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Lion Capital Sarnath 250 BC India’s state emblem today

Sometimes a visit to a museum can produce strange impressions – my poem is about one such impression.

 

                                             ANOTHER  INDIA

 

In the museum

The lion capital surmounts

A bygone empire

 

sculpture_at_konark_temple

 

And stately handsome gods                                               

Transfix, as no temple deity                     

Could ever aspire.

 

belur

Graceful postures                                                                                                          

Hold the secrets of transcendence

And ornaments of stone are real.

 

450px-Sculpture_at_Nageshwara_Temple_-_Kumbakonam_-_India_04

 

From the corners of his granite eye

Twinkles a millennium

With an inedible smile of nostalgia.

 

Astasahasrika_Prajnaparamita_Queen_Maya_Birth

 

And some important events are here -

A birth, a rider, dancers,

Inscriptions of a donor.

 

800px-Lotus,_a_typical_Hindu_temple_motive,_in_red_sandstone,_Qutb_complex

 

Signs forgotten, insignia,

Lotus medallions, another

India

 

 

images -tiger

Moving, astir,

Shining through a sculptor’s inspiration

Like a restless tiger in a cage,

 

Before its extinction.

 

dream of creation 2

Creation of Adam – Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel Rome. Credit: http://www.prlog.org

 

Meher Baba was a remarkable Indian mystic who like Prabhupad ( Hare Krishna Movement) and Yogananda ( Yogada Self Realization L.A.),  took the message of Indian mysticism to the West early in the 20Th century. I learnt about him during my posting in Sydney where I came across his ardent Australian followers. Meher Baba established a spiritual centre near Brisbane where he would visit often when not lecturing in the USA. I visited the centre, escorted by his young enthusiastic Australian  disciples deep in the woods where the Ashram was located. They had preserved the room in which their Guru resided during his visits. On entering the room I felt his aura quite distinctly. Meher Baba had passed away ten years earlier but was regarded as an Avatar by his disciples.

Meher Baba

Meher Baba

The literature which his disciples gave me left a lasting impression in shaping my concepts regarding God and the Soul. Though Meher Baba was born of Zoroastrian parents of Persian origin, called Parsis in India, his mystical inclinations were rooted in the non-dual (Advait) philosophy of Hinduism combined with Sufi metaphysics. He sought to match and correlate the two streams of mystical thought into one body, showing that in essence they conceived of the same truths regarding Godhead. Though his discourses in the West covered a range of subjects, what impressed me greatly was his seminal hypothesis regarding the nature of God and the Soul. While most of these concepts and revelations can be found in the Upanishads and the Advait ( Non-Dualism) of Vedantic philosophy, through his mystical interpretations and the correlations with Sufi thought, a fresh and wholly extraordinary presentation provided unique insights into a subject which can become tortuously difficult to grasp for the layman.

His book ‘God Speaks’ – The Theme of Creation and its Purpose ( Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1973) is aptly dedicated ”To the Universe – the illusion that sustains Reality”. He describes the primal reality of God as being the ‘Beyond Beyond State of God’ which Hindu scriptures call ‘Paratpar Parbrahma’ and the Sufis as ‘Wara – ul – Wara’. In this state God is infinite, unbounded and absolute but not conscious of his infinity and attributes of universality, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss, glory and beauty. As He is one without another, this conception of Him I like to understand as that of an innocent child without ego who is not even aware that He has a name or identity. In this pristine state of purity god is neither self conscious nor conscious of himself. Meher Baba asserts that His consciousness is in fact latent as a ‘Nothingness’.

