Monday, June 2, 2008

The Eternal Path

This is the flagship article of my blog, which I would keep at the top by updating it frequently. For somebody who hasn’t had a practical experience of mysticism, reading the other posts, without first going through this article, may not be of much use, or may even confound instead of enlightening. Here, I would expound in detail, the path of the anahata and its relation with mysticism per se. Every other post in this blog must be read in the light of this article, and whatever contravenes it, must be held as invalid, to the degree of contradicting it. This blog is primarily for those who consider mysticism as the central and defining facet of their lives and are prepared to sacrifice mundane concerns for a higher end, or atleast are willing to explore the higher things of life with an open mind.
That suffering is an unavoidable part of human life, as ordinarily lived, need not be expounded with varied examples. The human condition, with all its joys and comforts, is pitiable and lacking in any lasting succor. Buddhism describes six primary sufferings inherent in human existence- the suffering of birth ( which we have forgotten), the suffering of death (which we try not to remember), the suffering of diseases, physical and mental, the suffering of aging, the suffering of separation from the pleasant and the suffering of contact with the unpleasant. Usually the fertility of human existence adds many other sufferings to this primary list. Even if one is placed in comfortable circumstances, say born rich and handsome, with great political power and also wisdom and refined tastes, he cannot be more than a mere speck in the vast expanse of space and time which the universe is. Time and again, men of exceptional caliber have been born to decorate the annals of history, from Buddha to Ramakrishna and from Alexander to Genghis Khan; from Kalidasa to Goethe and from Aristotle to Einstein, they have all changed the landscape upon which they appeared ; but even such super-men were merely drops in the infinite ocean of time. A few milleniums pass and the giants of an age are forgotten along with the pettiest of their contemporaries. And even when alive, and inspite of their greatness, how insignificant the lives of such giants were ! They were born, interacted with the sense fields for a while, grew old in a moment and merged back into their constituent elements. Soon their ideas too vaporized into distorted forms, far from the origin. What was there that gave them any lasting happiness or peace?
There are two kinds of great men – those great in spirit and those great in mind. The great brains of every age, dominated with an iron will which seeks to bend the mighty nature to their own designs , are but puppets when compared to the giants of spirit. The armies of Alexander and Hitler couldn’t penetrate the hearts of men; these tyrants were forgotten after their ignominous ends. But Buddha still shines in the heart of the multitudes that live by His Dharma. While greatness of mind leads to no lasting happiness and is merely a function of greater potential to manipulate external nature and may even cause much distress, spiritual greatness is characterized by lasting peace and happiness and an aloofness from the external environment. Yet, even Buddhas and Krishnas are not the real heroes. They too are just ideas in the mental sphere after their gross bodies have perished. Before proceeding further, it is important to understand what sense-fields mean.
Indian psychology counts mind among the senses and hence talks of the six sense fields viz. the mental, visual,auditory,olfactory(smell), taste and tactile(touch). The sense fields are the spheres of the senses, their power-fields. Interaction of consciousness channelised through senses and the ‘external’environment gives rise to them. Among them, the mental sense field is the most subtle and hence most powerful. The other sense fields become coherent and pregnant with meaning only under the light of the mental field. Whatever has its being in the sphere of the sense fields is transient and of the nature of an appearance. The subject matter of sense fields is constantly in flux. Transience does not imply non-existence, yet it is also not pure existence because of its momentariness and quality of vapourizing into ‘the unknown beyond.’ Whatever is subject to time and space is transitory and hence contains no lasting happiness. Here, it is important to note that space and time form a whole and supplement each other. Time has no meaning except change in space and space has no being except as the playground of time. To talk of space independent of time is impossible. If there is no time, there is no movemant and no distance. Space has distance as the primary attribute. Whatever has the quality of distance which takes some time to be covered is of the nature of space. If there is no time, the concept of distance also vanishes and along with it, space is annihilated. Similarly, time cannot have being except through change in space. If space is absolutely static, time would vanish and by being static, space would lose its being as the plane of movement. Thus space-time is a whole and under deeper probe, a single entity.
