DEATH – More notable quotes

Better to flee from death than feel its grip.

HOMER, The Iliad

We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE, Religio Medici

Death, in itself, is nothing; but we fear,

To be we know not what, we know not where.

JOHN DRYDEN, Aureng-Zebe

Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.

VICTOR HUGO, Intellectual Autobiography

You only live twice. Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face.

IAN FLEMING, You Only Live Twice

Morn after morn dispels the dark,

Bearing our lives away;

Absorbed in cares we fail to mark

How swift our years decay;

Some maddening draught hath drugged our souls,

In love with vital breath,

Which still the same sad chart unrolls,

Birth, eld, disease, and death.

BHARTRHARI, “Against the Desire of Worldly Things”

 

(Ha! My death will take me to a better place. It will enable me to gird my loins – so to imagine – before I undergo my next phase of moral cleansing on Earth. So I have been told!)
 

Can we humans ever know?

With only 5 senses and their ‘processor’ the brain, we human are obviously limited in our capacity to perceive this exceedingly complex world in which we live. For instance, there may be maths ‘out there’ which even the best minds may not be able to access. Further, when more than 90% of the known (estimated?) matter in the universe is said to be dark matter/energy, of what use is the Hubble Telescope in seeking to peer into infinite visible space?

I conceive the scope of Hubble’s vision to be equivalent to the size of my little fingernail, relative to (at minimum) the totality of all the space in this our own universe (assuming that one could place a defining perimeter to infinite space).

Then, from our new learning from quantum physics, when a particle can apparently be in more than one place at any one time, and an electron can be both a particle and a wave (so I have read), what can one say about matter, non-matter, and all the other unknowns on the dance floor, in terms of the symbolic and ritualistic relevance of the dance being performed?

Then, from a Western cultural point of view, Plato suggests that what we perceive is not really what is being observed (that is how I understand this great philosopher). As well, the ancient Hindus have postulated that our perception (not the object observed) is (normally?) maya – neither real nor unreal. I am inclined to disagree with both views. When I stub my toes on a near-buried seaside rock, both the material and my pain-filled perception of what happened are quite real!

However, as a simple speculative philosopher myself, I applaud all those – including the scientists who tell us that what they know is what is – for attempting to perceive reality as it might be! But then, in this perceived universe of fog and mirrors, should one listen to those ancient thinkers who profess that, only in deep meditation could one experience Reality?

Regrettably, the bottom line here is that, when those who have thus come to know what Reality actually is, cannot tell us, because such an experience as theirs is beyond words! How frustrating for us Seekers! Of course, those who seek to tell us about the same Reality cannot thereby possibly know. Quo vadis?

Returning to the Ocean of Consciouness

The following excerpt from Ecknath Easwaran’s The Upanishads views life’s as “ … a kind of school in which the individual  self is constantly evolving, growing life after life towards a fully human nature.”

The world is the wheel of God, turning round

And round with all living creatures upon its rim.

The world is the river of God,

Flowing from him and flowing back to him.

On this revolving wheel of being

The individual goes round and round

Through life after life, believing itself

To be a separate creature, until

It sees its identity with the Lord of Love

And attains immortality in the indivisible whole.

(Shvetashvatara I.4-6)

I offer to share this inspiring view to other Seekers of understanding of reality. But, I am not seeking to ‘sell’ Hinduism, or to argue that there is only one path to God. Ultimately, we are dealing with beliefs – unproven, unprovable – no matter how many theologians stand on the head of a thumbtack claiming that they have an inside track or the only track to God.

Reincarnation in a nutshell

Moving back to matters of the spirit rather than of the mind, as a metaphysical Hindu interested in obtaining a purview of reality which transcends the valuable guidance available in all the major religions, I hold on to a belief which I acquired in my youth; that is, reincarnation.

This concept of a repeated renewal of Earthly life was, I understand, part of the belief systems of most cultures, until the early Christian church discarded it. This belief offers a continuity in the process of soul purification, as driven by one’s free will. The process needs more than a single lifetime.

Refreshing my reading of The Upanishads by Ecknath Easwaran, an American academic of Asian Indian origin, I came upon the following self-explanatory excerpt:   

As a caterpillar, having come to the end of one blade of

grass, draws itself together and reaches out for the next,

so the Self, having come to the end of one life and shed all

ignorance, gathers in its faculties and reaches out from the

old body to a new.