It is in this primal state that a ‘whim’ arises like a tidal wave in a serene ocean. the sufis call it the ‘Lahar’ of God which is an original urge of self consciousness in which the first ‘word’ is uttered by god - ‘who am I’. This is the original infinite whim. This urge to become conscious produced the tidal wave of creation, a manifestation of infinite Nothing (illusion) latent in His infinite Everything. Meher Baba uses the analogy of shadow to explain the whim. The shadow of Nothingness is latant in us. So too it is latent in God. I tried to conceive what he was saying in the following manner – in a room we  may have no shadow. but out in the sun ( of self consciousness) a shadow appears. So too the whim of self consciousness of God produces His shadow of creation – like the shadow it is an illusion. The unfolding of creation through the self conscious query of the whim was no more than a shadow of god, a nothingness. Another analogy is that of a dream. The shadow of creation, an illusion, arose from what he calls the ‘Om-Point’, a finite point which produced  the infinity of Nothingness of creation. The ‘false’ apparent infinity of Nothingness of creation was a response to the primal self conscious query ‘Who am I’ which by virtue of being posed created a divine ego and apparent duality out of Nothingness, ‘entangling’ Him in the maze of most finite Nothingness. This was absolutely necessary in order that God in His infinitude acquire consciousness of His unbounded, unlimited, infinite nature of power, knowledge and infinite bliss. Not conscious God in the primal ‘Beyond Beyond State’ thus began the journey into acquiring consciousness of His Real Self through the whim of the self conscious query ‘Who am I’. This could be likened to becoming conscious of ourself when we look at the stark shadow that we see emerging from us.

Here Meher Baba draws parallels between the soul’s condition as bound in a human gross form and that of God. He asserts that the soul is in fact none other than God in His primal state of beatitude though unconscious of it.The original divine primal state of not being conscious is like the deep sleep state of the gross body where the soul has no ego, no form and no identity. In that sublime deep sleep state our souls are indistinguishable from the primal state of God in the ‘Beyond Beyond State’ of lack of consciousness. Further parallels are drawn to the dream state when we allow our sub- conscience to produce in a dream, form and images with which we begin to identify as when the whim of God produces the dream of creation with which God identifies himself initially. Then comes the waking state when we crystallize the dream concepts into the apparent reality around us. This Meher Baba interprets as consciousness as opposed to the unconsciousness of the deep sleep state and the semi- consciousness of the dream state. Here the parallel drawn is that of God awakening to consciousness through identification with man, the supreme evolution of gross matter. When God identifies with man as the ultimate form on the material plane He arises to His own initial consciousness. The soul in man is that God arisen to consciousness. (In the Mandukya Upanishad a similar presentation is made of the soul in the  waking state, dream state, deep sleep state and the beyond state – see my post  -  Upanishads: the real Atman Soul/soul).

The soul in man is however bound by the gross body, the subtle body and the mental body. Through incarnations the soul seeks to counter the impressions (Sanskars) which arise from experience on the material plane of opposites, achieving a higher physical state, eventually from gross body to astral or subtle body with which it is endowed on the astral plane and eventually to the mental body, the last remnant of physicality. When the soul evolves through incarnations to that level, cancelling its Karmic impressions it is closest to the original state of the Godhead. Thus the last vestiges of physicality are shed with the Karmic impressions being finally overcome and the mental body is also cast away. Then the soul merges with Godhead. This process, it is important to remember is what gives God the answer to His original question arisen from the whim of self enquiry – ‘Who am I’ and it is this process that assists Him in realizing his true nature as eternal, infinite, blissful, perfect and beautiful. As Meher Baba says, creation arisen from the original self-conscious whim, is God’s loving gift to man, to enable the soul’s long journey through manifestation and reincarnation to arrive at its ultimate destination where it can enjoy the infinite state of the Oversoul and it is also man’s gift to God to help him become conscious of his beatitude and infinity.

Meher Baba also provides an insightful and fascinating road map of God’s journey through the dream of creation culminating in total consciousness of His Reality. After traversing the infinite gross spheres of millions of universes He arrives on the gross world of earth moving as souls through stone and metal consciousness up to vegetable, worm, fish, bird, animal and human consciousness. He then moves up into the four planes of the subtle worlds and deeper into the fifth and sixth planes of the mental worlds ( through the evolution of the souls). On the seventh plane  known to Sufis as ‘Fana‘ and Hindus as ‘Nirvikalpa‘, the Mind (the little self) is finally superceded and the soul experiences infinite power, knowledge and bliss. With this the ‘first journey’ is complete and the soul may be said to have ‘passed away’ into God.