Yet, physical space-time dimension has its being only in the causal sphere of consciousness. Here is the primary dichotomy between the insight of mystics and the theories of ‘natural’ sciences. Many theorists wrongly conclude that consciousness is a manifestation or attribute of matter, or that matter causes consciousness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The probem arises because of the material bias in ‘scientific’ investigation. Natural sciences like physics and chemistry are based on empirical observation, which , necessarily occur in sense-fields, that is the spheres produced by the interaction of consciousness apparently individuated and sheathed in a gross body with ‘external’ sense-fields. Before human science comes the human experience and before human experience comes the human body-mind. Reality is not dependent on or a function of any species-typical framework, human or superhuman. The sphere of human experience is merely one among infinite individuated realms of consciousness, many of which are vastly superior to earth. Before going further, let us discuss a few delusions which are the subjects of much ‘scientific’ research.
1.) Humans are the most evolved and intelligent life-forms in our galaxy, if not the whole universe.
2.) Living things are systems that tend to respond to changes in their environment, and inside themselves, in such a way as to promote their own continuation.
3.)The primary determinants of human and animal behaviour are genetic endowments( heredity) and external environment.
4.)The purpose of an individual’s (human or animal) life is to pass along genetic material to the next generation of the species (the most dangerous and erroneous of all the ideas proposed).
5.) I think therefore I am (cogito ergo sum). -Descartes (the ambit of this statement is western philosophy rather than science).
Considering the first statement, "Humans are the most evolved and intelligent life-forms in our galaxy, if not the whole universe."
There is no evidence to prove that species more evolved and better endowed than humans in all respects do not or cannot exist. Humans are very primitive in their approach towards life. With limited mental and bodily faculties, they are using up earth’s resources as if they are the last generation to be alive. Besides, they have divided the earth into political entities that compete against each other and spend scarce resources to develop weapons intended to rid the earth of all species that exist on this space-time dimension. The methods which humans employ to check the suitability of other planets/spheres for life ( availability of water/oxygen/temperature congenial to humanoid species) are flawed because different life-forms appear in different space-time dimensions and respiration is required only on the gross sphere. What to say of other planets, superior life forms may exist even on earth in different space-time dimensions.Much of the visual and audible spectrum is beyond human cognition, yet very much exists. Similarly beings that exist in wavelengths of consciousness beyond the band of human consciousness would be beyond human cognition. The idea of gross universe exists because humans have a specific conscious vibration which synchronizes with gross frequencies. If a human seeker were to consciously tune into a subtler vibration, he would access subtler realms and beings right here. Breath is not a necessary condition even for human life. Yogis can consciously enter the breathless state when the body is charged by subtle vibrations of consciousness.In those states, the body remains without breath and with minimal heartbeat for hours altogether and actually gains health and energy. Indeed the physical means to check whether a yogi is in samadhi is to check his breath. A yogi in samadhi is not breathing. Only on re-entering the gross sphere does the breath come again (the physical breath links the subtle body to the gross body composed of flesh and bones). In samadhi,subtle consciousness recharges the gross body through spinal currents entering the body in medulla/brainstem.( Some scientists have done research on the special powers of yogis over functions considered involuntary , eg heartbeat; One such yogi, swami Rama, was studied intensively at the Meninger foundation in USA (Green,1972). Laboratory tests showed that, among other things, Rama was able to speed up and slow down his heart rate at will, to stop his heart from pumping blood for 17 seconds, to cause two areas of his palm a few inches apart to change temperatures in opposite directions until their temperatures differed by 10 degree AND TO PRODUCE WIDELY DIFFERENT BRAIN WAVE PATTERNS AT WILL/ Source- Abnormal psychology, tenth edition, sarason and Sarason).
