Saturday, March 08, 2014

Deep in the Depths of Datta

“Becoming is the state of not knowing—ignorance; Being is Realization—Knowledge.
“Unless one is imprisoned, one cannot appreciate freedom. A fish born in water lives in water; it cannot realize water.
“When it comes out of water it goes back into water and knows the water.”—Meher Baba, Lord Meher

“Guru Brahma,
Guru Vishnu,
Guru Devo Maheshvara,
Guru Sakshat Para-Brahma,
Tasmai Sri Gurave namaha.” —The Guru Mantra – recited every Thursday (Guru Day)

(to) Guru Brahma (the Creator of creation),
(to) Guru Vishnu (the Preserver—Sustainer—of creation),
(to) Guru Devo Maheshvara (Mahesh—Shiva—the Destroyer—the Dissolver—of creation—of ignorance),
(to) Guru Sakshat Para-Brahma (Lord Dattatreiya—the Synthesis of the Three—and Para-Brahma—the One who is beyond the Three also),
to that Guru, I offer my salutation.—interpretation of the Guru Mantra

Ishwar is the name given to that aspect of Infinite Intelligence who as Brahma creates, as Vishnu preserves, and as Mahesh destroys. Ishwar, acting in the domain of imagination, is the source of infinite form, yet He remains formless and infinite. Ishwar never experiences nor realizes what He creates, and remains unconscious of Self. Another name for Ishwar is Infinite Mind.

Though referred to as He, Ishwar is clearly a name given to a non-conscious mechanism, rather than a conscious, or unconscious, or super-conscious soul. How to understand this? You go to sleep having experienced waking consciousness. Then, dream consciousness pervades before, and after, the deep-sleep state.

The dream state is generally not experienced before the deep - sleep state, yet it is there. But, what is experienced in both is the dream and not the dreamer. The one who creates, the one who sustains, and the one who destroys our dreams is our Ishwar—our Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh—but experience tell us that we are not aware of our Ishwar, only that which our Ishwar creates, preserves, and destroys.

We are not aware of the dreamer, only the dream, even though the dreamer is some part of ourselves. What in us keeps our heart beating, our breath moving in and out? Whatever it is, it is not another person, but just some function of ours—as Ishwar is to Paramatma, to Jiv-atma, and Shiv-atma also.

But the teachings tell us that long, long, ago it so happened that Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, incarnated as a single divine human being. The name of that being is Lord Dattatreya, the subject of this new series of posts.

Lord Dattatreya is known all over India and worshiped in at least ten different languages all over India. He is sometimes depicted with three heads, perhaps symbolizing the union of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in a single incarnation. He is considered by some to be an Avatar of Shiva, by others to be an Avatar of Vishnu, and by still others to be an Avatar of both.

Stories abound of the details of his birth, his life, his travels and his teachings. He is often depicted accompanied by four dogs, believed by many to represent the four sacred Vedas of the Vedic tradition.

Much is known about Lord Dattatreya, but there is a big difference between knowing about something and knowing something. Knowing about something is not uncommon, but knowing something is more uncommon. No doubt, knowing about God and God’s Avatars is a precious and priceless gift, but knowing God, directly experiencing God, this is a gift of a whole other level. And who knows God in this way? The God-Realized Masters.

Upasani Maharaj was a twentieth-century Perfect Master who established his ashram in Sakori, India in the early nineteen-hundreds, and, for a while, gave talks to those who, convinced of His spiritual perfection, would gather in his presence. It was those talks, always delivered extemporaneously, that were written down and later published under the title of The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaj.  Readers of my blog, Embedded with the Kali Yuga, know that I have relied heavily on these priceless, precious talks, for the insight and spiritual authority that they embody.

