Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lonely God?

What is the relationship between the soul and creation after the soul realizes God? Upasani Maharaj explores this question in His talk from 1924; How does the Paramatma and a human being enjoy the Bliss?The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume III, Page 76.

And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I’m lonely—I’ll make me a world.” From God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson

I remember reading this poem when I was a child, it was a nice story, but was there some real truth behind it?

“What is meant by the experience of unity? The stem of the tree remains by itself always alone. It does not think that it is always alone; and if the tree were to remain in the stem-form without any further growth, that stem is never likely to think about its being alone—being one by itself. But when the stem grows into branches, sub-branches, and foliage, it gives rise to plurality, and then by looking at those ‘many’, the stem begins to appreciate that it is ‘one’—that it is alone.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume III, Page 76

Perfect Masters can speak on an infinite number of levels in an infinite number of ways. In this talk, Upasani Maharaj, begins with the question, “How does the Paramatma and a human being enjoy the Bliss?” Paramatma, or Great Soul, is a name for God—more specifically;

When the INFINITE ONE does not think of the Universe but only of Himself as God—the Infinite Consciousness—He is in the state of the Beyond—the state of Paramatma.” The Nothing and The Everything, by Bhau Kalchuri, (from points given by Meher Baba,) page 183

The state of the Beyond,” what is that? It is the state beyond creation. It is the state beyond when “God stepped out on space.” Here we’re tempted to you the word before rather than beyond, but the states of God exist simultaneously and the state of God before creation does not disappear with the appearance of the state of God in creation, so I’ll stick with the term beyond rather then before.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John, 1:1

This beginning cannot be the beginning of God because God is Eternal—always was, is, and will be, therefore, the beginning must refer to something else—to creation. In other words, there must be a state of God in which creation does not exist. Meher Baba identifies that state as the Beyond the Beyond state of God, or Paratpar-Parabrahma.

The Beyond the Beyond state of God is sleeping God in a dreamless sleep—a state so deep that almost nothing can be said of it—except that this state is even beyond the possibility of dreaming or waking up—an eternal deep deep sleep!

This state of God is so transcendent that nothing can really be conceived of it. It is utterly pure and immaculate and has no tinge of ‘otherness.’ It is the hidden of all hidden knowledge and the internal of all internal realities. It is beyond all words and so it cannot be adequately described. It is neither finite nor infinite, neither attributeless nor with attributes. In this domain the wings of thought, inference, discrimination and understanding are limp and useless.Godspeaks, by Meher Baba, 2nd edition, page 170

We can also add, that in this state of God, since neither many-ness nor oneness exists, the states of alone or loneliness cannot exist, nor God’s dream of creation, nor God’s ‘I am God!’ awake state, also cannot exist! Yet awaken God must!

Paramatma, Allah, Ahuramazda, Yezdan, and God the Father are some of the most familiar and worshipped Names of God on the planet. These most holy Names are names for God, not in the Beyond the Beyond state of Paratpar-Parabrahma, but in the state of God named by Meher Baba as the Beyond state of God.

The Beyond the Beyond state of God and the Beyond State of God are one—like the ocean is one. But the surface of the ocean exhibits different characteristics than the ocean below itself. This is similar to the relationship that exists between the Beyond the Beyond state of God and the Beyond state of God and the most important difference between them concerns the Lahar.

Lahar is a Hindi word; Meher Baba explains that the closest parallel we have in the English language is the word whim. A whim arises without expectation or cause—it is, after all, a whim. The whim that surged in the ocean of God was “the latent original infinite whim of infinite God to know Himself, (‘Who am I?’).” Godspeaks, by Meher Baba, 2nd edition, page 172

But due to the very nature of the Beyond the Beyond state of God—being so beyond anything other than its own original self, “the very prospect of this infinite urge-to-know, prompting the eternally tranquil poise of god in the unbounded, absolute, infinite Divine Vacuum, becomes inconceivable.” – Ibid.

