Archives for category: creation myth
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Photo Credit: waytogomedia.com

 

There are patterns everywhere. In my mind, there a  a pattern of thought. In the seed, a pattern of growth. In the solar system a pattern of circulation. In the elements, atomic patterns. Mammals have a pattern of suckling, birds of laying eggs, lizards of slithering, plants of rooting, flowers of coloring.

The snow crystal has a striking design. The sugar crystal repeats the same pattern. The British is pastel and lace, the French, perfume and chiffon, the Indian a riot of symbols, the Chinese, pagodas and green tea, the Japanese bow and karate. You have your own style of holding and gesturing. Europeans abstain from using the tips of their fingers in gestures designed to be dexterous and utilitarian, Indians insist on the tips as in the ‘Mudras’ of their dance. The grocer artfully drops his sale with a flourish into a brown paper bag. The fascinating fingers of the sales woman on the key board of her cash box, the tellers reflexive counting of bank notes, the conductors flitting musical staff, the different patterns of acknowledgement, denial, culture.

The law of the land, crystallized pattern; physical and natural laws inflexible pattern; dogma and ideology, firm pattern;  genetic growth, unerring pattern; seasons, designs, repetitive patterns; systems, solar or circulatory, circular patterns; fashions and vehicles, changing patterns; birth, death, rise and fall, graphical patterns; progress and development, evolving patterns; language and writing, expressive patterns; logic and symmetry, mathematical patterns; character and personality, individual patterns; finger prints, chromosomes, unique patterns; policy and strategy, directional patterns; style and panache, sophisticated patterns; war and weaponry, destructive patterns; literature and art, creative patterns.

Patterns surround us, are with us, emanate from us. Our wisdom grows as we learn to recognize and assimilate patterns. As we learn of the more obvious visual patterns, we begin to gauge the less obvious ones and as our sensitivity to patterns develops, we begin to comprehend hidden and more subtle patterns till we are so full of patterns that we generate a unique pattern of our own, in an act of creativity.

The patterns that envelop us must arise from some more creative source, even as our own arise from us. At the centre of the Universe an inconceivably creative force must send out the patterns that govern the universe, introducing shades of colours, timbres of sound, aromas of smell, depths of feeling and a range of tastes – countless patterns radiating to fill creation with order, dispelling tha vacuous anarchy of nothingness, infusing and instructing pattern into the paternless, dispelling nihility, vacuity and emptiness with the infusion of pattern, allowing new space and dimension for more patterns, overtaking disorder with purpose, disciplining, ordering, making reliable and more predictable, through the patterns of creation.

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Photo Credit: cogmobblog.wordpress.com

 

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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: 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’.

 

 

 

In that epoch sages and seers sought to convey complex philosophical and metaphysical concepts to their disciples and lay folk through parables, similes, analogies and metaphors. The idea of Brahman was conveyed through numerous metaphors that became popular and are used to this day.

In my view the most apt metaphor explaining creation and immanence is that of the spider which spins out silken threads from its body and creates a web after which it goes and sits at it heart much like Brahman creates the phenomenal world and enters it:

”Just as the spider pours forth its thread from itself and takes it back again; just as herbs grow on the earth and hairs from living man, even so the universe grows from the imperishable” – Katha Upanishad

” Just as there shoot out from a blazing fire sparks by the thousands, resembling the fire, so do the various beings ( or states: bhava) proceed from that imperishable; and into It, verily, they return.” – Mundaka Upanishad

” Like the butter hidden in milk, Pure Consciousness resides in every being. It is to be constantly churned, with the mind serving as the churning-rod” – Amrtabindu Upanishad

Two Birds on One Tree Metaphor:

” Two birds close companions, reside in intimate fellowship on the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit of the tree; the other, without eating, watches”. – Mundaka Upanishad

The bird that eats the fruit is the individual personality, the tree is life and  the one that watches is the soul an aspect of Brahman.

Artist: Jeffery Courtney Credit: courtneyart.net

Artist: Jeffery Courtney
Credit: courtneyart.net

 

manasa

credit: saibharati.com

Parallel to the development of the concept of Brahman as Universal Essence was that of the Soul or Atman also as being the Universal essence. The Atman was in like manner  shown as being both ubiquitous and immanent. This thought derived its inspiration from the Rig-Vedic concept of the Cosmic Person from whose eye emerged the Sun, the Moon from his mind, fire from his mouth, the wind from his breath, the sky from his head, the earth from his feet etc. Thus the Cosmic Person was seen as projecting into the forces of nature and the world.