On the twenty-fourth of October in the year nineteen twenty-four, Upasani Maharaj gave a talk that was later titled, The How and Why of the Datta Incarnation. He began by saying, “Every day, now-a-days, I decide not to speak: but it does not happen; what can I do? All of you have something or other, the virtues or the vices, and as you come to me, they come to me—in other words, you teach me; you make me speak your thoughts. Both the virtues and the vices of yours are helpful. One can praise the virtues only by condemning the vices, meaning thereby, that one can talk about virtues only on the support of the vices and, as such, the vices have to be taken as of greater importance.”

There are two things here that I find significant, one that affirms other statements by Upasani Maharaj to the effect that Perfect Masters are without desires and in and of themselves are action-less. A Perfect Master is like a perfectly clean mirror that reflects others to themselves. Upasani would sometimes say, “You see me abuse some who come here, while others I am seen to praise. You ask as to why I treat some one way and some another, but the truth is that I neither abuse or praise on my own initiative. I am a mirror, and only reflect that which is held-up in front of me. When I am seen to abuse, it is your own vices that are being reflected back to you, and when I praise, that too is but your own virtues being reflected back to you.”  

Being a musician and a teacher of music, many people come to my house in which there are a number of pictures of Meher Baba. It is interesting to me that few people ever comment or ask about the man in the pictures—even after coming here for many years—while from others who do say something, I  have heard comments like, “Oh, Albert Einstein,”  or, “Is that Frank Zappa?”

Of course, not only are the Perfect Masters mirrors, we are all mirrors too. When we look at each other, we are really looking at ourselves, but the difference between us and the Perfect Masters, is that they are perfect mirrors, while we are distorted mirrors—like the mirrors at a fun-house. I distort your image because my own impressions (sanskaras) become part of your reflection, but the Perfect Masters are free of sanskaras and therefore reflect an accurate image—free of any taint or distortion. 

The second thing I find so interesting about Upasani’s statement is the importance he gives to the vices with regard to recognizing the virtues. Both vices and virtues are part of the same scene. In music, we recognize that good music has both consonance and dissonance. Wholly consonant music would become intolerably boring and wholly dissonant music would be intolerably painful. But when consonance and dissonance are combined by a master composer, a masterpiece can be created that perfectly reflects both the universe and the soul’s longing for the Eternal Bliss that is ever-existent beyond time. To know virtue, we have to know vice, and as Meher Baba says, to experience reality we must first experience illusion. Nothing is essential to Everything and Everything is dependent on Nothing. Meher Baba’s dedication to his book, God Speaks, puts it very well: “To the Universe, the Illusion that sustains Reality.”

We began with a discussion of Lord Dattatreya and it might seem that Upasani’s remarks to his listeners regarding virtue and vice were just some off-hand comments, but, of course, this is not the case—the ways and words of the Masters are subtle and never to be taken lightly, “Let those who have ears, hear!”—for, in fact, the relationship between the sources of virtue and vice, between reality and illusion, goes to the very meaning of the Lord Dattatreya incarnation.

In his talk, Upasani Maharaj goes on to say that the full-moon day of the ninth month of the Hindu calendar—that very day on which he began to speak about Lord Dattatreya—was the birthday of Lord Dattatreya whom he called “Shri Datta.”

“Today is the full-moon day of Margashirsha (the ninth month of the Hindu calendar) the birthday of Shri Datta. On this day generally the moon is in Mriga Shirsha, and one has to understand the significance of that word. The word Shirsha means the head. Now, what is meant by the word head? ‘Head’ is that in which lies what we have to find out, or rather, what we seem to have lost. What we have lost due to our mistake is contained in the head. Now what is it that we have lost due to our mistake? It is the means of attaining that highest—the Bliss— that is contained in the head.

“It can be said that our mistake forms the covering over that means of Bliss and this covering renders it invisible to us—or that in the pot formed by our mistake is contained the means of Bliss—or that our mistake and the means of Bliss together are contained in our head. It means the one who experienced both the means of Bliss and his mistake-form-covering over it—or the time when he does it—or the occurrence that makes him do it—or the means with which he does it—is called Margashirsha—or it could be said that the one who found out his mistake and thence does not commit the mistake—or who well-experienced his mistake and the of Bliss covered by it—and who no more is caught or mislead by that mistake is the Marga Shirsha.

