July 11, 2017

When zero is the same as infinity

I once asked Poojya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, "I am very possessive, what should I do?" The usual response to such a question is acquiring knowledge to drop the possessiveness. However, Guruji's response was, "Become more possessive, feel possessive about the whole world, the whole universe". It was many years later that I really understood the depth of the statement.

Adi Shankaracharya's Atmashatkam (Nirvanashatkam) has a line that says 'अहम् भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता'. Here भोजनं (bhojanam) not only implies food, but the objects of experience or enjoyment. The phrase then means - I am neither the object of experience/ enjoyment, nor the process of experiencing/ enjoying, nor the experiencer/ enjoyer. 'चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्'. I am the eternal bliss-form element that is Shiva.

At another satsang, I hear a very beautiful bhajan that said 'मैं हूँ मंजिल, मैं हूँ सफ़र भी, मैं ही मुसाफिर हूँ' The devotee here says - I am the destination, I am the journey and I am the traveler himself'.

One wonders how can both these be true. At one point, I say that I am nothing and the other point I am everything. This is the beauty of spiritual knowledge that not only accepts multiple dimensions of Truth, but also propagates it. On one hand it allows you to detach and drop all that is sensed and perceived. On the other hand, it also tells you that all that you see around has emerged from the same 'Me' and it is all 'Me'. I believe that this multi-dimensional knowledge is the strength in the culture of भारत (India).

It is like a having a dream. You are not in the dream, nor are you the dream - yet the dream is in you and so are all the characters and their experiences. Depending on which side of the mirror you are, your spiritual journey is towards zero or towards infinity. You will reach the same destination.

Deeper understanding of the existence that we perceive will take you to the same level as disassociating from the existence. Either embrace the whole thing with deeper understanding and realize the nature of the dream. Or drop it with detachment and watch the movie.

The infinity that we see around us is nothing but a zero - like the infinite dream world is nothing in the waking reality.

Enjoy the confusion and bliss at the same time...

July 04, 2017

Water in the wave

Richard Feynman (of the Feynman lectures in Physics fame) in his first lecture asks a very interesting question - If you knew that there would be a cataclysmic end to the world and you could leave one message for the next civilization - what would that be? Something short and insightful that modern science has taken ages to figure out. While each of us could have a favorite, Feynman said the basics of atomic physics or 'everything is made up of atoms' would be a good one to leap frog generations of research (atoms here imply the building blocks of protons, neutrons and electrons).

It is not just for the scientific reasons, or to pass on to next generations. This knowledge is necessary for us to know even in our own lifetime. We now also know that matter and energy are interconvertible as given by Einstein's famous equation. The recent discovery of the 'God particle' also takes this to a deeper understanding that even the building blocks of atoms are eventually made up of the same particle.

So, at one level everything around us is made up of the same substance (energy/ atoms), yet, has different forms and uses. Knowing this brings a certain level of calmness and expansion in the mind. This knowledge is, in fact, a pre-requisite for someone on the spiritual path and is the essence of all religious philosophies. Even modern day corporate management research show that the sense of being connected to a larger ecosystem brings a high level of confidence and success.

This is one point where everything merges - science; religion and spiritual knowledge; and the experiences on the spiritual path. In the movie 'Matrix - Part1', when Neo finally realizes this knowledge, he attains peace and gets his superpowers.

As Yoga Vashishta puts it: 'Like, when you are focused on the water, you will see only the ocean and not the wave; so will a knowledgeable mind focused on the pure consciousness (Brahman) will see only It all around'. What do you see in the wave - a wave or water in the ocean?

'Now' is as good a time, as any other, to start the journey from the wave to the water. This journey, like any other, is possible only with a guide. We are blessed to have a living spiritual Master - Poojya Sri Sri Ravishankar ji walking this world amongst us. His simple breathing and meditation techniques like Sudarshan Kriya and Sahaj Samadhi meditation are a great aid along with his guiding principles of the Art of Living.

Come and experience the ocean…