Wednesday, July 31, 2013

दरवाज़े - Doors

एक दरवाज़ा था 
जो मुझे पुकार रहा था 
मेरे करीब जाते ही वो खुल गया 

पर ये क्या ? 
भीतर एक और दरवाज़ा था 
उसके खुलते ही एक और, फिर एक और 

दरवाज़े खुलते रहे 
मैं भीतर जाता रहा 

घंटे, दिन, हफ्ते, साल बीत गए 

दरवाज़े खुलते रहे 
मैं भीतर जाता रहा 

समय की मर्यादा टूट गयी 
स्थान का आभास छूट गया 
खुद के होनेका एहसास भी मिट गया 

दरवाज़े खुलते रहे 
मैं भीतर जाता रहा 

फिर एक दरवाज़ा खुलते ही 
आगे कोई दरवाज़ा न था 

एक स्पंद था और ख़ामोशी थी 
मैं था और मैं जीवंत था 
आनंद था और प्रेम भी था 

मैंने पूछा 'तुम कौन हो ?' 
ख़ामोशी बोली, 'मैं तुम ही तो हूँ '

मैंने पीछे मुडके देखा तो 
खुदको अनगिनत दरवाज़ों के पीछे 
कौतुहल से देखते पाया 

Friday, July 19, 2013

What influences our perception - 36 elements of Kashmir Shaivism

In my quest for knowing the deeper secrets of existence, I was brought in contact with 36 elements of Kashmir Shaivism that form the basis of our existence. My chief sources of this understanding are Guruji Prem Nirmal’s commentary on the 36 elements and the book ‘Specific Principles of Kashmir Shaivism’ by B. N. Pandit.

While the below summary is intellectually acquired and not organically experienced, I have to admit that this understanding itself has strengthened my depth of meditation as I’m hit frequently by waves of meditative awareness.

I write this piece with a sincere hope that some seekers out there will find this beautiful revelation equally powerful and uplifting.

These 36 elements are the fundamental building blocks of creation with the subtlest being the first and the grossest being the last. I will take the top down approach to follow the path of creation of the universe, which is the outward manifestation of the divine creative energy. This outward manifestation happens in five stages: 1. Creation 2. Preservation and 3. Dissolution of these 36 elements and all beings therein along with the activities of 4. Self-Oblivion and 5. Self Re-cognition

Philosophers of Kashmir Shaivism assert that the subtlest of self is pure consciousness which is in the form of a stirring called ‘Spanda’. It is neither physical vibration like sound or light, nor mental movement like desire, anger, or passion. Rather, it is a spiritual stirring of consciousness whose essential nature is a simultaneous inward and outward vibration. The inward and outward movements of Spanda shine as subjective and objective awareness of I-ness (Shiva) and this-ness (Shakti) respectively, which form the first two elements (tatvas) of Kashmir Shaivism.

1.   Shiva: The changeless, absolute and pure consciousness having inward vibration is Shiva Tatva, which is considered by many as the male vibration.
2.   Shakti: The natural tendency of Shiva towards outward manifestation is Shakti Tatva, which is also considered as the female vibration.

It is important to understand that the Shiva and Shakti are just linguistic distinction but are actually one with the pure consciousness called ‘Paramasiva’ and are not actually a part of the creation. It is also important to note that all the phenomena have an eternal existence within this pure consciousness which is also referred to as Absolute, completely free and divinely potent. All the phenomena lie within this Absolute as its potency, just like a plant lies as a potency within a seed.

3.   Sadashiva (I am This): While the absolute is limitless subjective I-Consciousness, it playfully manifests phenomena as ‘I am this’ or objectivity.   The objective manifestation of the phenomena of this-ness is called creation. In the beginning, these phenomena appear as single, undiversified, faint chunk of this-ness within the unlimited and luminescent I-ness. The vision or understanding of beings in Sadashiva tatva is ‘Unity in Diversity’.

4.   Isvara (This is myself): In the next step of creation, the balance of I-ness and this-ness shifts towards the latter. The awareness now shines as ‘This is myself.’ The vision or understanding of beings in Isvara tatva is ‘Diversity in Unity’.
5.   Shuddha vidya (Pure Knowledge)(‘I am I’ & ‘This is This’): When the vision becomes balanced so that there is equal emphasis on I-ness and this-ness, the Shuddha Vidya element comes into being.  This element is pure, unlimited knowledge which is required for the creation of the cosmos. Shuddha Vidya element is also called Mahamaya, the last of the pure elements.