“It means that the one who understood well both the mistake—the covering—and the means to attain the Bliss underlying it—who found out that means through his mistake, or rather with the help of his mistake, and having done so does not do away with or destroy that mistake, and yet does not commit that mistake again, is Margashirsha.

“It is the mistake—the unwariness—the forgetfulness—that covers the means, and as such that means has to be or can only be obtained with the help of that unwariness—that forgetfulness—i.e. the mistake.” – The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja (Volume III)

This explains so much to me—why creation is essential for sleeping God to awaken and experience Himself; why that creation by its very nature has to appear opposite to the nature of God i.e. transitory and dualistic as opposed to eternal and singular, and a battle ground of suffering and pain as opposed to Bliss; and why Meher Baba’s tells us that the soul’s first experience of consciousness is most, most, opposite to the Reality of itself.

“Simultaneously with reverberations of the first urge, the most gross first impression emerged, objectifying the soul as the most absolute opposite and most finite gross counterpart of the Infinite.”

Upasani Maharaj gives a name to the means of Bliss and a name and purpose to the unwariness that covers it;

“If that means of Bliss is named as Brahma, then the unwariness that covers it shall have to be named as Maya. The Shastras—the Vedanta—always advise to do away with Maya. I say to them that is alright; do it; but can anyone ever destroy Maya? If the Maya is removed, then the means of Bliss also will be automatically removed. This means that the Maya—the unwariness—is extremely essential for the purpose of attaining the Bliss… In short, the one who knows—who understands—both the unwariness and the Bliss under-lying it is called Margashirsha.

“Now who has reached such a state of knowing both of them well?”

We ended the last post with the Upasani’s question; “Now who has reached such a state of knowing both of them well?”  Who experiences God and creation, Reality and illusion, the Wine and the glass? Upasani Maharaj explains;

“It was Shri Krishna; that is why He has said, ‘Masanam Margashirshoham…’ (Gita, Canto 10). If we possess the container then we can at any time have the milk; in the same way, if one well-possesses the unwariness, then that means of Bliss can any time be collected. This unwariness, the Maya, however is very tricky—very powerful by nature. She has been seen to mislead even the all-powerful deities like Vishnu and Shankara. That is why the Satpurushas—literally those incarnate souls who possess the state of All-knowing—Perfect Masters—play a trick; they themselves form (become) that container—that Maya—and with this the question of ever being misled by her never arises and thus they remain eternally in contact with that means of Bliss. The Satpurusha thus, is both the container and the contained—that is where the greatness of the Satpurusha lies.”

In other words, the wine itself becomes the wine glass, and therefore, between the wine and the wine glass, no distinction exists. How incredible is that! Usually, the wine is different than the wine glass—did not Gurdjieff and others say the same thing? “There is a difference between the wine and the glass, never mistake the one for the other.” But, the wine glass this statement refers to are the religions, the teachings, and the teachers, but not the Avatar and the Perfect Masters who transcend duality and are Oneness itself. As Upasani Maharaj said, “…that is where the greatness of the Satpurusha lies.”

My readers, friends, brother and sisters in love, do you want this wine, do you want a taste? This is what Upasani Maharaj was referring to when he spoke of the Bhagavad Gita Canto 10. Krishna said:

“Who sees Me, Lord of the Worlds, with faith-enlightened eyes, unborn, undying, unbegun. Whatever natures be to mortal men distributed, those natures spring from Me!
“Intellect, skill, enlightenment, endurance, self-control, truthfulness, equability, and grief or joy of soul, and birth and death, and fearfulness, and fearlessness, and shame, and honor, and sweet harmlessness, and peace which is the same—whatever befalls—and mirth, and tears, and piety, and thrift, and wish to give, and will to help—all cometh of my Gift!..

