing slower than the first three, because they don’t get quite as much direct Sun as the others.

On the morning I began to consider the ‘soul as a fudge-factor' issue’ I woke up early enough to notice that all ten of my sunflowers were facing their leafy ‘heads’ directly eastward in anticipation of the sun rising through the trees and over our fence! They were waiting for the Sun and knew exactly where it would rise. I checked back later in the day and they had for the most part, followed the sun all day. Some were better at (or better positioned for) following the Sun than others.

I thought, this is how the soul is. It is rooted in the Earth and it follows the light of the Sun. It is an individual expression and fusion of its ‘parents’. If it is allowed or ‘blessed’ by favorable circumstances, it will bloom. It is not so much a leap of imagination or faith to see that humans, like plants, are in a real way offspring of ‘Father’ Sun and ‘Mother’ Earth. But for whatever reasons we don’t tend to see things this way in our modern world. Such views are considered outright primitive. In Vedic India such lineage seems to have been matter of fact, Purusha and Prakriti were the parents of everything, - Purusha describing the father, the sun or soul and source of the Universe and Prakriti describing matter, mother, nature, primary form or substance that is mutable in time and space. The visual image of this procreative pairing is not a linear image of opposition or division. The appropriate image is the symbol of the Sun, the point and its circle or circumference. The point is the supreme Purusha, the circle is the Prakriti and the 360 degrees of the circle represent the children, the individual (undividable) rays, ‘sons’, souls or re-creations of the central Purusha within the one body of Prakriti, the universal Mother.

In ‘Tribe’, I discussed this Tri-Being in which spirit (Purusha) and matter (Prakriti) and all individual beings and forms are One, a triply-formed One. It is the image of the circle with its 360 (individual) degrees that shows the right relationship of the individual soul to the Soul of all beings and its right relationship to all other beings in the Cosmos/circle of life. The heart of all existence is shared by All, and all individual souls are offspring of the same ‘parents’. Each seed/soul is designed to be a differentiated ‘cell’ in the one body, or a specific note in the harmonies of the uni-verse.

The soul of the sunflower, and many other plants as well, is expressed in the 360 degree bloom of the flower, as well as in the 360 degree extension of its roots and its foliage from the stem. Fruit and vegetables also express the soul in terms of the circle and its geometries. But it is also expressed in a growing plant’s need for sunlight (Purusha) and material elements (Prakriti), as well as its need for passage through time to accomplish its various growth cycles. In an integral view of reality, the sunflower (though an individual form) is not something in essence separate from the sunlight, from the Earth, from time, … from the cosmos and its creative seed.

There is a spiritual revelation that goes something to the tune of ‘I am THAT’ (soham) This realization can be limited to the immobile absolute (the Unmanifest) or it can also encompass the whole of the material world and its design. It can and certainly should encompass the 360 degree spheres, patterns, swirls and circles found ubiquitously in nature and in the cosmos. We see this pattern (or at least fathom it) in the orbit of the planets around the Sun, in the physical body and of all planets and suns, in the zodiac and in the concentric waves and spirals of energy that travel through water, air, earth and space. This 360 degree patterning (Prakriti) repeats itself in infinite ways in our universe and world, and yet somehow it has fallen outside many a sage’s vision and many a seeker's quest.

Rather than gazing on this pattern in flowers, in puddles of water, in each other’s eyes and in the 'heavens above' and saying ‘I am THAT’; many a sage in the Piscean age came to (and still in our Aquarian age come to) the conclusion, ‘I am not that. That form, that design is in no way me. I am THAT which is BEYOND that.

