Yoga … Union.
It is indisputable that each one of us live life in the experience … that sight, taste, sound, touch and smell raise within us. How we feel with the sensation defines our experience of the world, the body, the vitality and the mind, in that moment. The experience is ours; we are the agent, the ego, who lives and categorise it as good or bad, happy or miserable and, by extension, judge that phenomenal object that we physically interacted with; or which stimulated our vital being, firing up an emotion; or that thought which sets our mental being up or down; or the realisation that clarifies our perspective or casts it in doubt.
Every experience is felt in the vitality. It either adds to the subconscious memory, if without an intellectual content, or gives a churn to our knowledge base that we are subsequently aware. There is a gradation of experience along the gross to subtle axis, between the material or the physical and the mental or spiritual. Human beings are denied a purely physical experience, like rain drops falling on the tree or a stone being eroded with flowing waters, because we have a developed nerve-brain system that offers passage for a two-way interaction between the physical and the mental. We feel the material in our vital being and have emotions expressive of our judgement and will about the felt experience.
Most emotions come into our mental frame and pass away. Happy feelings are without our greed for more. Ones that are pleasant or joyous obtain our preference, and the will to retain and add more of them in our lives. That will is in our vital being, if not always in our articulated thought, and has a future : happy or sad. Misery and unhappiness affect us in accord with our capacity to bear, skills actually that our emotion quotient reflects. Some raise a revulsion, and a will, that turns us into rebels, a lifelong activist, acause celebere. It is preceded by intense interaction within our subtle being, between our knowledge self and the vital-mental flared up being.
That how we are, as life goes. We are at the head of this subtle being inclusive of vital-mental and the intellectual self. It is subtle, invisible to others and often to ourself. Properly speaking, its constituents are : the five senses, not organs; the five-fold vitality – prana, apana, vyama, samana and udana; the four-fold mind – chitta, manas, buddhi and ahankara.
We are the subtle being, mostly unknown to others and usually in our own unawareness. Our relationship with other things and living beings brings out our subtle content the most, especially with ones we value or love. In the distance that time or our skill puts, they reveal us to ourself.
Our subtle being is our heaven and our hell. It is verily the “kshetra,” the action-experience field of individual consciousness that Bhagvad Gita describes. It is full of compulsions, on a massive viscous momentum from before. The force of inevitability it carries is best observed in animals, as indeed most of us humans are most of the time.
The subtle being never dies. It can only be transcended. That is scarce because the effort reuired to go against the flow, that momemntum from before, is herculean. The good news is that the effort can be summoned by everyone. But the commitment is ours : to choose a life of electable choice, starting with one.
“The knowledge of the Self shoud be heard of, queried about and meditated upon, until we are absorbed in it.”
But why ? Not many are drawn to the quest. The obvious immediacy of it being our very self seldom touches us enough to pull us back for even a short while from our heaving, sticky and viscous engagements in the world : livelihood, gratification, relationship, status and money-making. Let us look over the what of the subject than why.
The self is what we are; except that what and how the I-the-Self is only available in terms of thoughts and ideas we have of ourself … that form the beliefs we have of us, often, nay, invariably, on account of our association with material things, trees, animals or people that reflects our self through how they affect us, how in our interaction they daunt or encourage, attract or repel, accept or judge and reject us. It these experiences then in our memory and mind that overall spell the qualifying or defining features of the entity we are — the one our I identifies with, as distinct from others but very amenable to comparison and competition with those about us.
The experience and memory based method however yields a kowledge of our self that is very fluid; it is valid in the instant but no longer. Both the quantum of experience, live or recalled, and our perceived value of each is extremely limited and streaming. The entire set and the conclusion it offers changes in a momemt, and certainly over hours. It instantly mutates with the next affecting thought, action, exposure or experience. Which, in the context of our query, leaves us non-plussed : who or what or how indeed am I ? What criterion shall I invoke to tell myself : Yes, this is what I am !
One way to light at the end of the tunnel is to embrace the fact : one, I am I, and, two, every quality and definition I conclude about my self is mutable and hence has a very finite validity.
To overcome the inevitability, we need to take recourse to an exactly contrary method : remove all qualities and definitions one has about the self; in other words, look for the unconditioned and unqualified self !
With this resolve, we are ready to embark upon the path to Yoga. That summum bono is described as nothing most practitioners understand by the term, both in East and the west.
” Then, one attains his true self.”
And the immutable knowledge of the Self.
To be continued …
Meanwhile, the picture above schematically shows the four-fold path to recovery of our true being : Karma or action, Bhakti or love and devotion, Yoga or meditative experience, and Gyan or reason and inquiry. Some suggest that they are four separate ways, not four-fold as validated in my own limited experience. There is nothing to contradict here. The evidence rests with ourself.
The word is expressed as sound.
But the word is expressive of being, the presence that precedes the word.
The word is synonymous with what it signifies.
Sounding of the word varies from the elements, animals and humans. The air, water and fire make a range of sound, as do animals and human beings. Men in one time make sound for same word that is different from that which men of another time make. Similarly with location : people in one location have a sound for “water” that is different from that which people in another location have.