Then begins the second passage of the soul on the road map of God’s journey to self realization and total consciousness. The soul then becomes ‘Divinely Absorbed’ and in a state of Abiding in God. This the Sufis call the state of Baqa. The one who reaches such a state of being ‘Divinely Absorbed’ the Sufis call Majzoob-e-Kamil and the Hindus as Brahma Bhoot. Further evolution makes such a person a Divine Superman ( Sufi: Salik-Majzoob – Hindu: Paramhansa) This second journey concludes at a point called the ‘Divine Junction’ ( Sufi: Fana-ma-al-Baqa – Hindu; Turiya )

Beyond this is the third divine journey which produces advanced beings who actually experience ‘Living the Life of God’ in the penultimate state of consciousness – they have been called progressively:

1. Perfect Masters ( Sufi: Qutub – Hindu: Sadguru) – further evolution produces

2. Saviour ( Sufi: Rasool – Hindu: Avatar )

According to Meher Baba at any given time there are only five Perfect Masters on earth to guide the disillusioned souls. The evolved souls of such beings who have experienced Nirvana (Enlightenment) and gained the super consciousness of Nirvikalpa Samadhi are known as Shiv-Atma. Meher Baba asserts that there are always present on earth at any time 56 such Shiv-Atmas

It is the five Perfect Masters who precipitate the advent of the descent of God on earth in a human form at the end of a given cycle as Prophet, Messiah and Avatar. The Sufis call such a direct descent of God as Fana-ul-Fana. The term direct descent implies that God becomes man without having to pass through evolution or reincarnation. This is not the case with Qutubs or Sadgurus who have indeed to undergo the entire tortuous process of evolution.

The fourth divine journey involves shedding the gross, subtle and mental sheaths and experiencing infinite power, knowledge and bliss while ‘retaining infinite individuality’.  Souls advancing to these spiritual peaks shed all vehicles and merge back into divinity or one may say once again realize, having shed illusion, that they are none other than God. The Atma now becomes the Paramatma which indeed it always was. This according to Meher Baba is the ‘Beyond state of God‘ which the Sufis call Allah, the Zoroastrians Ahuramazda, the Vedantins as Paramatma, the Christians Father and philosophers call the Oversoul – absolute, unlimited, infinite, the one without a second.

The dream of creation thus transforms God from the Beyond Beyond State of being infinite yet not conscious into the Beyond state of God which is infinite and conscious. The divine consciousness now makes God absorbed in His Reality and fully conscious of it. The Beyond Beyond State however cannot be said to have been thus superseded. It is its own state which mystics like to perceive as beyond definitions where consciousness may appear both as absent and inherent.

What a fascinating road map for us to ponder. The whole process from unconscious bliss to self conscious whim to dream of creation to returning through evolution back to Godhead and in the process acquiring consciousness, constitutes a magnificent cycle in which both God and ourselves are intimately involved.

dream of craetion 3

Dream of Creation – Hindu temple stone sculpture Credit; yourworldreligions.blogspot.com

Credit: shift.is

Credit: shift.is

The great Indian sage – philosopher – poet Shankaracharya, the apostle of Vedanta, the Advait or Non-Dual tradition of Hindu philosophy, in the 8th century A.D. composed many immaculate poems and chants for his disciples to recite in meditation to experience the essential truth of the inconceivable nature of the soul. The Atma (Soul) Shatakam ( a composition in six stanzas) also known as the Nirvana (enlightenment) Shatakam was one such which when recited through Vedic musical chants moved my innermost being to a rare and ecstatic realization of ones deepest essence, as was intended by him for disciples, The singer Ashit Desai’s rendering of the chant in his ‘Himalayan Chants’ is perhaps the most exquisite in conveying the full spiritual essence of the poem. Repeating the Sanskrit chant with closed eyes one gets a glimpse of what our virtually incomprehensible innermost core is. I have placed the original Sanskrit verse, transliterated in Latin text for those who wish to read the original composition, together with my attempt at a translation in English.

                               ATMA SHATAKAM

                                ( Song of the Self )

Mano buddhya-hankara chittani naham
Na cha shrotra jihve, na cha ghrana netre
Na cha vyoma bhumirna tejo na vayuhu
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham . (1)

Not mind, intellect, memory or ego
Nor the sense of hearing, taste, smell or sight
Not the sky, the earth, wind or light, I am not these,
I am consciousness I am bliss, I am the primal eternal essence.
( Shivoham Shivoham )

Na cha prana sangno na vai pancha vayuh
Na va sapta dhatur na va pancha koshaha
Na vak pani padau na chopastha payoo
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(2).

Neither am I life nor breath
Nor matter nor form, organs or senses,
Not sheaths of personality, gross or subtle,
I am consciousness I am bliss, I am the primal eternal essence.