For me, this again falls into the category of a ‘temporary wonder of the ego’ that we can somehow think that the shape and movement of these things is not somehow connected to our own soul, to our True Self. The iris of the human eye is a 360 degree sheath of muscle by which our 360 degree world and our 360 degree cosmic surround comes into view via the light of the sun (and to a lesser degree via artificial lights). Yet still it hasn’t dawned on many of us (on most of us really) that our 360 degree field of time and space has anything to do with developing a direct experience or gnosis or vision of one’s individual soul, and consequently, a direct experience, gnosis or vision of the Divinity in all being and becoming. I think it is one of those cosmic jokes, a built-in blind spot of the mind that causes all manner of malfunction, apparent chaos and misinterpretation of existence until men and women begin to see what has been right in front of them, in them and around them all along. Then the previously tragic limited view is seen as a humorous curiosity, something to the order of ... 'can you imagine people thinking that the Earth was flat!'

Yesterday I opened a book titled: The Psychic Being: Soul Its Nature, Mission and Evolution, Selections from the Works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I thought it would be nice to see what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had to say about the soul. By ‘chance’ I opened the book to the following passage:
‘It is the very nature of the soul or the psychic being to turn towards the Divine Truth as the sunflower to the sun; it accepts and clings to all that is divine or progressing towards divinity and draws back from all that is a perversion or a denial of it, from all that is false and undivine. Yet the soul is at first but a spark and then a little flame of godhead burning in the midst of a great darkness; for the most part it is veiled in its inner sanctum and to reveal itself it has to call on the mind, the life-force and the physical consciousness and persuade them, as best they can, to express it …. Unerring in the essence of its will, it is obliged often under the pressure of its instruments to submit to mistakes of action, wrong placement of feeling, wrong choice of person, errors in the exact form of its will, in the circumstances of its expression of the infallible inner ideal. Yet there is a divination within it which makes it a surer guide than the reason or even the highest desire, and through apparent errors and stumblings its voice can still lead better than the precise intellect and the considering mental judgment.' – Sri Aurobindo
I found so many interesting and informative descriptions of the soul by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in The Psychic Being, that my next post will be dedicated to these descriptions. I will also include a passage from Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet’s The New Way, Volumes 1 & 2 that also describes the soul in a way that helps to bring it further out of the realm of undetectable fuzz or blind faith into a clearer focus.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is the Soul Fudge? Is the Cosmos Dumb?


'Fudge Factor', ink on paper, linen tape, 35 1/2" X 27"
by Tom Moody, 2002

I was recently ‘accused’ by a beloved friend (one who actually takes the time to read this blog, consider its content and engage in discussion) of using the soul as a ‘fudge-factor’ to account for variations in the divine order. He wrote, ‘In math [and in accounting], it's rounding errors, in metaphysics, I guess it's the soul. It may be, but it is convenient.’ [1]

My first response was just a series of question marks in my head (????????). Did I actually do that? Did I use the soul as a ‘fudge-factor’ to account for variations in the divine order? How is that possible, I wondered, if in my view, there is no variation in the divine order? Some of the question marks had the flavor of, ‘What? … He sees the soul as a fudgy, fuzzy convenience of the mind? … Not as a real phenomenon?’ Then I remembered with some melancholy that the word ‘soul’ means just about nothing to millions and millions of people. And many others may have faith in the ‘soul’ but have very little real experience or evidence of it in their lives. It’s just a word, like Love or Gnosis that can be used but not truly experienced. What a downer.

But the upside of this ‘downer’ was that it reminded me of why I started this blog, and why I named it ‘Circumsolatious.’ On the most obvious level ‘circumsolar’ means that which travels around el Sol (the Sun). On another level ‘circumsolar’ describes the substance and design of the body of the Sun. On this level a person as well as everything else on Earth can be seen as an extension of, as the body of the material Sun. On another level ‘circumsolar’ describes the relationship of matter to energy, and deeper still, it describes the relationship of matter to the soul. Ultimately ‘circumsolar’ describes an infinite manifestation that is the body of an eternal One. The symbol of this infinitely expressive One (and simultaneously the symbol of matter’s relationship to the soul) is the symbol of the Sun – a circle and dot … the 360 degree field/sphere.

I am quite aware that in our modern times there is a deep resistance to imagining that any design of nature is an expression of an actual consciousness. And so it seems a tall tale to say that the circumsolar design seen in the form/movement of galaxies, solar systems and planets and in countless cosmic and terrestrial phenomena and in the simple symbol of the circle, is an expression of a consciousness that informs and embraces everything.