A convened, consensual form and arrangement of sounds, understandable by all in the community, is called a language. That system of sound and its association with what it signifies is reinforced through our schooling process in our respective location and time. It educates us and imparts to us the wherewithal to understand what we hear and express what we know – feelings, emotions, thought, idea, suggestion, opposition, call or realisation – in that language.
Revisiting the origin … the being, the presence signified by the word, is eternal, unalterable, ever a priori. As is the primordial word.
There is deluge of words in the world, our daily life, on the web, in our handsets, television and dailies, books and magazines, CDs and radios. They all come with meanings in the intent of the issuer, the speaker, singer or writer. And they lead to rise of meanings, essentially different more or less, in the receiving person, the reader or listener.
Our lives today are inundated with meanings, almost all of which are not our own, which trigger in us meanings that are specifically ours alone in almost every instance, different more or less from how it means to others.
Revisit the origin … the being, the presence signified by the word, which is eternal, unalterable, ever a priori. As is the primordial word.
That is the truth. This much is knowledge.
First Syllable, First Verse…
The first syllable of the Rig Veda, “Ak,” could be seen as containing the whole Rig Veda within itself. It represents the collapse of the continuum of flow of infinite wholeness to its own point. The “A” sound represents flow or continuum, and the “k” sound represents the stop, or collapse of the flow. This sound is actually the process of the infinite whole of consciousness collapsing to its point values. The line however continues …
अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवं रत्वीजम | होतारं रत्नधातमम ||
aghnimīḷe purohitaṃ yajñasya devaṃ ṛtvījam |
hotāraṃ ratnadhātamam ||
Griffith translates it as :
I Laud Agni,
The chosen Priest,
God, minister of sacrifice,
The Hotar, lavisher of wealth.
The traslation above is purely “Adhiyajñika“, in accord with Sayana’s commentary of 14th Century AD. It interprets the Vedic rik at ritual level, in terms of performance of works accompanying its utterance.
This however entirely misses the Ādhyātmika sense that the mantra includes at the spiritual and psychological level — in terms of being individual and universal, commonly signified with use of terms such as God, Heaven, etc.
And, lastly, there is always the Ādhidaivika, naturalistic or cosmological sense the reader or hearer obtains, pertaining to phenomenal creation and its laws observed in nature.
The unstrung Adhyatmika sense of the First Verse of Rig Veda, as included in the syllables, is furnished herebelow :
Agnim [Arc : to illuminate + Nī : to lead]
Īle [Īḍ : to praise, to glorify]
Purohitaṃ [Pṝ : full, complete, first
+ Hu : to sacrifice, to conduct]
Yajñasya [Yaj : to exalt, to offer]
Devam [Div(u) : to shine with power]
Ṛtvijaṃ [Ṛ : to guide rightly, to steer
+ Vij : to arouse, to strengthen]
Hotāraṃ [(1) Hve : to call;
(2) Hu : to sacrifice, conduct]
Ratna [Ram : to be or make content, to please]
Dhātamaṃ [(1) Dhā: to put, to order, to set in place;
(2) Dhṛ: to hold, to sustain]
Left unstrung, the sense which arises with utterance of the syllables, alongwith their signified meaning, would fill the heart and intellect in accord with one’s own age, exposure and acquired sagacity, leaving the individual with his own nebulous experience overall. It would clarify with practice, as the mind would string the parts up and comprehend their second order phonelogical and etymological origins.
One such Adhyatmika translation would perhaps read thus :
Let us Praise the Prime Illuminator
Who lights up all and enlightens;
The Supreme who offers all
Whose exalted act
At first offered all in creation;
Who gloriously shines of own power
Who vests strength in each to arise;
Who rightly guides and steers all
With the call to our being
To be, to be blissful and content;
And sets us each to order
In our own respective place.
The material or naturalistic is not attempted here for want of context.
In line with the spiritual sense offered above, the first syllable of the Rig Veda is elaborated and commented on in the first 24 richa (verses), which are further elaborated in the corresponding 24 pada (phrases) of the next eight richa, giving 192 meaning of the syllable Ak or [Arc]. These all emerge from the 24 sandhi(gaps) of the first richa. From the 192 gaps between the 192 akshara (syllables) of richa 2-9, emerge the 192 suktas of the First Mandala of the Rig Veda.
The 192 sandhi between the 192 suktas of the first Mandala give rise to the 192 suktas of the Tenth Mandala, a circular structure that precisely fills the gaps of the First Mandala. Similarly, the gaps between the nine richas of the first sukta are elaborated in Mandala 2-9 of Rig Veda, unfolding the total Rig Veda with all its ten Mandalas.
The whole of the Rig Veda has therefore a marvelous and intricately interwoven structure that is beyond the capacity of the human mind to create. It was not created, but cognised by the seers of ancient India. This is part of the reason that seers recognise the tradition and agree that the Veda and the Vedic literature is “eternal” or uncreated.