A further extension of this thought in the Upanishads was to create a correspondence not only to the world in general but to the individual as well. Thus fire now entered the mouth of a person and became speech, wind entered the nose and became breath, the Sun became sight in the eyes, the moon became his mind and so on. While on the one hand creation was shown as emerging from the Universal Essence, on the other the created forces were shown  as producing the faculties of man. Thus the microcosm and the macrocosm were connected.

From the Cosmic Person analogy also arose the thought that the Universal Essence was a Great Soul of which the individual soul was an aspect (Ansha). Thus in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it is stated:

”Atman is the person in the earth and the person in the body… in fire and in speech; in wind and in breath; in the Sun and in the eye… in truth and truthfulness; in humanity and in the human; in the Self and in the self.”

The idea of the  immanence of Brahman had a cosmic magnificence while that of the extension of the Universal Soul at the core of beings as individual souls, was even more extraordinary with profound spiritual implications. It was philosophically and ethically elevating and deeply significant for the future course of Indian thought and spirituality. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad clearly defines the emerging insight:

”That same thing, namely, this self, is the trace of this All; for by it one knows this All. Just as  ( if it were)a footprint” 

Again in the Svetashvatara Upanishad the same theme is reiterated:

” with the nature of this self, as with a lamp, a practitioner of Yoga beholds here the nature of Brahman”

The cosmic Brahman as an idea and the subtle Atman concept then began to be connected as we see in the Chandokya Upanishad : ”Who is our Atman? What is Brahman? Finally the two concepts merged and Brahman and Atman became synonymous. Thus the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad cleary states:

‘Verily, that great unborn soul, undecaying, undying, immortal, fearless is Brahman.’

And again in the Svetasvatara Upanishad it is affirmed:

‘The Soul which pervades all things…this is Brahman.’

This grand union of two complimentary concepts implied that the unitary cosmic realism of the first was now one with the innermost spiritual essence of the self and the not-self, the great spirit of a supersoul. Furthermore the linkage between the individual self and the Great Self was the ultimate step to an authentic Monism as in the resounding declaration of the Chandokya Upanishad”

‘Tat tvam asi’ – ‘That thou art’

credit:lightworkers.org

credit:lightworkers.org

 

credit: scienceblogs.com

credit: scienceblogs.com

Before we continue from my last post to witness the evolution of Upanishidic thought let us savour the speculative poetry on Creation of an earlier scripture the Rig – Veda, the earliest Indian treatise known which would give one an idea about the nature of speculative enquiry in that dawn of history of man. The Rig – Veda is estimated by Western scholars to have been composed between 1700 to 1100 B.C. and would therefore be man’s earliest efforts at coming to grips with the mysteries of the world in which he finds himself:

                                           C R E A T I O N

“Then was not non-existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.

What covered it, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there,unfathomed depths of water?

Death was not then, nor was there ought immortal, no sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider.

That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.

Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was undiscriminated chaos.

All that existed then was void and formless: by the great power of warmth was born that unit.

Thereafter rose desire in the beginning, desire, the primal seed and germ of spirit.

Sages who searched with their heart’s thought discovered the existent’s kinship in the non-existent.

Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it?

There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder.

Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?

The gods are later than this world’s production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?

He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,

Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.”

I have yet to come across a more moving poem ( when I read this, over three thousand-year old poem, believe me my hair stands on end) as earnest uncomplicated and uninhibited and with no presumptions whatsoever yearning for an answer ( He verily knows it, or perhaps He knows not! – can any latter day believer dare ask such a question??)  – that for me was the spirit of ancient India’s quest and enquiry, fearless in its scepticism,  which eventually produced first the intense speculations of the Upanishads and later the crystalized and focussed efforts of the Gita to reply that pristine query, which for me it did.

Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope

Credit: reality-choice.org

Credit: reality-choice.org

The blog began with a consideration of Upanishadic metaphysics culminating in Shankeracharya’s Advait philosophy of Transcendental Monism, – then moved to the metaphysics of science with David Bohm’s theory of an Implicate Order and we now reach metaphysics in biology with Rupert Sheldrake’s theory about Morphogenetic Fields and Morphic Resonance. While the first two were concerned with the cosmos ( and beyond) the last has more to do with manifest Nature.

 Sheldrake is an eminent biologist who had studied at Cambridge and Harvard, travelled widely attending conferences on holistic thought, science and mysticism, where Bohm and Capra represented physics and Sheldrake was the most prominent biologist. Renee Weber (see previous post) in her book ‘The Search for Unity’ extensively interviewed Sheldrake ( among others). Below I have sought to present the substance of her seminal dialogues with Sheldrake on his hypothesis on Morphogenetic Fields.