For me this resistance or disbelief is only a temporary wonder of the ego. It is a true wonder that the ego can somehow think, I am indeed a living consciousness … but THAT which births me, grows me, sustains me and eventually dissolves/digests me is NOT conscious at all. The ego thinks it is a random wonder born into a random and chaotic and DUMB cosmos. It is not in the ego’s interest to imagine any laws of being greater than its own strictures/structures to which it might somehow be obliged or bound. And so naturally it is not inclined to consider that a circumsolar structure (such as the circumsolar structure of the Earth’s year) has much of any thing to do with its self … anything to do with consciousness. Because if it saw the connection, its gig would be up and a divine individual would begin to break through the ego’s hard shell and grow ever more aware of the divine nature and logic of the totality … ever more aware of the preciousness and purpose of his or her own world, cosmos and circumstances … and ever more aware of a source, a fundamental consciousness-force, that sustains and coordinates one’s journey or course in time and space.

I actually started this blog to wear away at the above mentioned resistance, to wear away at the ‘temporary wonder of the ego’ by inviting friends/readers to consider a larger view, a ‘circumsolatious’ view of what is our Self and what is our common evolutionary journey. I wondered if I could do this in a way that the ego would barely know it was being melted down. I wondered if I could communicate the astounding and beautiful things I’ve learned in my integral yoga in a way that friends and people outside my yogic circle could understand. It is a difficult task and I’m not so sure how it is going; but I am enjoying the challenge.

It was definitely a challenge to gather a response for my friend. Many issues were whirling around, – variation, divine order, the soul … the dratted ‘fudge factor’. What I eventually wrote certainly does not prove a divine order or the existence of the soul, it just clarifies my view a bit:

'Your comment makes me wonder if, from your point of view, variations found in individual forms represent examples of a variation or deviation away from a divine order? From my point of view, variation is part and parcel of the divine order, not an anathema to it. Absolutely nothing would exist or evolve if there were no variation from the point, seed or the One. There would be no divine order because there would be nothing to order, no divine harmony because there would be nothing in existence to harmonize. Without variation one would be left with a static monotony or mono tone. In variation from form to form I see infinite expressions, re-creations, re-presentations, personalities, microcosms and evolution of the divine Self/Cosmos … each variation having its place in the whole, just like each planet of the solar system is different from every other, yet each is clearly part of a harmonious whole bound to the creative force of the Sun.

It is not a leap of faith at all to see that the Sun/Sol organizes the field of play of our solar system. It seems that even the most metaphysically un-inclined would have to admit that without our central Sol we would have no Earth, no environment, no circumstances, no substance and no time and space to be or become or to express anything. It is definitely another thing entirely to see the solar system as a microcosm or real symbol of a divine or conscious order. So even if we can see or fathom that our Sun effortlessly organizes a whole solar system, that does not necessarily translate for most of us into the idea that the whole of existence has One common organizing Soul. Neither does it translate directly into the idea that the whole of one’s individual’s field, life circumstance or self-expression is organized by one’s individual soul. So I truly do understand that for many such a view of reality, – a view of a divine soul expressing itself in varied but still organized ways in reality, occurs as leap of faith or fuzzy, fudgy metaphysics.

For others, such as myself, it occurs as a real process of yoga, a real quest for truth, a life practice and a life journey of discovery complete with all manner of trial, tribulation and progressive initiations that produce a more and more integral view of the whole and an increasingly convincing, satisfying and real experience of the individual and collective Soul. Faith has truly not been the ‘thing’ that has compelled my journey/yoga, anymore than faith is the thing that makes a seed grow into a healthy plant and eventually produce flowers or fruit. It has been consciousness – the consciousness inherent in and continuously manifesting in me from the time I was a single-celled entity up til now, and the consciousness of the physical womb that somehow knew how to birth me, and the consciousness of the world and larger cosmos that has met me and spoken to me in ways that were so well coordinated and precise and so very real that I could not help but take notice of and be curious about its movements and force.'