Moving on to the next proposition, "Living things are systems that tend to respond to changes in their environment, and inside themselves, in such a way as to promote their own continuation", which is similar in essence to the fourth statement , "The purpose of an individual’s (human or animal) life is to pass along genetic material to the next generation of the species (the most dangerous and erroneous of all the ideas proposed)", this is again at variance with mystic insights which see the primary purpose of human and animal life as ‘transcendental’ rather than ‘existential’ or ‘species propagation.’ All forms of individuated existence are confining and illusory limitations upon the infinite bliss of pure being. Hence the primary mystic urge, which may lie dormant for a while but must necessarily sprout out when the soul awakens is to give up the sheath of individuality and merge in the ineffable infinite bliss. Propagation of species is the propogation of mistaken individuality and hence against the crux of mysticism. A species such as human beings cannot be attained except through gross and confining karma. Hence to be the trap for the confinement of a superior entity into the human cage cannot be desirable and to be the engine which uplifts a lower subtle being to the human plane is not rewarding as such beings bring gross samskaras (innate karmic tendencies) with them. This is the reason that celibacy is emphasized in mystic traditions. The primary purpose of life is to transcend all limitations and merge into infinite bliss of pure being. Propagation of species is only of limited significance and may be altogether sublimated for the much higher end of merger into spirit.
Moving on to “The primary determinants of human and animal behaviour are genetic endowments( heredity) and external environment.” Mysticism sees the body-mind experience as the gross projection of subtle tendencies accumulated over repeated interaction with gross planes and termed ‘samskaras’. Genes are merely the gross imprints of samskaras. Karma has a genetic repercussion or is filtered through genes to create behavioural tendencies and life-situations most suited to the fulfillment of past samskara driven momentum. Free will is always active. Besides meditation can burn as well as modify samskaras and genetic structure. Such genetic mutations are consciously induced and have merger into infinite bliss of pure being as the motive.
"I think therefore I am (cogito ergo sum)." This can easily be nullified. Absolute cessation of thoughts with complete retention of profound consciousness is the primary purpose of meditation. Hence though-process of any kind is not at all necessary for existence. Indeed thoughts are created when gross vibrations vitiate the purity of being. Supreme bliss is always beyonf the realm of thoughts or even subtle vibration. The elementary experience of deep dreamless sleep when neither thoughts nor the awareness of existence remain is common to all. Even in the deepest sleep, bliss and well-being is experienced. Its shadow is the feeling of being ‘refreshed’ on waking up from deep sleep. Slight awakening during sleep is also highly pleasant for the mind is in abeyance during sleep and the self is its native bliss, though not outwardly conscious of it.
These were just examples to show the difference between mystic insights and scientific findings. It can safely be deduced that mysticism is beyond the domain of the six sense fields and hence any study or reasoning, however precise, which appears in any of the sense fields. Later, I will expound the bridge between the sense-fields and spirit through which consciousness can expand into its native blessed state.
Spirit and matter have nothing in common for matter is a mere appearance while spirit alone exists. Matter appears to be while spirit is pure being beyond any appearance. Consciousness is not a form of energy. It’s the pure being in which energy appears as a gross vibration. I do not want to needlessly complicate things but oversimplification is also a mistake, especially because clarity is profoundly important before any real progress in mysticism can be made. Whatever I express as arcane theory has as its primary foundation, my own , first hand experience and not any faith, dogma or belief. Indeed I had rejected all religious and spiritual traditions and their varied proponents before mysticism exploded in me. On a similar note, I want the reader to reject my proposition or atleast approach it with the sharpest doubt and profoundest suspicion unless and until mysticism actually and irrevocably explodes in the innermost recess of his being. Intellectual knowledge without experience is not only futile, but downright dangerous, for it deludes the scholar into an illusion of knowing. It’s like a non-swimmer, who reads five volumes on the art of swimming and plunges into the depths of a raging river ! He would still stand a chance because the books would really have somehting to say about how to keep the body afloat in water. However spiritual books cannot even help that much because the domain of spirit is ineffable and all analogies are false and useless.