“Where-from who comprehends My Reign of mystic Majesty—that truth of truths—is thenceforth linked in faultless faith to Me:

“Yea! Knowing Me the source of all, by Me all creatures wrought, the wise in spirit cleave to Me, into My being brought:

“Hearts fixed on Me; breaths breathed to Me; praising Me, each to each, so have they happiness and peace, with pious thought and speech:

“And unto these—thus serving well, thus loving ceaselessly—I give a mind of perfect mood, whereby they draw to Me:

“And all for love of them, within their darkened souls I dwell, and with bright rays of wisdom’s lamp, their ignorance dispel!”

To summarize, there are three elements in this equation, the Bliss which is the Source and the Goal, the unwariness which could be called the state of forgetfulness of the Bliss—the state in which Maya is active—and the container in which is contained both the Bliss and the unwariness. Now both the Bliss and the unwariness—the Maya—are eternal and infinite. In the points given by Meher Baba to Bhau Kalchuri, Meher Baba states that Maya and her seven children—lust, anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, and pride—were present—were existing—even before creation. The one element in the equation that is not infinite and eternal is the container—the wine glass—the head. Upasani, in referring to the container, says;

“…after all, it is a container and as such is bound to give way—bound to break—bound to crack—some time or other; and the one whose container has cracked, begins to explain—to expose—to all others all the secret processes, principles, and thoughts, etc.”

In other words, when the container cracks, the infinite and the eternal—the Bliss—the Wine—spills out, and all those around the One whose container is cracked, gets splashed—soaked—in Knowledge and Bliss, and for a moment, for that moment, like the cloth dipped in the dye, emerges saturated in color. But, also, like when the cloth dipped in the dye is pulled out of the dye and hung in light of the sun—the Maya—the unwariness—begins to bleach away all of the color so that nearly all of the color is faded away—nearly all, but not all, for some atoms of color remain which over time, with more and more dipping and drying and dipping and drying, builds up and  becomes fast and impervious to the sun, so the Bliss becomes eternal and infinite and impervious to Maya.

The container that contains the Bliss gets broken and in time and in also, in time, the container gets reunited. Why? Because, time does not exist—except in illusion which is the creation of Maya. Here, Upasani is speaking about the relationship between Bliss, and Kala (Time), and Maya:

It was because of ‘Time’ that the container gave way; and so it is with ‘Time’  that it has to be united; it means that the unwariness—the Maya—and the Kala have to be brought together; and they are, in fact, always together. For, just as the Maya exists on the support of that means to Bliss—the unwariness—the Kala also exists on the support of that means to Bliss. In other words, the Maya and the Kala are also dependent on each other.”

So, the power of Maya, that sorceress who can make illusion appear to be real, is dependent upon ‘Time’ and ‘Time’ is also dependent upon Maya for the illusion of its apparent reality. In time and because of ‘Time’, the container gets broken, and then in time and because of ‘Time’, the container gets re-united. Upasani says;

“The broken container gets united during the time between the 14th and the 15th day of the bright half of the month of Margashirsha, and if a suitable person is present at that time, he can watch and thus understand the process of union—exactly like a potter watches the making of a pot.”

But who can watch? Who is privy to watch this action?  And, is it a secret? The answer is that there is no secret, anyone who is qualified can watch. But who is qualified? The answer is that anyone who desires to watch this ‘secret’ process can watch, but they have to desire to watch more than they desire to follow their interests in the allurements and enticements of Maya.

Upasani reminds us that Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh “deal with—control—the whole world. But this world is nothing else but the result of that unwariness (the state of forgetfulness of the Bliss), and all three of them have to do their duty—their work—within the unwariness, and they do so without losing sight of it; but if, by chance, they forget, then this period (between the 14th and the 15th day of the bright half of the month of Margashirsha) at once makes them remember it; revises their knowledge of it.”

In other words, even the great Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh can get enticed and caught by creation—their creation—like the average person gets enticed and caught in the dreams they create in both the sleeping and awake states. An interesting question is suggested; is it the dream or is it Maya’s powers that cause the state of unwariness—the state in which the Bliss is forgotten? Does not the movie make us laugh and cry only after we forget that we are watching a movie?

