Saturday, January 13, 2018

Shudra (Part 3.)

This is the third post in the series titled Shudra. If you haven’t read the first two posts, please do—I tried to supply a new context to the often controversial subject of the Indian caste system. Post two ended with this quote:

“I have told times out of numbers that names are given in accordance with the qualities presented by the subject. It is on this principle that the epithet Shudra was chosen to name the primary human form. I will now tell you what is the real—the subtle—meaning of the word Shudra.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani Maharaja, Volume 1, Part A, pages 32-33

We continue from there:

The word Shudra consists of three letters—Shu, plus ut, plus ra; Shu means Shuddha—pure—without any admixture; ut means high—higher status; ra means luminous, full of knowledge, Satchitananda (knowledge, power, and bliss) Brahma (Creator). Thus the primary state of the human form is Brahma itself; or it could be said that primary evolutional human stage of Brahma has been named Shudra.” – Ibid, page 33

Much of the meaning of this statement hinges on the terms primary state of the human form and primary evolutional human stage. In God Speaks Meher Baba distinguishes the first human form from the birth of a human being:

This (most first) human form is no other than the consolidated mold or cast of the impressions of the most-last species of animal-form.”God Speaks, 2nd edition, page 28

Unlike Darwin’s Theory of Evolution which is concerned with the evolution of forms, Meher Baba uses the term evolution in the context of the evolution of consciousness. In God Speaks, Meher Baba details the evolution of consciousness through all of the gross forms of creation from stone to vegetable to fish, bird, and animal—all the forms that lead up to the first human form. This first human form stands on the line of demarcation between the last animal form and the first birth of a human being. 

With the first birth of a human being begins the process that Meher Baba calls reincarnation:

Through the first-most human-form the consciousness of the souls experiences and exhausts the impressions of the most-last species of animal-form.

“When all the impressions of the most-last species of animal-form are experienced and exhausted by the consciousness of the soul, then the soul dissociates itself from the most-first human form and the conscious soul automatically drops or sheds the body association. This is called the death of the most-first human form.”—Ibid.

In the next paragraph Meher Baba explains that when the soul identifies with the next human form it is called “the birth of a human being.” —Ibid. page 29

One question I have is whether Upasani Maharaj’s use of the term Shudra is synonymous with the first-human form or the form called the first human being? I tend to favor the former over the latter but, as is said, would not bet the ranch on it!

In His talk Upasani goes on to describe the qualities of the primary state of the human form:

Now look at the qualities presented the Shudra. He does not generally play any part in the good or bad affairs of the world. He just works for the bare necessities of life. He has not much impression of pleasure and pain. Except for self-protection he has hardly any desires. He hardly evinces any egoistic attitude. He has a tendency to behave in accordance with the formula, ‘Be as it may.’ Desires and anger hardly affect him. He has no particular form of conduct or any thought.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani Maharaja, Volume 1, Part A, page 33

It is important to keep in mind that Shudra does not here signify a person as much as it signifies a state of consciousness. This state of consciousness is a rung on the ladder of the soul’s ascent to Self-realization. All souls passing from the stage of evolution to the stage of reincarnation pass through the Shudra state—whether it is identified as Shudra or not. The Shudra state is not limited to the Indian caste system, but in that system it is given the name Shudra.

To the worldly intoxicated, Upasani’s description of the Shudra state may not seem appealing, but looking deeper at the qualities, there is much to be appreciated. “Desires and anger hardly affect him.” If one is honest with oneself does not one agree that both desire and anger are painful states of restlessness?

He does not generally play any part in the good or bad affairs of the world.” Again, do not the good and bad affairs of the world just go on and on? One has to decide for oneself if deeper and deeper involvement with these affairs actually leads to any real and sustained happiness for oneself or anyone else?

Then too, there is Upasani’s statement; “He has a tendency to behave in accordance with the formula, ‘Be as it may.’”  To those familiar with Upasani’s talks, this formula, Be as it may, represents the highest state that one can achieve in the world. To identify someone as being in the state of Be as it may is the very highest of praises.

As has been stated; Karma is the hand one is dealt; Dharma is the way one plays that hand. There is no choice in Karma, but there is some choice in exercising one’s Dharma. Choice in Dharma is guided by what one takes the object of the game to be. One plays the game according to what one takes as the highest directive of one’s conscience and consciousness.

On the Karmic pendulum, the beggar and the king continue to exchange their roles until the pendulum stops moving—and it will stop moving, eventually. The question becomes; are there actions that one can perform that can inhibit or expedite the stopping of the pendulum?

If we have to come back, we cannot stop it. We are in a train, the train is going somewhere. All we can do is to pass the time the time in the train differently—do something useful or spend it quite uselessly.”The Fourth Way, by P.D. Ouspensky, final sentence, page 437

(To be continued.)


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