Consciousness: a new spirituality that addresses our deepest longings and dilemmas


>
> Dennis Choptiany, Markham, Canada: It can be argued that the
> most profound creation that humans have made is God. With it came > the formation of a vast number of religions and their destructive
> divisions and conflicts. In your opinion, why do people have an
> apparent 'need' for religion and why have religions flourished even
> today when there is more and more evidence of the validity of
> agnostic and atheist views?
>
> Deepak Chopra: Religions have an appeal because human beings
> have the fear of mortality. All religions promise eternal life.
> In the absence of profound knowledge of the workings of the
> universe, we rely on so-called religious authority to answer
> the deepest questions of our existence: who am I, where did I
> come from, what's the meaning and purpose of existence, do I
> have a soul, what happens to me after I die, does God exist,
> and if God exists does God care about me personally.
>
> Unfortunately, religious ideology, dogma and belief systems are no
> longer congruent with what we know about the workings of the
> universe. They are inconsistent with our insights from modern
> cosmology, evolution, biology and the sciences. Hence, religious
> based on primitive belief (and unfortunately, all of them are based
> on primitive beliefs) have become quarrelsome, divisive and
> frequently idiotic.
>
> However, consciousness still remains a mystery. Is our
> consciousness an emergent property of our biology or is
> consciousness the ground of existence that differentiates itself
> and projects itself as reality? This is not a settled issue. The
> current atheists and agnostics, such as Richard Dawkins, for
> example, are espousing an old fashioned 19th century atheism. The
> god they attack can not be defended. My hope is that as science
> progresses and looks at the mystery of consciousness we will see
> the emergence of a new spirituality that is secular and scientific
> and still addresses our deepest longings and our most important
> existential dilemmas.
>

"For where dwell the gods to whom we can uplift our hands, send forth our prayers, and make oblation? Beyond the Milky Way are only island universes, galaxy beyond galaxy in the infinitudes of space — no realm of angels, no heavenly mansions, no choirs of the blessed surrounding a divine throne of the Father, revolving in beatific consciousness about the axial mystery of the Trinity. Is there any region left in all these great reaches where the soul on its quest might expect to arrive at the feet of God, having become divested of its own material coil? Or must we now turn rather inward, seek the divine internally, in the deepest vault, beneath the floor; hearken within for the secret voice that is both commanding and consoling; draw from inside the grace which passeth all understanding?"

Heinrich Zimmer, Philosophies of India
Princeton University Press, 1974, p. 13.


"It has been almost twenty years since I wrote Spectrum, and the intervening two decades have convinced me more than ever of the correctness of its essential message: being and consciousness exist as a spectrum, reaching from matter to body to mind to soul to Spirit. And although Spirit is, in a certain sense, the highest dimension or level of the spectrum of existence, it is also the ground or condition of the entire spectrum. It is as if Spirit were both the highest rung on the ladder of existence and the wood out of which the entire ladder is made — Spirit is both totally and completely immanent (as the wood) and totally and completely transcendent (as the highest rung.) Spirit is both Ground and Goal ... The realization of our Supreme Identity with Spirit dawns only after much growth, much development, much evolution, and much inner work ... only then do we understand that the Supreme Identity was there, from the beginning, perfectly given in its fullness."

Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousnes
Quest Books, 1993, p. xvi.


" "That Self (atman) is not this, not that (neti, neti.) It is unseizable, for it cannot be seized; indestructible, for it cannot be destroyed; unattached, for it does not attach itself; it is unbound, it does not tremble, it is not injured."1

The Self is not easily known. It cannot be realized except by the greatest effort. Every vestige of the normal waking attitude, which is appropriate and necessary for the daily struggle for existence (artha), pleasure (kama), and the attainment of righteousness (dharma), must be abandoned. The really serious seeker of the Self has to become an introvert, disinterested absolutely in the pursuits of the world — disinterested even in the continuance of his individual existence; for the Self is beyond the sphere of the senses and the intellect, beyond even the profundity of intuitive awareness (buddhi), which is the source of dreams and the fundamental support of the phenomenal personality."The Creator, the divine Being who is self-existent (svayam-bhu), drilled the apertures of the senses, so that they should go outwards in various directions; that is why man perceives the external world and not the Inner Self (antar-atman.) The wise man, however, desirous of the state of immortality, turning his eyes inward and backward (pratyag, 'into the interior'), beholds the Self."2"

Heinrich Zimmer, Philosophies of India
Princeton University Press, 1974, p. 463.

(1. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4. 5. 15. (Hume, op. Cit., p. 147) 2. Katha Upanishad 4. 1.)


"Vedanta and Consciousness

The Vedantic concept of consciousness is somewhat different from the every-day, Western concept. In the West, what usually is referred to as consciousness is more likely to be called awareness. In Vedanta consciousness is omnipresent and objectless. There is consciousness behind everything — be it a human, an animal or a stone — but a stone has no awareness and the awareness of an animal is very limited. Likewise, the awareness of humans can be more or less limited. Consciousness is static and forever unchanging, but awareness is dynamic and may undergo changes. Consciousness is the same in all humans and interconnects all humanity. While consciousness is undivided and without limits, awareness may be limited and differ from person to person.

