Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is Ignorance Bliss? (Part 3.)


So to summarize the previous two posts, there are three eternal states of God; God asleep—without consciousness (knowing) or unconsciousness(not knowing), God dreaming—consciousness (knowing)  of creation and the body, and God awake—consciousness (Knowing)  of the Self—the I am God state. As the dream state is necessary for the average human being to pass from the deep-sleep state to the awake state, so is consciousness of the state of creation and the body necessary for God to achieve the fully awake I am God state. Upasani Maharaj puts it this way:

After all, the whole world is the transformation of the state of knowing. The illusory Prakriti (the phenomenal universe and the primary substance that makes it up) is useful in attaining that Infinite Bliss; it means the illusory Prakriti is useful ‘to know’ the Infinite Bliss. The state of knowing in its true state is the original state, the state of Infinite Bliss; that is what one comes to on accurate thinking; however, the state of knowing as is experienced in and of the world becomes harmful and useless, since it leads to suffering and pain.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume I, Part A, page 234-235.

In other words, the purpose of creation and the body is only to acquire the consciousness necessary to know the Self—God. Once this consciousness is achieved—and Meher Baba tell us that this is achieved once the human form is achieved—the creation and the body and all the experiences of it—becomes harmful and useless.

But this association and identification of God with the state of creation consciousness is not so easy to break because it has been going on for 8,400,000 pre-human forms and a similar number of incarnations in the human form!  

Meher Baba has told us that with every gain in consciousness comes impressions—sanskaras. If consciousness is like a mirror, then sanskaras are like the dust of the journey that covers the mirror. That is why, though consciousness is full and complete in the human form, it still is unable to reveal the I am God State to the embodied soul. So, what needs to be done is to remove the dust from the face of the mirror without breaking the mirror.

The first step in the process is to loosen the dust so that it can be removed. This loosening is accomplished through the process of reincarnation. Technically it is about spending the sanskaras. Meher Baba uses the term to suggest a process of exchange of sanskaras—exchanging more gross sanskaras for less gross sanskaras—making the dust lighter and less sticky. The overall number of sanskaras during the process of reincarnation stays roughly the same, though there is some thinning out. The actual removal of the sanskaras takes place during the process of involution. During involution, sanskaras are gradually transformed from gross sanskaras, to subtle sanskaras, to mental sanskaras, and the overall number of sanskaras also gradually diminished until, in the end, they are all eliminated—all of the dust is removed from the mirror’s face.

Knowledge of the world, as Upasani Maharaj suggests, is tantamount to consciousness of the world, and consciousness of the world, because it is acquired by experiencing the world, creates dust. That is why He said, “the state of knowing as is experienced in and of the world becomes harmful and useless, since it leads to suffering and pain.”

All of the various yogas, spiritual teachings, and techniques are for the purpose of minimizing the accrual of new sanskaras while the embodied soul is conscious of the world and also facilitating the spending up of those sanskaras so that the time spent in the process of reincarnation is kept to a minimum.

“You know how to eat and drink, you know mischief, you know how to procreate, you know what is bad and good for others, you know the ways and affairs of the world, you know how to do business, you know many an object in the world, and if you don’t know some, you open the schools to know about them. Virtually you already have that state of ‘knowing’—that knowledge about all that is around you. You are experiencing it, but this knowledge and experience is seen to lead only to suffering and pain, and that is what you are having—enjoying—experiencing—knowing. So what more know remains for you to know? If you are tired of this knowing, which you are having in plenty, then try and begin to appreciate the state of ‘Not-knowing’, and demand it of your Sadguru.” –Ibid. page 236.  

The discussion, I think, sheds new light on a story I heard many years ago from Sufi Idries Shah:

Nuri Bey was a reflective and respected Albanian who had married a wife much younger than himself. One evening when he had returned home earlier than usual, a faithful servant came to him and said, ‘Your wife is acting suspiciously. She is in her apartments with a huge chest, large enough to hide a man. It should contain only a few old embroideries, but I believe there may be much more in it now—she will not allow me, your oldest retainer, to look inside.’

Nuri went to his wife’s room and found her sitting disconsolately beside the massive wooden box. 

‘Will you show me what is in the chest?’ he asked.

‘Because of the suspicions of a servant, or because you do not trust me?’ she replied.

‘Would it not be easier to open it, without thinking about the undertones?’ asked Nuri

‘I do not think that is possible.’ She said.

‘Is it locked?’

‘Yes.’

‘Where is the key?’

She held it up and said, ‘Dismiss the servant and I will give it to you.’

The servant was dismissed. The woman handed over the key and left the room, obviously troubled in mind. Nuri Bey thought for a long time. Then he called four gardeners from his estate. Together they carried the unopened chest by night to a distant part of the grounds and buried it.

The matter was never referred to again.


 (To be continued.)
  

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