“Thus it is that the very inconceivability of the prospect of the infinite whim surging in the Beyond-Beyond state automatically unfolds the prospectiveness, which is also latent in the infinite state; and this manifestation (of prospectiveness) bestows upon the most original Beyond-Beyond state of God the prospect of an infinite aspect different from the most-original and eternal state.” – Ibid. Page 173

And this state of possibility in which the original whim could manifest, Meher Baba calls the Beyond state of God, and it is in this Beyond state that the Lahar manifests as the question, “Who am I?” 
With this question, two things occur; that part of the Original Ocean Meher Baba called the Ocean of Everything answers the question and says, “I am God!” but, that part of the Original Ocean that Meher Baba called the Ocean of Nothing could not answer the question—but tried!—resulting in innumerable wrong answers to the question, like, “I am stone,” or “I am insect,” or “I am fish,” or “I am bird,”— or animal, or I am man, or woman, etc. In other words, God as the Ocean of Nothing, began to dream the dream of creation, and began to experience Himself as all the creatures of His creation—and He became lost in the dream.

God woke up—but God woke up in a dream—His dream—and somehow He had to find His way through His dream and really wake up into His real awake state of “I am God!” And somehow God did wake up—and God does wake—drop by drop of the Ocean of Nothing. To the question of the first drop to awaken, Meher Baba tells us that there was a first drop to awaken and that drop was the first God Realized soul who, after dropping His body in creation, returned and continues to return to His creation in different bodies, at different times, for all time, as the Ancient One—the Christ—the Buddha—the Messiah—the Highest of the High!

Having said all of this, we return to Upasani Maharaj’s talk that began, “What is meant by the experience of unity? The stem of the tree remains by itself always alone. It does not think that it is always alone; and if the tree were to remain in the stem-form without any further growth, that stem is never likely to think about its being alone—being one by itself. But when the stem grows into branches, sub-branches, and foliage, it gives rise to plurality, and then by looking at those ‘many’, the stem begins to appreciate that it is ‘one’—that it is alone.” – Ibid., Page 76

So the stem—the trunk—of the tree grows limbs and branches and foliage. Of course, it is still the same one tree, and therefore continues to experience itself as alone—non-dual— but should the tree begins to identify itself with one of its limbs, or branches, or leaves, then everything that is not that one thing it identifies itself with becomes the other, and hence, the tree experiences the state of plurality.

If while experiencing the presence of all that growth on either end, it does not forget that it is just alone, then it never loses the experience of its real status, but If while experiencing the ‘many’ at its either end, it forgets its oneness, then it is lost.” – Ibid.

But the experience of this lost-ness is necessary in order to experience the state of found-ness—the state of wakefulness—the” I am God state”. It is one of the great spiritual/esoteric ironies that in order to experience oneness, plurality must first be experienced; in order to experience the light, darkness must be first be experienced; in order to experience reality, illusion must first be experienced; and in order to be found, one needs to first become lost.

Whosoever wants to experience his oneness must necessarily experience the plurality around; it is the experience of plurality that makes one experience his own ‘single’ position. Having experienced his ‘oneness’, if he does not forget it—lose it—while experiencing plurality, then he attains the state of Paramatma, but if he ‘forgets’ his ‘oneness’, then, of course, he is lost. A human being is one that has forgotten, or rather, has not experienced his ‘oneness’, and has lost himself in the surrounding plurality.” – Ibid., pages 76-77

Where does one get the experience of plurality? The answer is, in creation, which is the manifestation of the dream state of God. Where does one get the experience of oneness? Here again, the answer is the same, one first experiences oneness in the state of creation. What this means is that God Realization occurs while in the body—actually while in the three bodies; the gross, the subtle, and the mental bodies.

Meher Baba tells us that after Realization those bodies usually get dropped—discarded—almost immediately, but can be retained for some period of time depending on the promptings of the destiny of the individual Realized soul. Still, whether the bodies are dropped immediately or after some time, the experience of God for the Realized soul is eternal.