And so, “The Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh were dealing with the world and were enjoying the Bliss lying within it; but they were lured by the unwariness and were caught in the grip of Entice—the Moha (a state of delusion—not knowing what to do—a state of being deeply clouded, in which the mind is not clear); they desired to have Anasuya.”

Anasuya, who is she?

Anasuya was the wife of Atri. Atri, a son of Brahma, was a great Indian sage whose stories can be found in such epic sagas as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He is said to be the progenitor of our present race of humanity.  Anasuya was very pious, free of all envy and jealousy, and a practitioner of austerities and devotions which gave her miraculous powers.

Upasani continues;

“The moment that Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh were enticed by the unwariness, they approached Anasuya with a begging bowl, but this could be interpreted in a different way; they came to beg at Anasuya’s place to confront the unwariness in order to be able to continue their work of creating, maintaining, and dissolving the world—creation.”

In fact, I have puzzled over this last statement and the form that I have given it here could be considered an interpretation of the statement as it appears in the English version of Upasani’s talks.  Here is how it actually appears: “This could be interpreted in another way; they were able to deal with the world due to the unwariness and to be able to continue that they came to beg at Anasuya’s place.”

Upasani continues;

“She (Anasuya) was a great woman; she was the embodiment of that which remains contained in the container of unwariness.”  In other words, she was the embodiment of the Bliss.  “Thus, when they came to beg at the door of Anasuya, the mistake of being lured by that unwariness committed by them was corrected and they got the means of Bliss from her resulting in the incarnation of Datta.

“I will cite an example to understand this better. When an implement becomes useless by constant usage, we take it to the blacksmith who puts it in the furnace to turn it into a soft lump and then fashions out of the lump the same implement once again. In the same way, when Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh found the implement of dealing with the world to have become blunt and hence useless, to get it repaired—remade—they came to beg of Anasuya.

“They had approached Anasuya when they were lured by the unwariness, and hence when they approached her for alms, they asked her to give them the alms after first becoming nude. After all, she was the wife of the great Atri Rishi and along with him she too had attained the state of Brahma. The moment that she heard their request she realized that they had also attained the state of Brahma and were fully detached even while working as the Creator, Protector, and destroyer of the world, and hence she disrobed and gave them the alms as requested.”

And so the moment they received the alms at her hands two things happened; the lure of unwariness just disappeared and a new being, recognized as Anasuya’s son appeared, Sri Dattatreya.

“The three of them were lured by the unwariness, they had forgotten about their head; and it was in this period that they once again remembered their head and the means of Bliss lying within the cover of unwariness and with its help they realized themselves due to the state of Datta; and it is this realization that is called the incarnation of Datta.”

It’s a deep and complex story—actually a story with a story. But, what does it mean and what can we learn from it? Questions, the right questions, are more important than answers. Questions open us to new possibilities, they have energy. Answers kill questions; they turn the energy off. By pondering stories such as “The How and Why of the ‘Datta’ Incarnation,” what questions arise and where do they lead us? Are we led to consider the source and meaning of creation and it relationship to the Eternal? And by extension, do we gain understanding our own place in the story, and our own existence as creator, preserver, and destroyer of our lives in illusion and the Reality that can only be achieved through it—the Illusion that sustains Reality?

“Grandfather, may I join you?”

“Of course my dear, would you like some tea?”

“Yes, shall I fetch a cup from the house?”

“Not necessary my dear, I have a second cup here.”

“Grandfather, were you expecting a guest?”

“No, but I am always prepared. Today the cup is for you.”

“Grandfather, what were you doing when I walked into the garden?”

“I was being entertained by the garden. So many different and beautiful birds flittering from tree to tree—singing their songs, the movements of the clouds in the sky—changing their shapes, plants and shrubs with new-born flowers of every color and shape, the olive tree, the little pond and the gurgling fountain… My dear, do you ever wonder what people find so interesting in their little boxes of flickering lights?”