The first five elements are called pure elements because they retain their awareness of the purity, infiniteness and divine potency of their I-consciousness. The next element is called Impure element because starting here, the actual layer of limitation is introduced.
6.      Maya (illusion): This is the first impure element which has two main effects. First, it hides the pure and divine nature of created beings who forget their purity, infiniteness and divine potency of their I-consciousness.  Second, they see every other entity as absolutely different from their finite I-consciousness. All other phenomena are also imagined to be mutually different as well. Maya is thus the plane of absolute self-oblivion and diversity. Maya causes beings to lose their oneness with divine potency and leaves them with feelings of imperfection and emptiness which they attempt to fill up with outer objects. To enable us to fulfill these desires, Maya allows us just enough powers of creative action (Kala), knowledge (Vidya), interest (Raga), cause & effect (Niyati), and time (kaal).  

These five elements are called the kanchukas or ‘cloaks’.
7.     Kala (Limited Creativity and action):  To enable us to fulfill our desires, Maya allows us just a little power of action to achieve limited results. This limited creative potential is called Kala.
8.    Vidya (Limited Knowledge): Since doing is not possible without knowing, maya also gives us limited knowledge called Vidya. This is a very limited and hence impure knowledge within Maya and must not be confused with the fifth element which is pure, unlimited knowledge.
9.   Raga (Limited interest): To further limit our potential, Maya appears within us as Raga or limited interest as the ninth element. Because of this limited interest, we’re not inclined to pursue the full potential of our creative abilities or to reach our full potential. Raga also limits our potential to do and to know by limiting our focus only on things that interest us.
This raga should not be confused with attachment which is an attribute of the intellect (buddhi).
10.  Niyati (cause and effect): This tenth element enforces the law of nature upon its beings. It establishes the order of succession in all the phenomena. E.g. how a seed develops into a tree. This law restricts everything within the framework of cause and effect.
11.  Kaal (Time): This element restricts our very being within the maze of time. It limits our being from being present everywhere at all the time to being only somewhere at some time. While our true self is Timeless (Akala), this element makes us feel that “we were, we are, and we will be.” And with limitation of time, comes the limitation of space as they are the opposite side of the same coin. If you can’t be everywhere at all time and you can be only somewhere at some time, then it takes some time to go from one place to another. Hence the illusion of space and time.

12. Purusha (Finite I-consciousness): The I-consciousness, reduced to finitude, is the twelfth element called Purusha.
13. Prakriti (Object of I-consciousness): The object of Purusha element is the thirteenth element called Prakriti. It is also called the MulaPrakriti (the basic substance). Through Prakriti, Shiva starts further phase of creation. This element is the highest element within the Samkhya philosophy and the undiversified source of the remaining 23 objective elements.

For the remaining 23 elements, we will start with the first and the grossest of elements for simplified understanding.
a.      Pancha-bhutas: The gross phenomena is divided into five elements known as the five bhutas called  
1.      prithvi (earth),
2.      jal (water),
3.      agni (fire),
4.      vayu (air),
5.      aakash (ether or space)
b.     Tanmatras: Five bhutas evolve from the next level of subtle elements called Tanmatras. These include
6.      Odour
7.      Flavour
8.      Light-colour
9.      Touch
10.   Sound
As is obvious, these subtle elements are the basic objects of the five exterior senses which are the subsequent elements
c.       Gnanendri – Senses
11.  Smell
12.  Taste
13.  Sight
14.  Touch
15.  Hearing
d.      Karmendri – instruments of action
16.  Reproduction
17.  Elimination
18.  Locomotion
19.  Handling
20.  Expression (speech)   
The next three elements are collectively called the Antahkaranas – mind, ego and intellect.
21.  Buddhi (Intellect):
22.  Ahankar (Ego):
23.  Manas (Mind):  

2. Book: Specific Principles of Kashmir Shaivism by B. N. Pandit. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I love you

"I love you": 

Mind turns this statement into an investment for which it seeks returns, a name, a relationship, builds an expectation of a response, gropes for consequences, wants promises that what is now will ever remain so and hence ruins it before its full potential is even realized. 

Heart, on the other hand, takes nothing more than this phrase and soaks in it, feels it, lives it. For the heart this is the truth of the moment, the fullness of life as it experiences NOW in the wonderment of love. It makes no promises for the future and hence it realizes the true potential of this experience.