Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three Monks

Shankar : Brethren, this debate which I am having with you exists only as an appearance in the sphere of individuated consciousness. The consciousness which pervades the phenomenal universes is one unified essence. The first dream is of my being Shankar and the projection of that dream is your being Ramanuj and Madhav in the primary dream of the imaginary being conveniently named ‘Shankar’. The consciousness within which the unitary essence appears as three distinct individuals having a heated discussion on the fundamental nature of being is holistic.

Madhav : You are engaged in a cunning play with words! How can the object ever be perceived unless it has an existence, distinct from the perceiver? I see food and eat it to sate my hunger. If I, the food and the process of eating are one and the same, I should be just as happy without having to eat the food. That , however, would lead to hunger and ultimately starvation. If you consider reality to be unified, whu don’t you eat burning coals instead of cooked rice?

Shankar : Brother, give me burning coals and I would eat them for they are That. And I am That!

Madhav : You may have some special yogic power to digest what is inedible for the common populace. Yet, that doesn’t apply to the multitude. Besides such a trick can hardly be ground for inferring the unity of the perceiver and the perceived. If you are what I too am, why don’t you express vedantic aphorisms through my mouth
? I challenge you to do that. It is my distinct personality which allows me to have a differential grasp on the perceived world.

Shankar : I would say you are that part of my being, which is still ignorant of its fundamental nature!

Madhav : How impertinent!

Ramanuj : Venerable Shankar, how do you account for the deep devotion which the soul naturally feels for a perfect personal God. Can such a pure emotion arise for an imaginary being? A Supreme being of perfect divinity would be necessary for inspiring such love.

Shankar : The love is the natural desire of the ‘individuated’ to merge into its true unified essence. No external being can ever inspire my love. A lover loves his beloved for he sees his own essence in her, he loves her for differential expression of his own intimate essence.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


One of the causes for the emergence of the universe cited in Indian philosophy is ‘Avidya’ or cosmic ignorance. It seems some thinkers speculated or got the meditation-inspired insight that the cosmos is a mere ‘appearance’ which has its being in the deep ignorance which created the notion of multiplicity through the sense of ‘ego’ or individuated existence. Such a rupture in the ‘unified’ consciousness led to the emergence of an infinity of worlds with numerous beings inhabiting them, through a causal chain of karma. While it has been described in a variety of shades, karma can be seen as some kind of action in which consciousness is entwined through an ignorant identification with ‘individuated being’. Such an action is a link in an almost infinite causal chain which sustains the appearance of individuated existence. The idea is that the sense of being distinct from the world at large gives a plethora of experiences to the emergent ‘subject of experience’ but also constrains the said subject by creating a false yet binding barrier between it and existence at large. An analogy which the proponents of ‘pure non-dualism’ or nirguna advaita give to explain their assertion of the truth of unity beneath the perceived multiplicity is the dream experience. Just as in a dream, a man sees himself with, say, a beautiful princess, surrounded by numerous attendants and under a dark sky with countless stars, yet finds on waking up that he alone is real while the stars, princess and countless attendants were all projections of his own consciousness, similarly the universe with an infinity of beings is the projection of pure consciousness. Here, a subtle but crucial difference between the advaita view of pure consciousness and the dream analogy is that while the dreamer is a unified individual, the consciousness in which the cosmic dream appears is impersonal, though personality appears as the first begotten son. To clarify, the infinite is beyond the distinctions of subject and object. However, as the manifest cosmos appears from the unmanifest essence, the sovereign ruler of the manifest also simulataneously appears as the “Ishvara”. Here, Ishvara( literally, the ruler) is the cosmic personality or the divine transcendental Super-Self. While individual souls can pray to God and be recipient of His abundant bounty, they must necessary transcend God to be liberated beyond the trap of duality. Thus the Godhead is a stage of realization, not its consummation. The God that appears in ignorance is the God of ignorance and hence must be dissolved through the deepest triumph of meditation. And beyond ignorance, there is neither a God nor any devotee.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ink vapors

Who writes a poem on a printed page?

Let my tears wipe off all that my past has written.

And let the ink vaporize into the blessed ether.

And the white paper fly way beyond all horizons.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


That which existence blesses with being has a raw potency which no glassy ideology can ever weaken. . For logic is the shadow of reality. Logic is created as a figurative interpretation for the possible which has the existent as its most manifest evidence.
Population is rising. AIDS is spreading. Bigotry and grossly vulgarized ‘religious’ nonsense is being openly propagated. That pollution is happening is the license for its propagation. That which happens finds its own logic Frost saw the world ending either in the fire of heedless passion or the ice of indifference. While ecologists are crouching under the fear of global warming, it’s the ice of cowardly apathy which causes the rising temperature. We, the ‘educated’ people, the ‘intelligentsia’, are happy in our abstract ivory towers while environment is being defiled, terrorism bred and gross inequalities celebrated by the naked display of filthy lucre. To see the obviously harmful and remain a moot spectator is to garnish the evil recipe. What makes a health-conscious individual to bear passive smoking in a crowded bus or a University student to be silent while dry leaves and trash are burnt in the campus, openly polluting the very air he breathes?
To cut through the momentum of evil which gains its potency through an ever-widening vertex of spread requires the most determined and steadfast effort which should have as its origin a power which has roots much deeper than the conviction of its truth. Evil is an integral part of every philosophy which has its origin in the fecund mud of this earth. Virtue needs the conception of evil for its functional definition. When the idea of bad doesn’t exist, the dream of the good too vanishes. Yet the human inside us strives for the absolute splendor of pure bliss. When such purity is deemed ‘uncontaminated’, the idea that pollution exists and is so potent AS TO BE THE KEY IN DEFINING THE ABSOLUTE ( THROUGH ITS ABSENCE) is not far to seek.