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Vedic Roots of the American Eagle

In E Pluribus Unum I noted that it is the Eagle which carries the E Puribus Unum message in its beak in the American Seal. I wrote, 'This Eagle has its own esoteric significance, which is perhaps worthy of another entry'. This 4th of July morning I pulled a book from my bookshelf which I haven't read in over a year and by 'chance' flipped to a page and read:


''... Jatayu, the eagle who tried to rescue Sita from Ravana without even knowing who She was.... Lord Rama gave Jatayu the powers of sympathy and compassion, to shelter all under his wings.... Whose symbol is the eagle? America's. America is the first country to help anywhere in the world in the time of famine, flood or other disaster. Americans are generous by nature and love to give to others who don't have enough. And they do it just for the sake of doing it. Not for gain, but because it is to be done, just as Jatayu [the eagle of the Ramayana] did for Sita. Some say that in Kali Yuga the giving of gifts is the highest form of religious merit. As Americans have given a great deal they have collected considerable spiritual benefit. Yes they have made mistakes, like Vietnam, but they have still done more good than anyone else has. So, America is Lord Rama's blessings to this Earth through the eagle Jatayu.' - the Aghori Vimalananda, from Aghora III: The Law of Karma by Robert E. Svoboda [bold emphasis added]

This mention and appreciation of America's symbol and underlying spirit of the Eagle comes from Vimalananda, an Indian yogi, circa 1977. Vimalananda's vision or perspective allowed him to connect some seemingly unconnected dots. In this case the dots are spread out over many ages, from the ancient Vedic civilization to our own. He recognized a real correspondence between Jatayu, an eagle of Vedic lore who was triply blessed by Rama (the 7th Avatar of Vishnu), and the eagle of America. He also applied Vedic cosmology and numerical symbolism to America's ongoing role and destiny in the world:
'Another reason that America is strong can be discovered in numerology. How many states does America have? Fifty: 5 + 0 = 5.... Five is the number of Guru, or Brihaspati - the planet Jupiter - who is the world's protector. And five is also the number of magic and mystery. The Greeks use to go into battle with their word for five painted on their shields. Also, the American flag has thirteen stripes: 1 + 3 = 4. Four is the number for foundation, so their foundation is firm.'
On the same page, Vimalananda acknowledged that Americans have 'performed some terrible karmas .... Don't forget that the Americans came into possession of America by theft. Armed robbery in fact; they used firearms.... The question is, will these karmas catch up to them? So long as the Americans can just remain true to their heritage and remember to be generous they will continue to prosper.... [It will] depend on how well their good qualities can continue to function in the face of the powerful distortion that the weight of all their evil karmas is creating.'

Here we could get into an un-ending debate or discussion about America's good and bad qualities and actions. That would be a typical exercise in dualistic consciousness that would drain the energies all involved and truly miss the unspoken POINT, SOURCE or larger FRAMEWORK of Vimalananda's seeing. His assessment of America's spirit and its role in the world is a product of his knowledge of the integral and continuous whole, all connected to the same Divine Laws in both time and space. He read the symbolism and significance of America's existence and self-expression because he was knowledgeable (to some degree) of the symbolism and significance of the Vedic systems of knowledge, which expressed an integral fusion of natural laws, mythology, cosmology and mathematics. To the Vedic Rishi all individuals, tribes and systems of knowledge (the Many) had the Divine Flame as a common point (the One) and none had a purpose or expression disconnected from that point.

To many Vimalananda's multi-dimensional, mythological, cosmological and numerological assessments of America might seem ridiculous or crazy; but to those who have made some progress in understanding Vedic symbolism and its 360 degree framework, and who have also made progress in remembering the shimmering Vedic idea that all is evolving towards a real (i.e. material) expression of Satchitananda (Truth, Consciousness-Force, and Bliss), Vimalananda's assessments are not crazy at all. He just non-chalantly connected some dots, or put together some pieces of the world puzzle based on Vedic systems of knowledge and measure which have captured something of an eternal truth (sanatana dharma) of our being and becoming. Whether or not he was aware of the eagle's place and significance in the 12 month Vedic sacrifice (i.e. in the tropical zodiac) is unclear or undisclosed in Aghora III.