Now, theory is fine but what is the way out? If senses and mind cannot know the bliss of spirit , what can one do except squeeze what momentary happiness he can from human life? The answer is anahata – the perennial bridge between the sense fields and the infinite bliss of pure being. ‘Anahat Nada’ is the royal highway to the domain of the blessed spirit. When consiousness becomes profound and centred on an inner target, say unconditional love, or a deity or breath, an audible vibration is heard initially somewhat similar to the buzzing of bees or the sound that sometimes emanates from high tension electricity wires. In higher stages, the sound resembles a flute, harp, gong-bell and a roaring ocean. The highest sound is the symphony of all these five sounds (buzzing of bees, flute, harp, gong-bell and a roaring ocean) and is known as the ‘Aum’ vibration. Before proceeding further , I must clarify two things – what anahata is, and how far have I experienced it so as to speak about it with confidence. That I am speakning about it is due to two factors, viz. my own experience with it and the experience of more than a dozen seekers whom I have personally met and with whom I have probed the experience at length. I am only a humble beginner and have not proceeded far, but the signs have been reassuring and encouraging. This coupled with the testimony of those who have advanced much farther than me and have blessed me with their personal guidance gives me the courage to share with you, this blessed path, which when found, the climax of human existence is attained and the door to incredible bliss opened , which paves the way to final and eternal self-realization.
That blissful consciousness has the character of an audible vibration which reverberates inside the skull has been elucidated in all religions of the world. Modern western psychology too talks about brain waves or neural rhythms which vary with different degrees of arousal (eg alpha waves for relaxed wakeful awareness with closed eyes). Western psychology pinpoints only the brain wave rhythms for the three states of consciousness known to ordinary human beings viz. waking state, dreaming state and deep dreamless state. The fourth state of pure consciousness with no body consciousness is known to all mystic traditions with varied names like turiya and santori. It is this state where meditation proper begins with a specific audible vibration which corresponds to frequencies of consciousness other than those which create the warp and woof of the human experience. Western psychologists have tried to control supposedly involuntary mechanisms like brain waves upto a certain extent through biofeedback. However such techniques fail once the gross body is transcended and with it ends the domain of modern western psychology. The experiences after the gross body consciousness has been transcended fall in the domain of mysticism proper and have been elucidated in all traditions in different parts of the world.
What then is anahata? The Bible calls it 'the Word' that existed before the creation of universes and was the creative force for everything that came into the realm of manifestation. Indeed, the Gospel of John, in the new testament, identifies it with God. The Vedas and Upanishadas call it Om , nada, shabda, mukhya prana ( the chief vital energy) and udgitha ( sound from above). Sufis and Muslim mystics call it 'qalma' or 'bang-i-illahi' ( voice of God). Nanak calls it 'shabad' or 'satnam' ( the true name). Greek mystics call it 'logos'. Elsewhere, it is referred as 'the comforter' and 'the Tao'. The anahata means 'the unstruck' Nada means sound or 'audible vibration.' The literal meaning of 'anahata nada' is the unstruck vibration.' All physical sounds are prouced by striking two objects against each other. For example air strikes the vocal chords to produce speech and drums are beaten by hand. Different from all physical sounds is the unstruck melody of divinity which is acausal and not the result of any gross(physical), subtle(mental) or causal action. A phrase which would enlighten its meaning a bit is 'audible wave of consciousness.It is the bridge between individuated consciousness and 'pure bliss of being.' Practice of 'anahata nada', otherwise known as 'Surat shabda yoga' ( union of individuated consciousness and audible life stream ) and 'yoga of sound and light' begins when the meditator can clearly hear the inner sound current which appears as an audible vibration somewhat resembling buzzing bees, flute, harp, gong-bells and a roaring ocean in progressively expanding spheres of consciousness.

3 comments:

KT The Fool said...

Aman,

what you say in this post and the previous one is a good clarification. True readers will understand. Others might think that you are arrogant. But who care's ?...

In silence...
KT

aman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aman said...

Well, the supreme path is not for everybody, atleast not at their current stage of evolution. However even if one seeker relates to it, my effort would be worthwhile. Besides, divergent and even contradictory views are also welcome as they challenge dogmas. About arrogance, i have mentioned my frailties and inconsistencies in other posts to reveal my all too human nature.