Na me dvesha ragau na me lobha mohau
Mado naiva me naiva matsarya bhavah
Na dharmo na chartho na kamo na mokshah
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(3).

Neither with likes nor aversions
Nor wants nor attachments
Nor competition or envy
Neither pursuing righteousness, nor wrong,
Neither wealth, nor passions nor even liberation
I am consciousness I am bliss, I am the primal eternal essence.

Na punyam na papam na saukhyam na dukham
Na mantro na tirtham na veda na yagnaha
Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(4).

Neither saintly nor sinful
Nor joyous nor sorrowful
I have no need for pious chanting or pilgrimages
Scriptures or sacrifices,
Neither edible nor the consumer nor the consumption,
I am consciousness, I am bliss, I am the primal eternal essence.

Na me mrutyu shanka na me jati bhedah
Pita naiva me naiva mata na janma
Na bandhur na mitram gurur naiva shishyah
Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(5).

Neither afflicted by death, nor distinctions of race and class,                        Unborn, without father or mother                                                                        Without kin or friend, Guru or disciple,                                                                           I am consciousness, I am bliss, I am the primal eternal essence.

 Aham nirvikalpo nirakara rupo                                                                               Vibhur vyapya sarvatra sarvendriyanam                                                                           Sada me samatvam na muktir na bandhah                                                             Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham .(6). 

Inconceivable and formless,                                                                                              All pervading and omnipresent,                                                                            Inherent in all senses,                                                                                              Impartial, neither in bondage nor in freedom,                                                                  I am consciousness, I am bliss, I am the primal eternal essence.

credit: learn-to-be-love-.com

credit: learn-to-be-love-.com

The mystery of the Divine Essence, divinity, the Spirit and God have been the constant subject of human enquiry and conjecture, religious speculation and metaphysical research. Divinity is sought to be understood at its different levels from the virtually incomprehensible formless eternal to the more tangible Godhead conceivable with shape and form to its incarnated prophets and Avatars on the physical realm.

Yogananda sought to provide some invaluable insights and answers to what he called ‘ the seemingly unanswerable questions’, answers that he ”received from the very depths of my soul and from God”.

The basic paradox revolves  around the concept of God’s unbreachable ‘Unity’ and the untold diversity of his manifestations in the physical world. Yogananda explains that as the Unmanifest Absolute, divinity or the Spirit was solitary and absorbed in Its own peace, consciousness, wisdom and bliss. In that supreme intelligence then arose a profound creative urge – ‘why have I remained thus alone…absorbed in My own bliss…but now I am going to dream a cosmos’. This urge then translated into a magnificent cosmic dream. The dream began to manifest, causing his consciousness to divide between his absolute unmanifested nature, the still and imperturbable Spirit and a turbulant manifest nature in the form of cosmic energy consisting of ‘different vibrating perceptions or processes of His thought’. This apparent duality was an illusion, being no more than a dream state, giving rise to the law of illusion of duality or ‘Maya’. Thus a portion of that solitary consciousness separated itself from Spirit and proceeded forth as ‘an active intelligent force, restless to express its power’, much like a seed sprouts into a mighty tree his thought ‘sprouted into a vast creation’. This however did not affect  his fundamental Unity, as the apparent separation was only within the confines of a dream state.

The first manifestation was ‘pure thought’. From this primal thought emanated light, which is the same as consciousness, only with ‘greater density’. The thought of light arose first, then transformed into a more tangible ‘dream of light’ – like the difference between thinking of a horse before seeing it actually in a dream. The dream of cosmic light was further empowered to create form. At first the finer light created subtle form and then proceeded to create ‘the grosser atomic light of protons and electrons’. God then empowered electrons and protons to arrange into atoms and molecules and a further thought force impelled them to ‘condense into gases, heat, liquids and solids’ and finally forms of life with man at the apex. This matter was further ‘imbued with a dreaming intelligence’ whose evolution would awaken it to the realization that ‘matter and mind are one’. Mind being the ‘idea vibration of God’. Death became the process by which ‘dream matter changes back into the consciousness of God’. The human being is the most conscious material entity, enabled to ‘transcend His dream’. Through birth and death this highest material entity goes back and forth between the ‘gross dream world’ and the ‘finer astral dream world. Reincarnation was a ‘series of dreams within a dream, man’s individual dream within the greater dream of God’.