Jatayu the eagle is known in Indian mythology as the son of Garuda the eagle. Garuda the eagle is Vishnu's vahana (his vehicle or ride). Vimalananda mentioned the eagle and the Avatars of Vishnu but mentioned nothing of the zodiac which is the essential framework for understanding the Vedic mythology of Vishnu and the deeper symbolism of the Eagle. Vishnu the Preserver and Protector corresponds directly to the four preservation or 'fixed' signs of the tropical zodiac, - Taurus the Bull, Leo the Lion, Scorpio the Eagle (or Scorpion) and Aquarius the Man [1], and to the four ages of the Precession of the Equinoxes corresponding to the four fixed signs. This 'fixed' cross of the zodiac (and simultaneously of the 25,920 year Precession) is found in the Rig Veda (RV 1.154), the Bible (St. John's Revelation) and in the mythology and iconography of the Sphinx. [2] (Note that all four fixed-sign creatures of the Sphinx are represented in the tarot card above and have the wings of an Eagle. Typically a Sphinx is a chimera of two or more fixed signs of the zodiac, such as the Lion-Man of the Sphinx of Giza.)

The dual nature of Scorpio (the lowly Scorpion and the lofty Eagle) is symbolic of the dilemma or evolutionary challenge faced in the soul's journey, in the 8th month or sign of Scorpio. Vimalananda, perhaps without knowing the zodiacal correspondences involved, described the dual symbolism of Scorpio and the dual challenge faced by America:

'By temperament eagles are killers, but Lord Rama gave Jatayu the powers of sympathy and compassion, to shelter all under his wings.'
In the Scorpio phase of the 12 stage evolutionary journey an important choice is made. How do we use our vital energies? Are they hoarded or discharged in a way that causes destruction of self, earth and other? Or are they used/released in pursuit of a higher view of self, earth and other, in which All are sheltered under the same universal truth-consciousness? This dilemma or evolutionary challenge is faced by all people and all nations, it is just that America is playing out the symbolism in a grand and epic way, for all the world to see, understand and learn from. When injustices or whatever repression and destruction of people and earth's life and beauty become exposed and conquered, one could say that the deadly Scorpion is transformed into a majestic and heroic Eagle. One begins to chose to participate in a living harmonious whole over the mortal or moribund consciousness. This transformation or alchemy is the subject of Scorpio, the 8th sign of the zodiac and 8th month of the 12 month Vedic sacrifice (sacrifice in this case meaning a process by which mundane existence is 'made sacred' via an increase in truth-consciousness).

The Aghori Vimalananda wrote that if Americans can live up to their heritage and choose to be more like the compassionate and protective eagle and less offensive in terms of negative karmas, then the country will continue to prosper. Surely this is true. But how do individuals and collectives come to understand their 'heritage' and true place within the whole if they remain unaware or unconscious of their common journey or common field as described in the Vedic tradition? How do they take their place in a harmonious circle of life if unaware of the sanatana dharma (eternal truth) that is the tropical zodiac, which has been the hidden structure or hidden backbone of most of the sacred texts, monuments, mythologies, wisdom traditions and temples that have survived the ages to reach our door?

My understanding is that as Indians develop a truer and truer understanding of the symbolism found in their own forgotten or misunderstood Veda (including the Vedic measure of the Year), Americans will be more and more open to learning this truer, more integral and world-relevant yoga, and more conscious of their position and role within the whole. As it is, many hundreds or thousands of forms of yoga are popular in America. But these are fragments of a fragmented dharma. As India recovers its maha (great) yoga, i.e. the yoga that truly integrates and unifies existence and consciousness, She will remind the world of the great significance, truth, divinity and sacred geometry of its forms and symbols. Connecting the dots, as Vimilananda did, between Vedic symbolism, the zodiac, numerology, ancient mythologies, and the symbolism of real events and forms in our lives and in the current state and flow of world events will become less and less a stretch of the human imagination and more of a standard (or at least respected) way of thinking.