Like Bohm was dissatisfied with the lack of interpretations of quantum mechanics by scientists for us, being confined to math. and equations, so too Sheldrake was dissatisfied with the mechanistic – reductionist view of biology among

Credit: wikipedia

Rupert Sheldrake
Credit: wikipedia

physiologists, biochemists and biophysicists who he felt were more physicists and chemists than biologists. This he called a major internal crisis in biology. A dissident tradition was on the other hand looking for something going beyond such a view – this group consisted of developmental biologists and embryologist, according to him the true biologists with whom he identified. They dissented from the mechanist view that the DNA and chemicals in human organisms were the sole cause of their form and properties. Everything was attributed to DNA in the mechanistic model. He felt that this was grossly over-rated. DNA was attributed unexplained powers and properties which could not be specified in molecular terms at all. This he describes as the fantasies projected onto the DNA.

Like Bohm sought to make sense of quantum mechanics by proposing an Implicate Order (previous post), Sheldrake postulated Morphogenetic Fields to explain what the DNA clearly was not doing. All that the DNA did was to provide a code enabling cells to make certain proteins. How then the cells used the proteins, organized themselves into particular forms and grouped together in tissues of certain forms and shaped them into an organism of forms was still a mystery. He gave an example to explain. DNA gave us the bricks and mortar with which the organism is built but how these are assembled into patterns, shapes and structures remained beyond known capabilities of DNA.

Sheldrake said that primary forms are defined by two fields, gravity and electromagnetism. Gravity is a kind of formation field but at a lower level, creating forms like spheres. Electromagnetic fields are also simple in contributing form but neither can explain the complexity or multiplicity of forms of organisms. He explains that as animals and plants develop, the complexity of their structures becomes greater and greater – more form coming from less, defying physical explanations.

His theory of Morphogenetic Fields proposes that there is a field which is responsible for development of form (the things which the DNA evidently does not do ). The form pre-exists in the field which guides the developing organism and controls its form and development. Each organism has a field dedicated to it. The fields are derived from past organisms of the same species through ‘Morphic Resonance’. Past forms influence present ones through the field by a kind of resonance and present forms feed-back into the field in a two-way kind of on going evolution of the same form.

He explains ‘Morphic Resonance’ with the analogy of radio and TV. Wires and transistors receive transmissions from stations. The DNA of a chicken are the wires and transistors which receive the transmissions from the Morphogenetic field of Chickens. the present approach to biology is like looking at a picture on the TV screen and examining the transistors, wires and chemicals in the TV set without accounting for the fact that the transmissions are not coming from the box. Indeed he holds that Morphic Resonance can be tested. An example is that of rats learning a new trick in one place and the rats of the same breed then learning that trick more quickly all over the world (in a later post I propose to show numerous examples of scientifically tested cases of so-called Morphic Resonance).

Weber then asked Sheldrake about the nature and characteristics of Morphogenetic fields. He explained that the fields are invisible, and like gravity has spatial patterns. The spatial patterns of a magnetic field can be seen in the iron filings on the magnet. Therefore the fields are invisible but detectable only through their effects. Morphogenetic Fields are also invisible and undetectable directly but only through the Morphogenetic effects. However they are not ‘energetic’ like magnetic fields because they are outside space and time.

Credit: shift.is

Credit: shift.is

Forms are not mere archetypes in the mind of God unlike what Augustine would have said. Sheldrake proposes that they are evolutionary not fixed. While they are affected by past forms of the same type of organism through a kind of cumulative effect, the field is also affected by existing forms – a kind of two-way process through a feed-back. This is similar to Bohm’s idea of the Implicate Order ‘unfolding’ and then ‘enfolding’.

He agrees that there is a kind of persistence of memory on a cosmic scale. He then approaches the God thought. He believes that Nature itself has a source beyond the natural world. Creativity within the universe and the universe itself can only be explained through a kind of idea of transcendence – some non-physical, trans-physical reality, spiritual in nature.

Once again I sat back to allow the mind-blowing concepts to settle in. Yet another scientist, a biologist this time had opened his mind to speak of science and metaphysics seeking this time to explain development of form, their multiplicity and evolution. When the circuits had stopped whirring and the alignments had been made, once again a new mind-set had evolved. Nature was indeed alive, intelligent with memory, intent and transcendental influences. No less important the fact that we are not merely products of nature but active participants in its evolution. As Bohm’s Implicate Order was affected and transformed every time we ‘enfolded’ back into it, so too Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields evolved through our individual ‘contributions’.