Thus in the stormy state of creativity, the Infinite manifests as ‘intelligence, mind, vibrations, forces and matter’ but in the unmanifest state, ‘the Infinite exists solely as Spirit in which all forces lie dissolved’.

The Avatar or prophet is that material phenomenon whose ‘consciousness is one with the Intelligence of God omnipresent in creation and is the sole perfect reflection in creation of the Uncreated Infinite’.

 

Swami Yukteswar Credit: bolstablog.wordpress.com

Swami Yukteswar
Credit: bolstablog.wordpress.com

The rarest revelations, for anyone curious about the mysteries of the spirit and the Soul, are to be found in Paramhansa Yogananda’s autobiography, in Chapter 43, ‘The resurrection of Sri Yukteswar”, his beloved deceased Guru. It had me completely enthralled and totally nonplussed. The latter because the language of the ‘spirit’ appears often to be totally beyond our materialistic earthly comprehension when we are not adept or evolved sufficiently to understand what indeed is being said. Yet, with minimal discernment, some ideas do come through to provide some framework of the spirit world and the stages through which the Soul passes from one realm to another of the spirit world and eventually beyond even that, into the release of the Soul and ultimate ‘Union’ with the Godhead, what we may call the Universal Essence.

I was amazed beyond comprehension to read of the manifestation of Yogananda’s beloved Guru, in Bombay at the Regent Hotel, on his Indian sojourn after decades in the USA when he so mourned the passing away of his Guru Yukteswar during that visit. First he saw the vision of the Avatar ‘ Lord Krishna’  in a ‘shining blaze’ over the roof top of a building across the street ‘ waving and nodding greeting’ before the vision disappeared. Then he was accosted by a ‘beatific light’ in his hotel room with the ‘flesh and blood’ form of his Guru Yukteswar.

Yukteswar Credit: rockyourboatyoga.com

Yukteswar
Credit: rockyourboatyoga.com

The apparition claimed that he was indeed a ‘flesh and blood’ body whom he hugged with reverence. Yukteswar asserted that he was now a ‘saviour’ on an illumined astral planet called Hiranyalok, to help advanced beings there to rid themselves of ‘astral Karma’ to attain liberation from ‘astral rebirths’. The people on this astral planet plane were highly developed spiritually, yet were bound by karmic effects which yet needed to be cleansed.

The Guru Yukteswar then remarks to Yogananda that the Soul was shrouded in three layers or ‘bodies’ – the gross, the subtle and the causal ( see my posts: The subtle Body and the Law of Karma & The Soul’s Reincarnation and Rebirth ).The gross shield is what we have on earth as the physical body of senses. The subtle shield is that which adheres to the Soul  (after death on the physical plane)  on the astral plane, consisting of consciousness and feelings with a body made up NOT of matter but of ‘lifetrons’ or light. The astral subtle body has to evolve to the Causal stage which is a’blissful realm of ideas’. Yukteswar’s role in the astral plane was to elevate the astral beings to the still higher realms of the Causal world.

According to Yukteswar the astral world  is ‘ hundreds of times larger than  the material cosmos’. The astral world is ‘ infinitely beautiful, clean, pure, and orderly’ when compared to the physical one. The astral world is both ‘gross’ and ‘subtle’. The gross aspect has millions of astral beings arrived from earth on different astral planets depending on their karmic evolution.

The astral beings live on cosmic energy and light. They are ‘exact counterparts’ of their last physical forms, with the same appearance which they possessed at youth on earth. However, they possess a ‘sixth’ sense, intuition, with which they sense their world and a Third Eye over their forehead, ‘open’. The astral bodies can heal by will when ‘hurt’. Yet they suffer ‘mental agonies’ if the truth is not fully comprehended. They communicate through telepathy and television. They ‘consume’ ‘nector’ from glowing fountains of light’. Only later at an advanced level in Hiranyalok ( its subtle level ) are they freed from the necessity of ‘eating’ anything but the ‘manna of bliss’

Life on this astral plane is not however eternal. It could range to a thousand earth years. Often astral visitors, when not ‘permanent’ return to earth when their Karma commands. At astral ‘death’ a being could thus return to the physical plane.

At the Causal level, which is more advanced than the astral, desires manifest as something superior to physical or astral sensations. The  existence of a body ‘would signify that its existence is made possibly by unfulfilled desires’.