“You mean televisions and computers?”

“Yes, the allurement is puzzling to me. Watching the illusion of people on the screen—how big are they?”

“How big? I imagine that they are normal size people.”

“But if you measured them on the screen they would only be a few inches in size. Yet the mind accepts it and can even convince itself that the images of people and things depicted on the screens are real. After a while, the mind begins to lose the distinction between people it actually knows and those little images on the screen. We imagine that we know, for example, the president of the country, or the actor portraying the president of the country, but do we really know them, have we ever met them, interacted with them, felt them, smelled them, seen them move in three dimensional space?  Yet people fail to make those distinctions and remain satisfied with illusion.”

“But grandfather, both you and the masters have always told us that it is all an illusion, even this garden and the birds, and the sky. If this is an illusion as well, then does it make any difference whether we are entertained by the garden or the television?”

“Yes, that is a question we all have to answer for ourselves. For me, it begins with trying to remember that illusion in any form is not reality and that I need to cultivate the ability to control my mind and be able to choose what objects or subject, or themes, to dwell—recognizing that dwelling on some things brings suffering, while dwelling on other things brings pleasure, and dwelling on the eternal and the infinite brings freedom from the opposites of both suffering and pleasure.”

“And grandfather, can you tell me the subjects that bring you the most happiness?”

“First and most is the name and form of Avatar Meher Baba. That form is the embodiment of Avataric consciousness; it is the alpha and the omega and that which is beyond the alpha and the omega. That form is the embodiment of love and the personal expression of God’s love for His creation—for Himself as creation. I also love the prayers that He has given us; they are like water to a thirsty heart, while His teachings and explanations assuage the tumult of a mind still too immersed in illusion.

“My dear, it also brings me great happiness to be with others, other like yourself, who wish to talk about the Beloved and share their personal stories of coming to Him. Contemplating nature brings me joy also, and listening to music which expresses in the language of sound the same divine laws that create, preserve, and dissolve the worlds and all and everything within them.”

“Grandfather, this leads me to a further question as to why one person prefers and chooses one thing over another and if that choice is even a real choice or merely a matter of each individual’s unique sanskaras.”

“Yes, my dear, it does all come down to that. It is all a matter of sanskaras and that is why what Meher Baba has revealed to us about the spending of sanskaras is so important. Meher Baba tells us that the spending of sanskaras is really the exchanging or trading of one sanskara for another. Let us say that an individual has a certain number of sanskaras.

“The spending of sanskaras doesn’t mean that the number of sanskaras diminishes; instead, it means that by exchanging one sanskara for another, the quality, or level, of the over-all matrix of the sanskaras changes. It is like dirt that has accumulated on a mirror. In order to clean the mirror, one first has to loosen the dirt that is adhered to the mirror.

“The loosening of the dirt is the spending of the sanskaras. Once the dirt is sufficiently loosened, then it can be removed. The removal of the sanskaras, the changing of the over-all number of sanskaras, is the work of what Baba calls involution. Between the stages called reincarnation and involution is the state of Hawa. Meher Baba revealed to us that Hawa is the state of an individual who is very close to the path of involution, but not yet on it.”

“Thank you grandfather, that is very helpful, but now I have another question for you, perhaps a few a questions, that have arisen in me as a result of reading question the most recent postings of your dear friend who writes the blog called Embedded with the Kali Yuga.

“Ah yes, the posts called Deep in the Depths of Datta.

“Yes, that is it. I know you know well the story of Shri Dattatreya as explained by Upasani Maharaj. So grandfather, my first question is this; in the story all the characters seem to be, or to have been, real people like Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, and like Shri Dattatreya, Atri Rishi, and Anasuya. Is this true?”

“Yes, my dear, this is one of the challenges of Upasani Maharaj’s explanation. Now think about what you said when you called them “real people.” In this lies the challenge, for we can never forget that the world and its people are not real at all, and that the Reality of the Masters is something quite different. For them the distinctions that we make between imagination and reality, birth and death, good and bad, etc. do not exist at all. For the masters, it is all about the states of consciousness and how these states conform or do not conform to the ultimate Goal and experience of Reality.”