The Yogis and Satpurushas always ‘study’ to experience their ‘own-ness’—there being ‘One’—and once they experience that state, they never lose it.” – Ibid.    

And here, Upasani Maharaj describes, as much as can be described, the nature of that experience;

He experiences that all around him emanates from himself and terminates in himself, and hence he sees himself to be all alone for all time.” – Ibid.

Poor lonely God! So what does He do? In order to enjoy his aloneness, he, himself, “takes a form and becomes many in many a form and object of enjoyment, and then he enjoys himself with their help.” – Ibid.

Imagine that you’re home all alone with nothing to do. So you pull out your movie projector and turn it on. You begin to get engrossed in the movie. Now, you no longer feel alone. With regard to Paramatma, His projector is Ishwar—Ishwar being another state of God in the forms and roles of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, (Afridgar, Parvardigar, and Fanakar) who creates, preserves, and dissolves creation—the movie—that Paramatma watches/enjoys/experiences. But there is a difference between the way the Paramatma and an ordinary human being enjoys creation—the movie.

“Even when the Paramatma enjoys the happiness eminent from a gross form, he does not do it like a human being. For instance, to enjoy the happiness eminent from the mango, a human being has to actually eat it to enjoy it, but the Paramatma just holds it in his hand or puts it to his nose and through the invisible minute pores in the skin he is able to have to have the happiness eminent from the juice of the mango without ever tasting—without ever interfering—with its gross structure in any way. As he sucks that happiness—that invisible happiness—the invisible happiness all around is also attracted by it and accompanies it, and thus, he not only enjoys the happiness eminent from the mango, but also enjoys the happiness that exists all around.” – Ibid., page 77

I had a friend some time ago whose go-to response to anything and everything was; “It’s all Bliss!” I doubt, of course, that this was his actual experience, but Upasani Maharaj does seem to be saying in this quotation is that my friend’s assertion is both accurate and possible—when consciousness goes beyond the gross, subtle, and mental sphere, and experiences the Infinite Bliss of the sphereless sphere of Reality.

To anyone who has had the great good fortune to be in the presence of the Avatar or a Perfect Master, or even hear their words and teachings, it would not come as a surprise that often what first appears to be a pleasant day of frolicking at the shore suddenly turns into the deepest of deep dives into the hidden depths of the infinite ocean knowledge.

And so it is, that in this talk by Upasani Maharaj, after what appeared to be a simple clarification of the difference between the enjoyment of the Paramatma—the Almighty God Allah, Yezdan, Ahuramazda, etc. — and the Jivatma—“that pure celestial soul identified with the projections of the mind,”— the talk soon turned to the deepest of explanations regarding consciousness and the very nature and purpose of creation.

Why are all the animate and inanimate objects in and of the world available to the Paramatma for his continuous enjoyment? Well, because he enjoys without destroying anything and even as the enjoyer of everything, He remains alone by himself and does not forget his unitary state while experiencing that all things come forth spontaneously from that from which he emanated—from that which lies beyond the trinity of enjoyer, the enjoyed and the enjoyment.” - The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume III, page 78

I regularly practice a meditation on Meher Baba’s name. It’s a simple technique; I just try to inwardly repeat His name continuously for fifteen minutes. During that time I do not resist or try to stop any other thoughts that automatically arise within me, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant, high or low, sublime or vulgar—because, I have learned, that the very effort to resist or change a thought actually empowers and draws greater attention to it. 

 I have also come to see that the thoughts are not the problem at all—that it is my identification with those thoughts that is the problem. Identification is when I take myself to be something other than what I am—when I become “identified with the projections of my mind,” as opposed to remembering “that pure celestial soul” that I am.
I have also observed that when I don’t resist or identify with those thoughts and just let them pour out like, as Gurdjieff once put it, “from the empty into the void,” I begin to experience that those thoughts are not me and that the mind which continuously churns them out is not me. It is as if my mind is both the projector and that which is projected, and that my Self is something other than the projector or that which is projected. Of course, I do not experience that Self directly; in my state, the Self I experience is but one of the many shadows of that real Self that I am—a kind of intermediate self Gurdjieff once identified as the deputy steward.