Credit: radiogrenouille.com

Credit: radiogrenouille.com

Winds of mysticism from the East, winds of science from the West, sometimes the stirring of the Universal Essence, sometimes the unfolding of The Implicate Order, together inspired me to write a poem of creation and dissolution which I share below:

 

                 A W A K E N I N G

 

A mere undoing of atom law logic –

For the world was not torn asunder

Nor did fires rain, no blood, no flood;

Trees, stars, motion, just vanished.

 

There was no residue, no ash after wood

Is fired, no drama for none to see;

Not anyone, not anything

In that silent dissolution.

 

Then as when your thoughts have given out

The mind withdrawn inwards no longer needs

To grasp and twist and fashion

He went blank

Unworldly, unconcerned,

 

Ending the infinite permutations,

Combinations,

Pain and pleasure, good and evil

The compares and contrasts

Of a lonesome preoccupation.

 

Unwilling to change His own supreme reality

Or divide as in his cell principle;

He had broken up into countless variety

Outside his indivisability

To which He now returned.

 

In the eternal darknesses

There was nothing but Him, reclining

If  He could do that – presumption of limbs

Contemplating, digesting, preparing,

 

That perfect principle

Conceived of by man as man

Was silent; holding back,

Holding in the supreme energy, in repose,

 

Then after eternity at will He broke,

Dividing into untold eons expanses,

Variety,

Into man trees stars,

Waving blinking days  and nights;

The bee and the rose

Outside of his real repose.

Credit: ISKCON

Credit: ISKCON

” If the soul could have known God without the world, the world would never have been created” – Meister Eckhart, sermons.

This is an amazing quote from the great 13th century controversial Christian mystic and theologian which is so relevant to the subject of my post. Was the world then created so that souls could understand the problems of an earthly existence and thus graduate to a level bringing them closer to God?  The concept of the soul and its purpose in embodiment on the physical plane has been discussed at length in Hindu scriptures also. The soul is said to be a fragment of divinity embedded in the body and obliged to remain entrapped for successive rebirths until the personality-ego-body complex shrouding it evolves to perfection, It is only then that it gets released from captivity to merge back into its divine origins.

Meister Eckhart echoes this Hindu assertion of the presence of God in the individual soul and its divinity, when he says: ” man should consider the great aristocracy which God has set up in the soul, such that by means of  it man may wonderfully attain to God”, He goes on to say :” there is something in the soul that is so akin to God that it is one with Him…. it has nothing in common with anything created.”

New Age thinkers have also examined the concept of the soul and sought to give their own interpretations. Their inspiration comes from the emerging mysteries of Quantum Physics which has transplanted the Newtonian world of mechanical certainties on which science heretofore relied. They have also been influenced by the investigation of paranormal phenomena outside the framework of orthodox religion by the scientific establishment and reputed institutions of learning in the West. Their views formulated on the soul are pretty close to that of Hinduism though with some unique and far-reaching modifications in the concepts. The Hindu view and the New Age view agree that the experience of material existence is important for the soul and for achieving its purpose and it is for this reason that it gets embodied.

An ethereal eternal entity of light and energy, the soul is too boundless to have limitations. Experiencing the limitations, confinement and mortality even through the proxy of the personality-ego-body complex becomes essential to understand the ethical secrets that the physical plane holds. Restricted mobility, imperfections, disabilities, disease, consumption, renewal, reproduction and competition can only be fully understood from within. This then is Earth School where souls get educated on need and want, competition, confrontation, or conflict invoved in survival, all manner of inter-relationships and the complex ethical issues thrown up. The soul also acts as a compass on the ship of life providing guidance and direction to the personality-ego-body it is attached to, helping it to evolve. In some unexplained manner this experience in the Earth School  also serves to help in the evolution of the soul. This is not clearly mentioned anywhere but it appears as Meister Eckhart explains, that the experience is a ticket so to speak for being ushered into the divine fold or presence, which the soul yearns for. This needs further research for confirmation whether the soul is there to help only or to get help as well?

The concept of the soul however gets modified by New Age thinkers and answers  the second part of the question. It is no longer as distinct from the personality as conceived in Hindu scriptures. While the Hindu view is that the soul is a fragment of divinity, perfect, eternal and unblemished, the New Age view is that while the soul is eternal and ethereal it is capable of developing negativity and blemish. It is like a radiant sun that can develop sun spots and in order to heal it chooses to incarnate into a personality of its choosing to undergo a physical experience which would heal it. This descent to the physical plane through a massive reduction of its unlimited power and force into the incarnated personality is for the purpose of healing itself.