I will close this post with an image from Greek mythology that is one more random dot of information that can be reconnected back to its early origins and take its place in the 360 degree framework of the Vedic Year (the tropical zodiac). In Vedic mythology the eagle Garuda carries Vishnu, the Preserver. As stated above Vishnu symbolizes or embodies the four 'fixed' signs of the Tropical Zodiac (Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus and Leo). Below we see an image from Greek mythology in which an eagle carries Ganyamede 'the [Aquarian] cupbearer'. Hopefully some readers will be able to see in the image below a replication of Vedic symbolism and knowledge. Perhaps, in such a simple act of seeing, some will be one step closer to realizing that the zodiac has been and remains an important key for understanding our collective history and our collective evolutionary journey.


Ganymede on Jupiter's Eagle

'In Greek mythology, Aquarius was 'cup-bearer to the Gods' (Ganymede). Ganymede was the son of Tros, king of Troy.... While tending his father's flocks on Mount Ida, Ganymede was spotted by Jupiter. The king of gods became enamored of the boy and flew down to the mountain in the form of a large bird, whisking Ganymede away to the heavens. Ever since, the boy has served as cupbearer to the gods.' [3]

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Connecting the Dots

As a child I was a big fan of the game Connect the Dots. I enjoyed drawing and seeing the underlying picture that the designer had ‘hidden’ in a seemingly random display of dots. If the dots were not numbered, if there were not a proper sequence to be followed, then the design would not become apparent, or else it would be vague or distorted. In modern language, the name of this game has become a common metaphor for connecting and following elements of a story or a problem in the right order or sequence in a way that reveals the greater picture or solution. Hence ‘connect the dots’ is somewhat synonymous with solving a puzzle or mystery. If one does not ‘connect the dots’, the design or the truth at hand remains a mystery.

In ‘Piscean Hangover or Aquarian Age Appropriate’ I wrote a bit about the ‘process of measuring’ and ‘learning to appreciate relationships between parts of any whole.’ The goal of this process and this learning is akin to the game ‘Connect the Dots’. Victory is a revelation – a vision of the whole and knowledge of how the parts contribute to the whole. With the right keys of measure, the seemingly random dots (i.e. the forms and events in our field of time and space), begin to reveal a morphing and evolving sacred temple – a living sacred design (a living sacred geometry) with a central axis and central ‘flame’. One becomes aware of the hidden design. Past and present forms and events take their proper place in the design – in the living sacred temple. All forms and events are seen in orderly relation to the same central flame or axis. All forms and events are seen to be children of or expressions of the same central flame or axis.

Of course winning this unifying revelation/consciousness (in whatever progressive stages or levels) is not a child’s game played out on a piece of paper; it is a hero’s journey and an epic evolutionary task played out across the body of the Earth, the solar system and cosmos, throughout years and aeons. If in past civilizations, this journey and its divine nectar (soma) or revelation has been reserved for select individuals, heroes or sages; in our Aquarian Age consciousness of the hidden design and the hidden one or unknown architect of the design is to be a world-wide awakening, a new collective consciousness … a collective upgrade or new operating system.

I imagine that some, if not many readers can understand the need to ‘connect the dots’ of our seemingly random and disconnected lives towards developing a fuller and more integral consciousness of the hidden design by which the One is expressed in the Many. And many will have no problem with the idea that the journey towards this consciousness is played out across the body of the Earth, solar system and cosmos throughout years and aeons. However, when it comes to fathoming exactly how that play is contained and how it comes into view, this is where most of us go blank, become impenetrable to new information or scatter off in tangents and discord. The Vedic Rishi of ancient India addressed both the solution and the problem very concisely:
Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least.
(Dirghatama, Rig Veda 1.164.48)
As it sits alone, this verse is a conundrum to the mind … a random dot of information. Its relation to the task of winning an integral vision and consciousness of the whole is not clear, it occurs as just another piece of the world puzzle. It is simple enough to see that this Vedic Rishi was describing one 360 degree wheel, divided into (or by) 12 ‘spokes’. The three navels paint the picture of one wheel consisting of three concentric circles. The three navels of the three concentric circles are one. A version of this ancient description is found in the Mother's Symbol as seen on the cover of her 'Agenda' (missing the central point or navel). But how is this significant? What is to be comprehended?