The Hindu way to God is the way to his own truth. They are the only people I know of who will see an idol, or any other physical symbol of faith, and will travel the distance within themselves to that which the idol or the symbol signifies.
Here is a perspective to how their “realised” concepts along the ephemeral, their being and the eternal or the supreme truth is structured.
There is us, our being, and we are conscious of it. There are functions within the being, the body and mind, and there are activities we perform with them as instruments. That is our life, from birth through death. Once in a while, usually after a long long spell, we come across someone who is still, silent, without any involvement of the mind and any engagement of the body, who points to our Self and recommends that we know It, our very self :
Knowing the Self is being the Self ... and being means existence, one's own existence. Untill then we know only our motivations and the actions that proceed with it. It leads to much possession, relationship, experience and knowledge of things – and to forming of the idea we have of ourself and others. But it does not do one bit to how we are caught up in the unceasing cycle between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Our dissatisfactions stress us, often enormously. Satisfaction offers respite, frees us from our own motivation and intent; but only for a while. Our next dissatisfactions is already on the way. We can almost hear its farway steps from how our motivation and the next intent creeps in and covers us with its directives.No one denies one's existence any more than one denies one's eyes, although one cannot see them. The trouble lies with our desire to objectify the Self, in the same way as we objectify our eyes when we place a mirror before us. We have become so accustomed to objectivity that we have lost the knowledge of our self, simply because the Self cannot be objectified.
There is only one, immutable and unconditioned Self, consciousness pure, which is our “vanilla” truth. All else, yes, in plural, are forms with attributes that come alive, and seemingly be the “conditioned” selves signified in the term “ego.” The ego differentiates itself from its truth at its source, because of the form and its attributes. It is a form of the Self.
The unconditioned, undifferentiated Self is neither manifest nor unmanifest. Nature, also termed as primodial nescience, is the limitless energy associated with the Self, as heat is with fire and illumination is the very nature of light. Nature is the Unmanifest that is never seen or known; it is only deduced from its manifest effects. This Unmanifest is the First Cause of entire creation, each individual and entity, on account of knowledge of their respective “form” and attributes Nature pre-includes. The Self is unblemished of any causal impression or manifest effect.
God, Soul or Atman; Nescience, Chitta and Mahat
The manifestation of every living individual initiates with its first, subtle-most form in Nature – the causal sheath, the formed knowledge of “I am,” which consciousness is a formed of the attribute of causal sheath. There is an inevitable, concimitant “bliss” attribute associated with the causal sheath, which consciousness inescapably descends into multiplicity of beingness, reflecting with “what else.”
Viewing the process in slow motion, the individual consciousness at the origin, with the causal sheath is yet undifferentiated and infinitely blissful, conscious of itself alone. It is One, common to all creation and individual beings, and is variously referred to as “God” or “Soul” or “Atman.” It is Pure Consciousness that is self-aware, untouched by Chitta.
It is the “I am” consciousness of God, Soul or Atman, that auto-effuses individual Chitta – the mindstuff — to bring the latent Karma impressions embedded in triggers the rise of the form of individual “I am so and so” consciousness. This individuation of consciousness is known as the phenomenal “Primordial Nescience.” With this process, the differentiation of consciousness is complete, accompanied with total forgetfulness of its infinite-undifferentiated origin. Not yet cast in the attributes other subtle and mental finite forms of ego-being, the I covered in Nescience is termed as Mahat.
Individual Ahankara or Ego Forms
The individual being’s Chitta is the subtle karmic body of the Mahat, together reffered to as the mindstuff … the unfathomable mother base in and of which all subtle forms of individual phenomena rise and set. It comes coded with the entity’s Karma impressions to facilitate rise of ego sense, intellectual being, mental phenomena, vital charge, and physical form.
To review :
The cause is subtle and pervasive than the effect.
Pure Consciousness is absolutely subtle and infinetely pervasive.
God, Soul or Atman exists as a consequence of the causal sheath being pervaded by Pure Consciousness.
The Individual being originates with the Chitta being pervaded by the Soul.
The being arising with each pervasion has nothing to do with the cause : it is a result of the attribute embedded in the form.
The Chitta – Mahat duo releases and supports the individual vital energy to script the sense and physiological organs, and form the body, connecting the individual consciousness with its material environment, and with beings and entities in it.
The subtle world of a human being follows an order along two parallel streams that may not always be evident to everyone.
The individual – ego – I “agent” being identifies with intellect function of the Chtta; so it knows.
The “agent – I” being prevaricates, thinks, as the mind function of the Chitta; to clarify its doubt.
The The individual – ego – I “agent” being identifies with th vital functions and it perceives, feels, emotes, wills and acts.
The Soul is the witness consciousness constantly overlooking the agent being identified with the intellect.
Mahat is the dreamer, looking at the agent being’s dream-like desire – will – thought world gathered and encoded in the Chitta, and projected in the mind.
The individual agent being is saddled with two inadequacies evident
in (1) ineffectiveness of its will
and (2) finiteness of its knowledge.
The entire human world order is built up or destroyed by people driven in the wake of these inadequacies.