Nirvikalpa, a Hopeless State, the Fable Monster Maraka, and Good Grass
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Memorable sayings - there is much to consider
A doormat and a lawn have in common that people and animals step on them. Ttry not to become a doormat.
Walking on grass, or on a picnic among straws, will you be more considerate? Grasses are a hugely underestimated benefactors. Animals feed on them, - humans too, for example the grains of wheat, rice and barley - grasses all. [WP, sv. "Grass"]
The Indian teachings, unlike those ministers I had known, stressed the need for testing every Scriptural claim.- Swami Kriyananda, The Path [Tp ch 14]
As she lay on her deathbed in a cloister, the thing that the old Gyanamata, "mother of wisdom", felt most sorry for, was that she had not reached nirbikalpa herself.
Her guru seemed to assure her, saying, "You are beyond it, Sister," he said.
Why bother to claim there is a state that none knows the meaning and significance of?
Outsmarting death, is that really something to invest in? And will it create the life you want? Who knows?
"Prevention is better than no cure" - you can quote me on that one.
The state of mind that the guru of SRF calls nirvikalpa or nirbikalpa, is without hope - as understood from the guru's reckonings, wherever he got them from.
A further question: Is such comfort reassuring to beginner yogis and others? Was Yogananda actually telling she was beyond the highest state to reach by kriya yoga? Was he telling she was beyond not knowing what was going on? If so, how can we assure that it is possible? How can you count when counting is impossible? These are great problems - to some.
The story we looked into, is purported in SRF to be a true little story. It signals just how helpful and true that skewed terminology and soap tenets are.
Animals find it fit to inspect well for safety reasons and others. Higher up than this, some gurus praise a state where being alert to what is going on, is out of the question, though. It is called nirvikalpa samadhi. If you enter it, there is no way of knowing anyting about anything, says a definition. It is - eh - the highest state yogis enter.
When the guru Yogananda goes on and describes what is impossible to describe, soap opera tics may abound. Fun too.
Why bother to intone there is a state that none knows the meaning and significance of? The mental apparatus is said to be off in nirvikalpa - that postulated state. This unrecognisable state is said to be the acme of god-states by Yogananda. But what if it is the acme of troll states also? Actually, no one's mind should know anything about it, even those who have entered and got out of it.
Yogananda tells it is the end state - which it is possible to get over and above without knowing it . . . He also defines it as a "state of changeless God-consciousness", and a "perfect and unshakeable state" [Pa 511; 27n]
As for the deathbed nun, maybe all her kriya efforts were for nothing, if the world was as unreal as her master often said, ignoring that Ramana Maharsi has said that illusion is in itself illusory.
To be beyond nirbikalpa without knowing that state or knowing that one is free from it, may also have its dangers. One of them could be to trust in everything odd that is told.
First-hand inspection by famous yogi
Young Vivekananda tried to inspect the "all is illusion" doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He repeatedly tried to bang his head towards iron railings back in India, to check - [Via, intro]
Don't try it at home. Calmly consider what happens during train accidents instead.
Yogananda Wants Training for Efficiency
I sincerely praise the modern school system of American and its constantly improving methods of intellectual and, to a certain extent, physical training. . . .
NOTE: If someone praises a lot and in one place emphasises that this time his praise is sincere, maybe we do well to inspect what he otherwise praises, just to make sure and be wise.
What is felt to be strictly all right, accurate, fair and constructive in outlook, does not offend us without a reason. It also happens that both funny and tricky questions conceil arrogant nastiness.
To be able to bring about gold, jewels and a palace without menial work in mines, is brilliant. And to be of the right kind is to bear lots of good fruit, all in all.
Outsmarting death, I found that sickly sheep* do not help a lot, no matter what they bleat. You cannot be too smart.
* A metaphor.
"When I am gone, I will not appear in visions to anybody," insisted Yogananda. He could also have said the astounding, "When I have gone out of my mind I can really help;" - but he did not. He told instead he would be watching each of his followers from the pores of the sky - those pores may be figurative, though, or have you seen any such pore?
When you walk over the fresh grass blades, you will be walking over him, too, he writes in his "When I Take the Vow of Silence". Walking on grass, is that stepping on the body of Yogananda and crushing juice out of him now and then too?
If you are afraid the woods have ears, as the Romans said, is that remotely akin to Yogananda's saying that he would watch you "in my living leafy presences"? Did he become The Spy?