(Brihadaranyaka III.4.3)

I offer to share this with other Seekers of understanding of reality.

 

 

The wisdom of the ancients

I remember that, at about 8 years of age, I asked my parents about the origin of the universe. This was a time when, before bedtime, my family often sat outside our home in the dark, and wondered at the beauty and apparently complexity of a sparkling sky. Their response? It has always been here, with neither beginning nor end. What an entrancing glimpse of reality, in the midst of a life of material insecurity!

While traversing the mechanistic perception of all that is in the universe by the modern Western world, throughout my life, my wonderment has continued. I remain unsatisfied by the changing speculative explanations or theories of modern science. Instead, I have been entranced by the myths from all over the world about the inexplicable complexity of the Cosmos. I recognise that enduring myths originating in ancient, long-gone civilisations will reflect some history, while offering explanations of the mysterious.

I have also been challenged by the claim (read The Upanishads by Ecknath Easwaran) that the mind is only an instrument of consciousness.

Those of us who are spiritual know that, since we humans are co-created, we are interconnected; that is, bonded to one another (at least, in intent). Similarly, the recently discovered principles of quantum physics has led to free-thinking cosmologists working in that discipline to postulate that the interconnectedness of all matter and events (the ‘oneness’ described by mystics in many cultures) is actually conscious, possibly intelligent. These heretics of science may take us to a real understanding of existence.

Indeed, in his autobiography, Paramahamsa Yogananda wrote of his wonderful experiences of cosmic consciousness in a state of ecstatic joy when “ … the entire Cosmos … glittered with the infinitude of my being.”

Modern science may yet accept that those who came before us may have glimpsed reality in a way not practised by us.

THE WAY HOME – A THOUGHT

What one perceives to be of form and substance may only be a transient projection from that

all-embracing, all-permeating, ever-existing essence of indefinable reality which is the Cosmos.

This, the ancients called Consciousness.

Does this not explain that subtle yearning by sensitive souls to return to that very ocean (the Ocean

of Consciousness) from which we humans had once arisen?

Is this not the greatest, and yet simplest, lesson we can impart to our youth?

 

Pondering the Meaning of Life

Because of the inexplicable major disasters early in my life, and a proclivity to fall into holes which were clearly not there, I began to ask myself after my retirement about the possible determinants of human life. I have concluded that we do indeed have free will, but that our actions in our past lives influence the trajectory of our current lives.

English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibe...

English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibetaanse Oneindige knoop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the basis of my understanding of the Upanishads, the highest level of metaphysics found in any religion, I believe that the process for the transmission of the template for each current life is automatic.  The free will exercised during each life is sufficient to explain what happens. Thus, there is no need for the New Age belief that the reincarnating soul ‘chooses’ the pathway of the life to be just before birth.

However, on the basis of my significant exposures to the spirit world, I accept that the spirit world may involve itself in the working out of the template established elsewhere in time and place.  The travails of my current life lead me to offer a spiritual path for all mankind. In this, I am aided by my intuition, as well as by reliable clairvoyants, to feel that I have already been a Christian, Moslem and Jew. This inter-faith tolerance was also enhanced by having grown up in a multi-ethnic community in British Malaya, which was already on its way to becoming a tolerant multicultural nation.

This might also throw a little light on the path I have followed in my current life to be able to advocate the eventual integration of people of diverse cultures within my adopted nation into one coherent people. My ultimate hope is that we humans will accept that we were co-created, and are thereby bonded to one another. Is the concept of the Family of Man not eventually achievable?

My thoughts have been influenced by the role of a visiting yogi, which resulted in me being sent to Australia; and a most significant psychic experience during which the spirit of my senior uncle offered advice on my spiritual development, and also suggested that I could seek to ‘contribute to building a bridge’ from whence I came to where I am. It was during this experience that I was told that the spirit world had faced some difficulty in getting me to Australia; to which, my questions were: ‘Why me?’ and ‘How much influence does the spirit world have on us on Earth?’

In my writing, my repeated effort is the creation of one people out of the wide diversity of ethno-cultural origins found in the newly-created immigrant-fed nations such as Australia. My ultimate aim is the recognition by one and all that we humans, in spite of the imperatives of form and substance creating separation, will eventually return to be united in that Ocean of Consciousness from which we apparently arose.