The Soul when freed from the gross body at death is still covered by the astral and causal sheaths which debar its union with the Absolute.

When the astral sheath is shed there remains the Causal sheath. This is a mould of ‘thought’. The Causal body ‘feasts’ only on ‘knowledge’, ‘drinks from the springs of peace’, ‘roams on the soil of perception’, ‘swims in bliss’.

Beings remain in the ‘Causal condition for thousands of years. The Soul then tries to shake free from this last bonding or sheath to join the ‘Causal consciousness’ – ‘all the separate eddies of ideas,…. waves of power, love, will, joy, peace, intuition, calmness, self-control, and consciousness melt into the ever joyous Sea of Bliss’. The Soul then is no longer individualized consciousness but merges with the ‘Cosmic Ocean’ of ‘laughter, thrills and throbs’.

The Soul thus released from this last confinement, encompasses and becomes ‘IT’. It ‘expands into the spirit’, ‘in the region of lightless light, darkless dark, thoughtless thought, full of the ecstasy of joy or ‘God’s dream of cosmic creation’.

It becomes one with the infinite, yet without losing its individuality, like ‘Christ had won the final freedom even before he was born as Jesus’. However, such a freed soul may return to earth as a prophet to bring other souls back to God – whether on the astral plane or the earthly plane.

The law of Karma has to be completely worked out before graduation to the astral plane, the Causal plane and beyond into Unity. When the earthly Karma is not redeemed fully after even an astral death they cannot enter the Causal realms of ‘ideas’ but must go back and forth from physical to astral levels for further lessons on earth. Others that are freed  of physical Karma graduate to the Causal plane. When ‘seeds of past desires’ are extinguished finally, the soul emerges from the Causal sheath into the eternal.

Having explained the mysteries of the soul’s release from the triple bondage of physical, astral, and causal captivity, the great guru Yukteswar then vanished from Yogananda’s sight saying as he departed ”tell all….that your earth is a dream of God.”

This experience of Yogananda, though hardly fully comprehensible to a soul like mine covered in all the three sheaths, did reveal the mysterious workings of the spiritual realms and its master, the Universal Essence showing the long and arduous path to final liberation.

Yukteswar and Yogananda

Yukteswar and Yogananda
Credit: yogananda.us

Credit: yogananda.com.au

Credit: yogananda.com.au

yoga nanda

Yogananda was a remarkable Indian sage who took upon himself  the arduous task of introducing Hindu mystical thought and esoteric practices in Yoga to the West. He traveled to America in 1920 to attend a Congress of Religious Liberals in Boston but stayed on for over 30 years spreading his message from coast to coast. He founded the International Centre for Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) in Los Angeles to disseminate his teachings and practices. A large following of disciples developed over the years with numerous celebrities. Yogananda thus became the first pioneering Indian mystic to set up base in the USA and spread the teachings in the USA rather than in India. The second notable personage to do so was Prabupadh who founded the Hare Krishna movement with branches all over the states and thereafter in most parts of the world including India.

Yoganand’s ‘’The Autobiography of a YOGI’’ ( First Edition Copyright Paramhansa Yogananda) is an extraordinary story of his mystical life full of incredible miracles that gives one a fresh perspective of reality and shakes to the roots our settled beliefs about the ‘Natural Material Order’’. The book relates incredible accounts of Great Master Yogis materializing and vanishing, healing miraculously incurable ailments, bringing back people from death, walking on water, bringing trains to a halt through sheer will power, levitating and even resurrecting themselves.

What particularly struck me in the book was his explanation of our material reality as a grand illusion whose veil has to be penetrated to arrive at the true nature of reality. The Indian Master Yogis and sages appear to have succeeded in piercing that ‘veil’ and learned to become one with the quantum reality thereby performing what appear to be incredible feats. He quotes from Sir James Jeans’s book ‘The Mysterious Universe’ – ‘’the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.’’ An analogy he made impressed me deeply. Holding that the material world and we with it are aspects of light, he likens our ‘real world’ to the projection of images by a projector on a cinema screen . He relates his mystical experience in which his body lost its grossness and acquired an astral quality. While the walls and furniture remained gross, the ceiling of the room  became a blinding mass of light. From within the light a voice appeared to speak out saying ‘’ This is the cosmic motion picture mechanism …. It is producing the picture of your body…. Your form is nothing but light’’.