There is more to it. In the poem he also says, "I shall not speak except through your reason." Consider that when tactless ones claim to bring messages from Yogananda. I have met such a woman. She also burst out, "You belong to me!"
To speak of grass only for now: Basically, grass is grass, and it is awfully wise to think that, rather than thinking you step on the face of a grass guru or similar things. If such fears keep you indoors most of your life, you could need therapy:
Think "Grass is grass is grass"
You may wonder, "Did anything go wrong with Yogananda, that he should end up like a lawn, saying " I shall mutely watch you / Walking o'er me in the fresh grass-blades"? The best to do is probably to think of other things instead, but maybe not the passage from the Gospel of Thomas where "the water of life" himself says, "Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone; and you will find me there [Logion 77]."
Do it and see what you come up with. Lift up a stone and find a bug. Instead of moaning, "O, leave me alone? Must SRF gurus interfere with grass and wood, what next?" maybe you should read the whole Yogananda poem and get a bit desensitized. At any rate, in your daily life prefer to stand firm and stick to "grass is grass is grass", and "good wood is good wood, no matter what they say". It is a good idea that should not be overlooked and ridiculed. Compare, "A rose is a rose is a rose" by Gertrude Stein as you please. "A skunk is a skunk is a skunk" links up to it too. You may sense an air of Zen here. Garma Chang writes,
After one has attained Satori, he should cultivate it . . . Zen work consists of two main aspects, the "View" and the "Action," and both are indispensable . . . Being a most practical and straightforward teaching, Zen seeks to brush aside all secondary matters and discussions and to point directly to . . . the seeing or viewing of Reality . . . carrying wood, fetching water, sleeping, walking . . . the plain and ordinary mind is Buddha's Mind; "here and now" is the paradise . . . "Carrying wood and fetching water are miraculous performances." This high-spirited, bold view is truly the pinnacle of Zen. [Prz 52-54]
CHARLES DARWIN was once approached by two small boys of the family, whose guest he was. They had caught a butterfly, a centipede, a beetle, and a grasshopper. Taking the centipede's body, the butterfly's wings, the beetle's head and the grasshopper's legs, they had glued them together to make an original insect.
"We caught this bug in the field," they said innocently. "What kind of a bug is it, Mr. Darwin?"
Darwin examined it with great care.
"Did it hum when you caught it, boys?" he gravely asked.
"Yes, sir," they answered, while trying to hide their mirth.
"Just as I thought," said Darwin. "It is a humbug."
In praise of extra common sense
Common sense is in part good calculation applied to life in general. [Cf. Henri Frederic Amiel]
As for good and staunch common sense - enough of it looks like genius and may compete with the gods. [Josh Billings]
Your common sense may evoke criticism from indoctrinated quarters.
There are no soap opera followers, there is no Golgotha, no master love, no guru dangers, and no desert gorillas either if the universe is an illusion, as Yogananda tells now and then.
Sound moderation, decency and tact are too good helpers to be flushed down for the sake of being servile to over-bossy, rude decrees.
Servility and calculated humility can be a bad thing which bars a straight way for the Lord within, and it seems good to mind that.
To the shallow, all looks shallow. To the sallow, maybe nothing matters.
If the time has not come for God to run the universe backwards in the now, or if there is not a time for everything, we may be onto something. In top-notch physics no one says merely "Bah" to a deviant tenet just because it looks odd. Instead the polite way of handling is "That is an interesting proposition. Now prove (document) it is so." To wait for the proof to be given, is thoughtful, but do not overrun that any waiting period should be used for your own benefit too. Do consider the burden of proof rests on the one who proposes, and learn to put unresolved issues at rest, in suspense, to be freed to go forward. [Cf. Thd].
By reaching too deep into your pocket you can reach your heart. Do not do that.
Joking aside, to reach deep enough is to reach the heart. Add "perhaps" to that yourself. If you do not attune yourself to your own heart, how can you reach the hearts of others without manipulating a lot?
Even if you cannot document things, they could lighten your way anyway, for unproved is not necessarily unfit.
There is a silver lining to many a cloud. Have you considered how someone with violent hiccup may be saved in a very real way? - Not from hiccup, but by it?