So both the Paramatma and the Jivatma project and enjoy the movie of creation, but there is a difference, because the Paramatma does not identify with that movie while the Jivatma does. I think the distinction also helps to explain the statement; “he enjoys without destroying anything,” that the Paramatma does not need to eat the mango to enjoy it; in other words, that the relationship of the  Paramatma to His creation is totally benign—is not dependent on the destruction of any of the forms of creation. To me, this speaks of real love—unconditional love—love that asks absolutely nothing of the object of that love—love that takes absolutely nothing from the object of that love—in other the words, the only love worthy of being named love!

And when the topic turned to the subject of love, the pen broke and the paper tore!” - Jalal a-Din Rumi

Many years ago I was staying in the Far Cabin at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was a warm summer night and I was sitting at the little wooden desk in front of the open screened window near the door of the cabin. I was reading a book by Rumi when I was distracted by a commotion in the window. A large moth had flown into the web of a large spider and was struggling to get out. Immediately the spider appeared and jumped on the moth and began stinging it. The scene was going on right before my eyes, not more than a foot away from me, and so I saw everything very clearly. The spider would sting the moth again and again and the moth would writhe in pain—finally it stopped writhing and the spider collapsed over the moth and did not move. After a few days, what was left of the moth was discarded, and dropped to the bottom of the window.

Inspired by Rumi’s teachings and the atmosphere of the Center, I realized that what I had been witnessing was an act of love—love of the spider for the moth and love of the moth for the spider—the latter even more difficult to comprehend for sure. Why would the moth be attracted to the web of the spider? Because the Infinite Intelligence that guides the lives of all souls in creation is constantly working to guide that soul’s dream of itself to the realization of its real Self. In the end, that moth after circling the flame will fly into the flame, and lose itself in that flame, and become one with that flame.

Like waves upon my head, the circling curls,
So in the sacred dance, weave ye and whirl,
Dance then, oh heart, a whirling circle be,
Burn in that flame; is not the candle He?– Ibid.

I have talked about it before, that third thing that exists between any two things—the Sandhi, ( The Sandhi exists in creation—in illusion—everywhere and in everything; it is the dusk between day and night and the dawn between night and day, the caesura in music that is felt between motives, phrases, themes, sections, and movements, and it is found in the moment between the inhalation and exhalation of every breath—yogis pay particular attention to this moment.

But the Sandhi also exists in the state of Reality, in the Divine Junction (Turiya Avastha), where the Realized soul can have the dual experiences of “I am God” and “I am human.”  It is this state of Reality Upasani Maharaj calls the border...

The Paramatma is just on the border—the fence between that original infinite One and Creation. The Yogis, the Satpurushas, etc. are always trying to attain that state of being on the fence. The origin of all happiness lies on this border land. The third that emanates from the union of the two is the state of pleasure and pain in and of this world.” - The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume III, page 79

A thoughtful read of this statement shows that Upasani Maharaj has unexpectedly taken His talk in a new direction…

Without coming together, without union or mutual action of the two, the third (state) does not come into existence.” – Ibid. page 80

In other words, the state of pleasure and pain that is experienced in creation is the result of the Sandhi—the Border—the Divine Junction between illusion and Reality. Here, Upasani Maharaj names this state as consciousnessas experience.