The Ultimate Reality is characterized by three concepts — absolute being, absolute consciousness and absolute bliss. Nevertheless, the Ultimate Reality is beyond these and any other human conceptions — It is objectless, omnipresent, all-pervasive, eternal, infinite, unchanging, motionless and without any form. Often, the Ultimate Reality is referred to as a cosmic ocean of consciousness."

Steen Ingemann, Guide to Ultimate Reality (www.rishi.dk/guide/)


4) Sri Cidagni-Kunda-sambhuta
— Born from the Pit of the Fire of Consciousness.
— Burns out ignorance and confers Immortality.

68) Sri Chakra-raja-ratha-rudha-sarvayudha-pariskrta
— Mounted on Sri Chakra inside body with all weapons i.e. Powers.
— Enlightens mind to realise Ultimate Reality as an All-Pervading- Consciousness.

207) Sri Manonmani
— Highest state of Consciousness.
— Secret name of Sri Durga.

404) Sri Bhakta-harda-tamo-bheda-bhanumad-bhanu-santaih
— Effulgence of the Sun; dispels Darkness of Ignorance.
— Giver of the Vision of the Ocean of Consciousness.

573) Sri Prajnana Ghana-rupini
— Supreme Wisdom
— State of Consciousness where nothing else is experienced except Self.
—"Like the taste of salt in the sea (It) is everywhere; Prajnana is All Pervasive."Brahadaranyaka Upanisad

669) Sri Annada
— The Giver of Food.
— Sustains Life and Consciousness.

739) Sri Layakari
—The Fifth State beyond Turiya.
—The State where individual and Cosmic Consciousness merge.

807) Sri Param-dhama
— The Ultimate Light.
— The Ultimate Status
— 'Yadgatva na nivartante taddhama paramam mama'"The State of Consciousness from which there is no return is My Ultimate State." (Bha. Gi. 16-6)

854) Sri Gambhira
— The Bottomless Lake.
—"The Ultimate Mother is to be visualised as a great and deep lake of Consciousness, uncomprehended by Space and Time."Siva Sutra 1.23

858) Sri Kalpana-rahita
— Pure Consciousness.

907) Sri Tattvamayi
— The Mother of the Ultimate State of Consciousness.

Sri Lalita Sahasranama
C. S. Murthy, Assoc. Advertisers and Printers, 1989.


"Lalita: Yoga and Esoteric Meaning

As has been mentioned numerous times, Lalita's subtle form (her mantra) is essential to this particular Hindu goddess. Because the Srividya tradition places so much emphasis on the liturgical listing of names, Lalita's 1,000 names and their symbolism give much insight into the esotericism of this goddess. Here, we will only examine the two names by which the goddess is most commonly known.

"Lalita"means, literally, one who plays. She is Mahasakti whose body consists of pure sattva, and she is the most supreme example of Parabrahman....

On a more subtle level, Lalita is the nature of Siva, Sakti, and atman. Since she is the nature of all three, there is no difference amongst them. Thus, Siva is Sakti and Sakti is Siva; the two are one and the same in a constant union: Pure Consciousness does not exist without the Creative Energy. Furthermore, each individual atman is no different than either Siva or Sakti. The atman is, itself, the union of the two and is, itself, Absolute Divinity.

Relating the above to cognition, Lalita is, at once, the knower, the process of knowing, and the object of knowledge. The Sri Vidya tradition claims that these three categories do not differ from one another but are all one and the same. Thus, once the"knower"begins the"process of knowing," that"knower"Actually becomes the"object of knowledge."When one realizes the non-duality of this triad and realizes that s/he IS the knowledge for which s/he is searching, s/he gains a glimpse of the Absolute. In this realization, one travels from the manifest world back into the Bindu Point and into the Absolute Consciousness. By knowing (and becoming aware of) the process by which the Absolute manifests itself out from the Bindu Point, one is able to take that process and reverse it so that one may travel back into the Supreme Drop of Consciousness.

If we translate this into"Lalita language," once a believer gains the knowledge of Lalita through worship and ritual, s/he actually becomes the goddess herself. Since the mantra (Lalita's subtle form) IS Lalita, the process of reciting the mantra is the actual evocation of the goddess from the depths of one's own being. Thus, by worshipping Lalita and reciting her mantra, one actually becomes the goddess herself. One gains a glimpse (however large or small) of oneself as the Absolute, as the Supreme Consciousness herself.

All of the above eludes to the goal of yoga; that is, the cessation of the movement of the mind and concentration on a single point in order to, eventually, reach the state of moksa (liberation). The final goal is realizing the Absolute; knowing oneself to be God, experiencing in full the presence of Lalita. This entails a journey from the manifest world into the Bindu point. While the concepts expounded upon above make sense intellectually (at least somewhat), in order for their meaning to be complete, one must experience them. This experience necessitates the discipline of Yoga to find the one- pointedness of concentration which will open the door to the realization of the Absolute. Just as one must look past Lalita's physical form in order to gain access to her subtle, all-pervading subtle form (her mantra), one must also peel away the gross, material layers of reality in order to discover the subtle layers of consciousness which pervade the universe. Yoga is the discipline which allows its practicer such an opportunity."

www.rochester.edu/



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