yogananda youthIn the book Yoganand as a youth refuses to conform to an ordinary life despite his father’s every effort and barely graduates before he continues his avid search for masters and Gurus. In the process he finds strange and amazing beings in remote corners of India engaged in their incredible and ‘magical’ feats which appear to give the lie to our settled beliefs about the nature of the reality in which we live, and the natural physical laws which appear to govern us.

hijra2There are tribes in India of the so called Third Gender paradoxically considered auspicious at the birth of a child where they will dance till they are given a suitable donation before they bless the child with long life and happiness, though the law prohibits this. A poem to describe their plight

H E R M A P H R O D I T E

Your centre of gravity

Does so vacillate,

While looking masculine

you are so effeminate,

In you the opposites

Have neutralized,

Your desire aborted

Now arises to probe and ape

What is beyond the stars of your reach,

The gap you cannot breach and shape.

 

Printing error in your DNA, they say,

In allowing an additional factor

Have cancelled all factors

Like something inedible, too sweet.

 

This no equilibrium of seers,

Perfect penance of ages,

No prize of Himalayan sages,

 

Your comic inverse

But a failed mutation

To ape the Absolute

In a well tried fluke

Unsublimate,

 

That could not

Put two poles

Back together

Again

Credit: mylaw.net

Credit: mylaw.net

bengoossens_image4

                                ( Ben Goossens award winning surrealism Dreamscape)

Credit: boothemes.com

Does the dream state have any reality or is it an illusion? If it has reality then is the waking state an illusion? Or are they alternative realities and illusions? Such thoughts evoked a poem:

 

                                         N  I  G  H  T  W  A  L  K

 

Holding a dream

Through your fingers,

Till you are not sure

What shape it had

Though so clearly it arose

And made you sad with tears

Still smarting in your eyes;

Fears of a fading horror

You do not fully recognize

Except in the traces

Of your quickened heart-beats,

This vaporizing

dew drop dream

From which I

Arise.

 

These fading facts

And shifting people,

Not quite what they seem;

Surely this is your sister

who doesn’t look at all like her,

Your father as a friend disguised

And you are sure

This is your front door

Which you have never seen before

As you step quickly

From one world to another

Changing stride, leaving something aside;

Only the emotions abide

As you sweat and you wet

And you weep

And awaken shivering with mirth

Or fear.

 

But there is nothing unreal

About this other world here,

The tall street lights

Solid and regular

Casting shadows

Upon the street I walk

And the same constellations,

Orion in particular

Reassuringly holding up the sky above

And there is a city out there

You can be sure from the sky-light

And many people you know

Moving behind the windows

Attached to either side

Of the street with lights -

Real, because

Your wife strides firmly beside

You as always

With your shadow.

 

But then you wake up

And find that you were

Never married to anyone at all

Though it appeared so real

And there never was a star system

In the skies shaped like Orion

And yet you feel

Her strong companionship and love

And know those street lamps

Casting about their shadows

In another world

Which has just disappeared.

credit: iiteeeestudents.wordpress.com

credit: iiteeeestudents.wordpress.com

 

Credit: 123rf.com

 

 

The bowl is brimful

The water sits still

Discreetly level

Like maturity’s will

 

But as you fill the hunger

It overflows,

As you meet desire

It spills beyond the rim,

Never level

When you try to fill

A cupful,

 

Till you learn

to treat the arousal

As a measured signal,

Learning to hold the water

Even as it begins to fill

to the rim,

For a bowl

Just brimful.

 

 

clips

 

In a diplomatic and Consular career one sometimes comes across inconsolable tragedy which leaves one shaken to the core. The poem below arose from one such:

 

                                    C  A  B  L  E

 

” Would you be kind enough Sir

To bury our son with all due rites”

The cable plainly said without a tear,

A distant mother’s practical prayer

In queer English.

 

Though the last letter

Still loud and clear

In her shaking hand

From her expatriate dear

Who ventured far

Into an unheard of land

Of promise.

 

And the alarm clock for her

Who would be needing time no longer

And the plastic clips from Japan

She did not want sent,

Like him remained

Unclaimed.

 

All she accepted were the stamped

Certificates proclaiming his name

And the cancelled passport

From which he kept looking up at her

With the same smart smile

Forever.

passport

 

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