The third is recognized as consciousness—as experience. This experience consists of two types, or two aspects, the pleasurable and the painful—the Anukila and the Pratikula. Both of these, the pleasure and the pain, are experienced in that border land—on that fence; and that has been so from time immemorial. Wherever pleasure or pain is experienced, you can always see the junction—the union—the coming together—the mutual action of the two. It is because of the intrinsic natures of the two that the experience—the consciousness—of pleasure and pain is experienced. To have fever there must be a body and something that is adverse to it coming together. Similar will be the state of a belly-ache; there must be two striking against each other.
“Every pleasure or pain is the result of reaction between any two constituents.  This ‘third’ that is created in the world by the coming together of any two is generally seen to lead to the experience of, the third, where the Paramatma resides, is all full of pleasure—full of happiness—full of Bliss.

“This is the reason why the Shastras—the Teachings—having always advised one to use the joining periods of the day—the morning, the afternoon, the evening, the midnight, etc. for practicing the various means to attain the state of the Paramatma—to become one with him. Because the Paramatma is on the fence—on that junction—whatever is done at such ‘times of junction’, slowly but surely leads to one’s development and to the attainment of the attributes of the Paramatma.” – Ibid.

This morning I was sitting on the patio repeating Meher Baba’s name. It was a warm morning, the sun was already very intense, and there were also a lot of flies. After meditating, I tried to understand what had happened—why this meditation was different than most. It was obvious that the source of my distraction was quite external and physical, as opposed to the usual internal distractions of thoughts and feelings. Being a gross conscious person—my consciousness being centered in the gross world—it was quite natural for me to become distracted by the sensations evoked by the heat, the sounds of the buzzing flies, and the sensation of them landing and walking around on my body.

I remembered that I had involuntarily attempted to shew the flies away. What was going on? I concluded that it had to do with the sensations that the mind interprets as pleasure and pain, but I realized also that sensations are just sensations and that it is the mind that classifies them as pleasurable and painful. So, then what is pain? I decided that when the mind interprets a sensation as being a danger to the body, then it labels that sensation a pain and that the degree of the mind’s engrossment is directly in proportion to the degree to which the mind identifies itself with the body. In other words, any perceived danger to the body becomes a danger to the mind, and by extension, a danger to the self.

There is a translation of a teaching in the Bhagavad Gita that says;

The senses are superior to the sense objects, the mind is superior to the senses, and the Self is superior to the mind.

(Notice the large case S, to indicate the eternal, infinite Self of Reality as opposed to the illusory, limited, false self, created by and identified with the mind.)

So when the mind identifies a sensation as a warning sign of danger—that something is wrong with the body or that it is under attack—the mind then prompts the body to take actions to protect itself. This action could take an intentional effort, like moving into the shade when one feels too hot, or it may be an instinctive or autonomic response of fainting caused by the vasovagal syncope when certain conditions arise in the body, particularly the loss of blood flow to the brain caused by low blood sugar, dehydration, etc. The fainting actually causes the body to fall down, bringing the heart and brain to the same level to encourage blood flow.

Of course, what we are talking about here is the working of the limited mind and its projections. We are in the domain of the average human being. But the domain of the Paramatma is different. In the state of a God-Realized being, called Sadguru by Upasani Maharaj, along with the limited mind, there is also the consciousness of the unlimited Universal Mind which is requisite for the experience of Reality. So, the Paramatma in the state of the Sadguru can choose what reality he or she wishes to experience and when to experience it because the Sadguru sits on the border—the Sandhi— between false reality and Reality.

The Masters are always explaining the meaning and purpose of life. These explanations have an awakening power—a power that emanates less from the explanation itself, whose target is the mind, and more from the experience of Reality which is conveyed by the Masters’ state of consciousness. Unlike the thoughts and ideas of regular people, the Masters’ consciousness has the power to nurture another level of consciousness in the unrealized soul.

What the Masters are always reminding us is that life—creation—and all the lifetimes experienced within it have only one purpose and that is the awakening of the consciousness of the soul to the realization—the experience—of “I am God!”