The term Earth School where the healing through experience takes place has been coined and used extensively by Gary Zukav in his book ‘Seat of the Soul’, which I consider the New Age bible on the soul. Thus we see that New Age thinkers have made a fundamental modification in the concept of the soul and its purpose in incarnation. The other major modification which follows is that of choice in reincarnation as opposed to the premise that the Law of Karma leaves no choice and the soul willy-nilly has to inhabit the next incarnation determined by the Law of Karma based on the actions of the personality in the just completed life. This modification with far-reaching implications I shall seek to examine in the next post.

The foregoing may appear esoteric and academic but is important for researching the theme of my blog. Furthermore, concepts as they evolve, in my view, begin to have a fundamental effect on human behaviour and thinking.

Credit: artoprecision.com

Credit: artoprecision.com

The state of total satiation where every need has been met in full measure, every urge satisfied infinitely, every growth potential achieved, every desire fulfilled, all goals reached, looks attractive but would  be a vegetal state like that of the non-living or dead.

Life on the contrary is like the action of a spring, a dynamic coil with inbuilt tension. The tortured coil produces movement, as our needs propel us forward. Total fulfilment equals uncoiling the spring. We would have no volition without need, no emotion if we were entirely self-sufficient, no mobility without deprivation, no joy without the experience of sorrow, no ability without challenge, no substance without shadow.

As the spring  is coiled, so too are we constituted of needs, psychological in the brain, respiratory in the lungs, nutritional in the stomach, reproductive in the loins. Needs which, even as they are  satisfied,  renew afresh with unmitigating vigour till the very waning of needs in old age is regarded as being symptomatic of the decline of the form we inherit, rather than an indication of the salvation of that form. It is from the repetitive and ordinary rotary motions of need and fulfilment, the motor activity of  consumption, that arise the hum of great and glorious achievements, noble thoughts, superior emotions, refined sentiments, ethereal qualities, outstanding creations, remarkable feats and extraordinary cooperation. Without need-based efforts and striving, would there be a churning out of this butter, a maturing of this wine?

 We fail to value an asset whenever there is over-supply. For instance an insensitivity may develop in the very rich and self-indulgent who have never known hunger even voluntarily from fasting, the philanderer who has never experienced the pangs of a lover’s longings, the spoilt child smothered by affection who successively becomes more and more self-centred, the quality of a person who has never suffered any deprivation, want or pain. What may such a person be like –  smug, self-centred, self-indulgent, impatient, self-opiniated, snobbish and selfish, possibly, if you believe in reincarnation, a first birth after reincarnating from an inferior, say animal existence, to make the experience of earthly life more tolerable without challenge.

It is ‘want’ then that teaches us understanding, need that inculcates appreciation of  like needs in others, pain that induces humanity, loss that develops care, hunger that refines taste, thirst that allows savouring of water’s true calibre, failure that spurs effort, absence that indeed makes the heart grow fonder, sorrow that arouses sensibilities, a restless quest that engenders great movements in art, challenge that produces evolution, toil that brings discovery and invention.

Insufficiency is motivating, anguish is humanizing, the coil of the spring powerful,  the tensing of a hungry cat’s muscles is a latent force, the heavy compact budding before bursting forth in a flower is blossoming. Then is not the ‘negative’ only another necessary side of the coin, sorrow and pain as necessary as joy?

But we cannot conclude that a painless state only arises from indulgent fulfillment. According to the Gita pain in the mortal world terminates with the termination of desire or greed! That is possible if the need is curbed and desire sublimated. Then follows equilibrium and peace, not the temporary kind resulting  from gratification but the more permanent one arising from restraint, simplicity in life style. discretion in consumption, unattached action, altruism, compassion, forgiveness, charity and consideration etc. In other words in giving rather than in receiving.

Need then is the great motive force, the civilizing energy, the secret impelling mechanism, the hidden spring, the cause of volition, the suction of vacuum, the lower threshold into which heat and electricity flow, the low pressure area attracting storms into its vortex, the problems that demand solution, the helpless infant that induces motherhood, the want that induces charity, the suffering that creates compassion, the striving that produces ability, the colours,aroma and nectar of flowers that attract bees purposefully, the twisted coils which spring into action, the pull of the catapult that activates the missile, the empty universe into which creation fills. The Universal Essence implanted need everywhere to animate, civilize and evolve  his creation.

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