The mystery begins to unravel when one realizes that the Rishi was describing the field which contains the divine evolutionary play and is the backdrop or framework by which the revelation of the integral whole comes into view. If in the child’s game of Connect the Dots the field of the revelation is a two-dimensional piece of paper, in the game attaining a higher vision or consciousness of the divine Self and a unified creation, the field of the revelation is the 360 degree circle or sphere. Our civilization has inherited this measurement, the division by 12 and further divisions of the circle from our Vedic ancestors. In fact we have inherited our 9 number system with its zero and therefore the structure of our mathematics from them as well. Who they inherited these systems of measurement from is not known.

What is known is that with the 360 degree circle and its 12 ‘spokes’, the Vedic Rishi described a journey in time and space that is shared by all Earthlings – the Year. In Secrets of the Veda, Sri Aurobindo recognized that the Vedic conception and experience of the 12 month year not only far exceeded our modern sense of the purpose of time and the calendar, but also in many ways far exceed our current level of consciousness.

‘The secret eternal worlds have been closed to us, says the Rishi, by the movement of Time, by the months and years; therefore naturally they have to be discovered, revealed, conquered, created in us by the movement of Time …’

‘… what is meant by the figure of the months? for it now becomes clear that it is a figure, a parable; the year is symbolic, the months are symbolic. It is in the revolution of the year that the recovery of the lost Sun and the lost cows is effected, for we have the explicit statement in X.62.2, rtenabhindan parivatsare valam, “by the truth, in the revolution of the year, they broke Vala,” or, as Sayana interprets it, “by sacrifice lasting for a year.”’

To the Rishi, the Vedic Year was a living symbol, a living framework of the hero’s journey, a microcosm of the evolutionary journey in which the lost or hidden Truth-Consciousness or lost Sun/Soul is to be found and the spell of self and world ignorance (Vala) broken. The Year and other 360 degree cycles of time such as the day and the precession of the equinoxes (the Great Year), were known to be a living geometry, a sacred multi-dimensional temple or field of time-space. The hidden consciousness that expressed itself in these circles of time, in the structure of time, was known to be one and the same as the hidden consciousness that expressed itself in the dimensions, structure and movements of planetary and solar bodies, and in the geometry, structure and movements of nature, and in the life cycles and structure of human beings. Evidence of this ancient integral knowing or gnosis is introduced in Secrets of the Veda, especially in Sri Aurobindo’s acknowledgement that in the Indian Puranas ‘it is stated that the body of man is the year.’

There is of course much more to write on this topic of ‘Connecting the Dots’ in a way that reveals and celebrates the eternal sacred design and its eternal ‘alter’, sun or soul that unites and harmonizes the whole. A ‘Part II’ is likely. For now, I will end this post with a quote from Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet who goes far beyond Sri Aurobindo’s powerful introduction of the Vedic conception of the 360 degree year, into the details of exactly how consciousness is expanded via proper knowledge and orientation within the Year, and other 360 degree cycles of time.
‘… in order to grasp the unity underlying the magnificent order of the universe the capacity must be cultivated to view man, the solar system, the galaxy, and finally the whole of the universe as one being. He must come to see that in the rhythms of Earth and those of its inhabitants the very same movements and the same order and goal are seen as in the entire body of the manifest Divine. He must realise, and in no abstract way, that within him is a universe like unto the heavenly harmony that moves above him and around him and his planet.’The Gnostic Circle

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