Not only is life meant wholly and solely for this purpose, it has no independent existence from this purpose. I wrote about this at length in a previous blog, Ayushya – Period of Life, . Ayushya is just another name for the Fence, the Sandhi, and the highest manifestation of the Third Force often spoken about by G.I. Gurdjieff—the dream state between God’s deep sleep and fully awake state.

Near the end of His talk, “How does the Paramatma and a Human Being enjoy the Bliss? - The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume III, pages 76 – 81, Upasani Maharaj clarifies the process and the importance of the role the Avatar and the Perfect Masters—the Sadgurus in the state of Paramatma—play in this process.

“This is the reason why the Shastras—the Teachings—having always advised one to use the joining periods of the day—the morning, the afternoon, the evening, the midnight, etc. for practicing the various means to attain the state of the Paramatma—to become one with him. Because the Paramatma is on the fence—on that junction—whatever is done at such ‘times of junction’, slowly but surely leads to one’s development and to the attainment of the attributes of the Paramatma.” – Ibid., page 80.

The state of the Paramatma and the Sadguru are one and the same and to approach one is to approach the other. The difference is that to approach the Paramatma is to approach the impersonal aspect of God while to approach the Sadguru is to approach the personal aspect of God.

If the Sadguru is favorably disposed to a person who practices in this way, that person is soon able to attain that state of junction lying beyond the state of the sun; why? Because the Sadguru has attained that state—because there is no difference between the Sadguru and the Paramatma—because they are the same—they are one. Whoever attains that state becomes the Paramatma—becomes all that lies beyond the Paramatma; it is he who becomes the enjoyer, the enjoyed, and the enjoyment, or remains beyond all the trinities; it is he who is beyond the body-state, beyond births and deaths, beyond space and time.

“As long as the atma remains within the solar circle or under its influence, it assumes the state of Jiva and becomes chained to the cycle of births and deaths—to the continuous flow of pleasure and pain; but once it gets outside the solar circle, the soul escapes from all that is of and in the world—the world that is nothing else but the third formed by the interaction of the two—the earth and the sun.

“The states of existence and non-existence, the states of pleasure and pain, are all the outcome of the interaction between the sun and the earth; the whole creation is the outcome of their interaction. God created the human form to get beyond the zone of interaction. That is why the yogis always try to get beyond the state of the Sun and, having attained that, are able to enjoy that sole Infinite Bliss.” – Ibid., pages 80 – 81.
 Inscribe these words in your heart. Nothing is real but God, nothing matters but love for God.– Meher Baba

A Sip of Wine

Oh Lord,
My eyes believe that all they see is real —
are not these stones and trees and birds and bees
and creatures of the earth and sky and sea real?”

“My lover, they are not real,
the Self within them is what’s real.
Their forms are only shadows cast
that come and go from nothing to nowhere.
See them, love them, but upon them do not depend.”

“And my Lord,
what of men who speak and walk and love and hate,
who laugh and cry with joy and pain,
and grow from babes to live and die —
are they not real — like You and I?”

“My lover, they are not real,
nor is the pain and pleasure that they feel.
The Self within them is what’s real,
while their forms like clouds that cross the sky
appear as shapes that dance and cry.
Know them, love them,
but upon them do not depend — the Self that is real has no beginning or end.”

“But my Lord, I am a man.
Am I not real,
or my thoughts and what I feel?
Who is it then that seeks for You
and in my heart what voice speaks to You?
And are You real or just a dream?
It seems that nothing’s what it seems!”

“My lover, you are not real,
the Self within you is what’s real —
that Self and I are really one.
When you experience this, my work is done.

You say that nothing’s what it seems,
and that’s because your life’s my dream,
though in this dream my life’s displaced
and found again when you’re effaced.

Know Me.
Love Me.
Upon Me alone depend.

Within you I will awaken in Bliss,
beyond beginning and without end.

Remember, dear one, these words I say,
‘Nothing is real but God.
Nothing matters but love for God.’” – A poem by Michael Kovitz  

 © Copyright 2000 Michael Kovitz

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