Archives for the month of: February, 2013

  

Higgs Bottom - God Particle Credit : clanghigh.blogspot.com

Higgs Bottom – God Particle
Credit : clanghigh.blogspot.com

Hindu metaphysics is defined by western scholars as Transcendental Monism, a philosophical term which simply means the Oneness of everything, its indivisibility and grand unity. This is not Monotheism or the belief in a one and exclusive God without a second but indeed the oneness of both creator and creation. In other words, God is omnipresent and ubiquitous and the divine essence infiltrates every atom and particle of creation

. This divinity is present not merely at the spiritual plane but equally on the material and physical levels. Matter and Spirit are integrally conjoined and inseperable. The divine is thus universally present both as matter and spirit. Matter and Spirit, two facets of the Universal Essence or God, are not only inseperable and united but also exhibit attraction for one another by being in a state of perpetual interaction. While the material aspect is manifest, finite and perishable and recycled from creation to creation, the spiritual aspect is infinite, imperishable, constant and eternal.

Matter is passionately attracted to the presence of spirit and spirit never leaves matter alone either, probing, infiltrating and combining with it.

The Oneness of the pristine Universal Essence becomes disturbed when an introspective, self consciousness stirs within it, as if it asked ‘who am I’ or again it asserted ‘I am’. This ‘I am’ sounds like Aum the Hindu symbol of the sacred, the first primal sound resounding across the universe. This moment of acute self consciousness translates into what one may call the Big Bang of creation. At that moment the ‘Unity’ becomes splintered like our physical identity does in a dream. At that moment a tidal wave arises in the great Spirit’s oceanic Oneness and with the wave, uncountable millions of drops are thrown up in a cosmic splash seperating and rising up as sprays. The drops in the air are still parts of the ocean though apparently seperated by the creative force of the tidal wave of the self conscious assertion of ‘I Am’ and destined to fall back before long, back into the ocean, to resume their unity with it.

The figurative analogy of the ocean and the drops is employed repeatedly in Hindu thought to illustrate the complex metaphysical reality of the Universal Essence and its relationship to the  soul incarnate.. The seperated drops poised in the air momentarily, before they fall back into the ocean of the Universal Essence are the freshly generated souls. Thus we understand the origin of the soul.

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cREDIT: ISKCON

cREDIT: ISKCON

Let us now embark on our journey to explore the meaning of the soul. There are many paths one can take. I can only begin by choosing one that appears familiar to me. Going along it I arrive at the august portals of Hindu thought and beliefs concerning the soul. For millenia the soul has been the subject of intensive introspection in India, a land immersed in mysticism and the spiritual quest, which produced great thinkers, sages, philosophers and prophets like the Buddha and Mahavir ( the last Jain prophet or ‘Tirthankar’ a contemporary of the Buddha).

India’s quintessential scripture the Gita or Song Celestial, begins its discourse with a definition of the soul. It calls it the ‘Indweller’ (Antaryami), the one that dwells within. It also calls it the embodied one – one that has acquired a physical body. While the physical shell is destructable, its indweller, it asserts, is indestructable, eternal, not manifest, inconceivable and unchanging. It is neither born nor does it die. It describes it as stable, constant, invulnerable and ancient.

The question arises, where does this soul which gets embodied and becomes the ‘indweller’ come from. What is its source? This takes us back to the very fundamentals of Hindu metaphysics and cosmology. We cannot answer the question of the origin of the soul without first understanding the source or backdrop from which it emerges. That source is obviously the Universal Essence, Universal consciousness, the Supersoul, Cosmic Being or God. (more in next post)

 

Credit : nouveauuneovic.tumbir.com

Credit : nouveauuneovic.tumbir.com

From childhood we are led to believe that we are more than the physical self represented by the body – that in fact our essence is spiritual. We are told that at our core there is a Soul. This core, most faiths hold, is constant, indestructable, immortal and eternal. Most faiths underline that this core, the soul, survives after the body perishes at death. Thus at funerals and at memorials we often hear people whisper ‘may his soul rest in peace’ or ‘may his soul ascend to heaven’ etc. When uttering such good wishes or blessings do we actually give any thought to what we may indeed be referring to?

While some faiths speak of the ascent of the soul to heaven or sometimes descent to hell, others speak of its reincarnation in future births in other bodies.

The soul goes by different names in different faiths, cultures and languages. Soul, for english speaking Christians, Atma for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and Rooh for Muslims. For Christians and Muslims it is not the living person but his soul or Rooh that eventually stands before the Almighty for judgement. For Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, the Atma passes from one lifetime to another getting embodied again and again before its final release from compulsive embodiment. This release from rebirth is called Moksha, Nirvana or enlightenment.

These appear to be varied interpretations and explanations of the same essential truth, depending on the cultural backdrop and metaphysical dogmas of the concerned faiths. But unless we go deeper and explore such concepts and relate them to individual experiences, we can no more understand this universal concept of soul, than when we began. so let us then commence our journey of exploration to see if we understand the soul as anything more than a word in our language.

Most of my life I have been intrigued by the concept of the Soul. Every faith speaks of it,many scholars have written about it, both in the past and in what is called New Age literature. In common parlance too we refer to Soul so often. Yet it is the most ambiguous of concepts to truely comprehend. My curiosity led me to research what the different scriptures say about it – all refer to it. Later I sought to understand its metaphysical significance and reality and even experience its presence mystically through meditation, poetry, music and literature. This blog entiteled SEARCH FOR SOUL therefore tries or hopes to try and share whatever I have gleaned from diverse sources on the subject and to invite feed back which could help to enlighten me further on the subject.

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