“And so this story can help us to remember this because it challenges what we think about Reality and illusion?”

“Yes, for those who have achieved the state of thirst it is most important, because it keeps them awake.”

“And one final question. May I read to you what I have copied from The Intelligence Notebooks?”

“Please do.”

 “If I have this correct, Meher Baba explained that Ishwar is ‘that aspect of Infinite Intelligence that creates, preserves, and destroys as Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, respectively. Acting in the domain of imagination only, Himself formless and infinite and yet the source of infinite form. Ishwar never experiences nor realizes what He creates and remains unconscious of Self.’”

“Yes dear, that is my understanding as well.”

“Then Grandfather, is it correct to assume that Ishwar and Shri Dattatreya are one and the same?”

“I see where you are going and perhaps this will help. Imagine an infinite circle that extends infinitely in all directions and, therefore, there is nothing beyond or beside it. We call it a circle but there is no line to define it and because it is infinite there can be no question of center or circumference, in other words, the circle has no center or circumference. Let us call this circle Infinite Intelligence. The circle is Everything because nothing exists besides it; and since nothing exists besides it, the circle is also Nothing.

“So both Everything and Nothing exists in Infinite Intelligence and both Everything and Nothing are manifest and unmanifest in Infinite Intelligence. What is the manifestation of Nothing? Creation is the manifestation of Nothing and Ishwar is the aspect of Infinite Intelligence that manifests it. Now, to have Creation, Creation must be created and Brahma is the aspect of Ishwar that creates. Once Creation is created it must be preserved and Vishnu is the aspect of Ishwar that preserves the Creation. But for Creation to continue to be created and for Creation to continue to be preserved, there must be an aspect of Ishwar that destroys the Creation—for what would be the need of preserving if there was no force that was acting to destroy?”

“Yes, I see that; it is what Gurdjieff called the three forces; Holy Affirming, Holy Denying, and Holy Reconciling. Between the affirming and the denying is the reconciling.”

“Yes dear, and Buddha said as much when He spoke about the three currents of Birth, Life, and Death. Now, Meher Baba said that Ishwar as Ishwar is not aware of Himself or what He creates, but do we not have to assume that for Vishnu to preserve He has to be aware of the Creation He is preserving?”

“Yes, that is what makes Him special; for Brahma to create He does not have to be aware, and for Mahesh to destroy He does not have to be aware, but to preserve and protect, Vishnu has to be aware of the Creation and this is why He comes again and again as the Avatar in a suitable form to become aware of His Creation and make His Creation aware of himself.”
“Well-spoken my dear; now in Upasani’s explanation, Ishwar as Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, becomes aware of Their Creation and are attracted to it. What this is saying is that even Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh can be influenced by Maya’s powers and therefore be attracted to the illusion that They create, preserve, and destroy. How do you experience fully? The ultimate experience of experiencing is called union. Through the union of two a third is formed—in this case, Dattatreya. Dattatreya is the result of the union of the three aspects of Ishwar, but is not Ishwar. Ishwar remains aloof and unaware of Himself, Creation, and Dattatreya.”

“Grandfather, this is a lot to take in.”

“Yes my dear, but by contemplating Reality, Illusion, and the relationship between them, one contemplates himself and his place in the Grand Scheme of things and experiences a joy beyond anything that illusory life can promise or deliver. Praise be to God, for He never tries His slave in vain; praise be to the Avatar whose love preserves us and His entire creation; praise be to the Masters who precipitate the decent of God as Vishnu—as the Avatar—into a human form, and praise be to the constellation of real saints and lovers of God who dedicate their lives to the freeing of creation from the bonds of illusion born of ignorance made apparently real by the powers of Maya. As Hafez said, ‘Praise be to God, for He never tries His slave in vain.’”

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