Entering a violent sect, a person with extreme hiccup may escape it on a good day, or be driven out, because he or she disrupts a lot due to a minor ailment - escapes the jaws of suppresson and advancing death as an individual, not to speak of the massive, nervous sectarian tensions. Due to her hiccup she could in time mutter gladly to herself, "God may still be for me, by hiccup."
Maya and Figure-Forming
What is called "figure" in ancient Greek, corresponds nicely with the Sanskrit concept "maya" as I understand it. Maya is food for thought, Maya is figures from depths we should explore more often, as by dream analyses on waking up after dream sleep. [Link]
Also, we understand through fair maya, that is through good figures. Imagination, insight, learning - all that is had by figures out of the deep inner side. Prowess is had next, on top of such items.
By stringing and gluing well chosen "figure-bundles", maya-items, we can evolve a plan for well-chosen actions.
Through a comparison, much may be made somehow understandable. But "the comparison halts" too. And some comparisons are not really helpful either. There are lots of them.
What is called kriya yoga is for getting horse-power - an image of God (Brahman) in ancient Upanishadic literature. Here we get an inkling that figurative ways from alien settings may look obscure. [So]
Kriya yoga can be told of or compared to sextasy, drinking whisky, getting drunk, and much else. But basically it is breathing in and out in a regulated way, and the core practice is called ujjayi too. [Link]
Quantum physics has found grand both-and thought forms to wield plenty of control and mastery over some dominant aspects of nature, and it has been found to work on an even keel, even though this airy look may seem bizarre to common men - [Cf. Thd, index: "von Neumann"]
Some gurus of Self-Realization Fellowship - and others - claim on the Internet that they are/were Krishna. Better be prepared.
Where some gurus say, "I am Krishna," they may not mention that in the Bhagavad Gita he says he is the fable monster Makara, fraud, and death. [Bhagavad Gita 10:31-36]. They focus on other attainments, presumably.
"Jhashaanaam makarashchaasmi srotasaamasmi jaahnavee . . . (Among the fishes I am the shark . . .)" in Sivananda's Gita [emphasis added].
The monster Makara is halfway crocodile, halfway dolphin, explains Dr. Poul Tuxen [Wyp 69]. That may be a bit too terse, though.
According to the Buddhist tradition, during the time right after the Buddha's Awakening, all hatred vanished from the world. Then animals that had been foe and prey mated with each other, and produced offspring such as makaras. And according to Hindu mythology, Makara, a mythical creature, is the vehicle of the goddess Ganga and Varuna, and also connected with the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. It is also connected with love and lust. Traditionally, a makara is thought of as a water creature; in some traditional accounts it is a crocodile, and in some a dolphin. Others again portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head. In astrology, it is the sign of Capricorn. [Wikipedia, s.v., "Makara"]
Interestingly, perhaps, is that the only "real" Makara, the only "real" fable monster never insists he is Krishna, nor does he say, "I am the Great Monster." It is the same with sharks, supposedly. In several Gita translations, 'Makara' becomes 'shark', by the way, by appoximation. What conclusion might be drawn without sin?
The shark is the shark; you may know it in part by the way he does not tell he is so. A fable monster does not open its mouth either - has no real mouth to open. Is it a fit lesson?
"God" can be different things. Basically your inner Self, it is said, and a lot of gods also. The "henotheistic" view, as the Oxford scholar F. Max Muller phrased it, is that many gods and goddesses can carry the worshipper into their godhood by regular worship. "Yahweh" or "God" in the Bible's view, is "I am" with divergent interpretations. [Exodus 3;14-15]
That Yahweh also was a man who ate meat in front of Abraham, the Bible specifies. He was a meat-eater, it says. Today many have other and perhaps better foods available, such as Brussels sprouts. From South America and Meso-America come amaranth (flour) avocado pears, bootle gourda, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, cassava, cerimans, cerimoyas, chayote, chia seeds (salvia hispania), cocoa, fuchsia berries, guava fruita, oca, papaya, passion fruit, peanuts, pineapplea, prickly pears, runner bean, sapodilla fruit, squashes and pumpkins, string beana, sunflower seeds, sweet corn (maize), sweet pepper, sweet potatoes, tamarillo, tomatoes, - Thank you, South America and Meso-America! [Genesis 18;1-10]
God in the Bible had no tomatoes to go with the veal - no potatoes, no guacamole - and not much else that we know of. How tasty and useful these fine foods can be.
Levels of Tales
In reading heart-warming tales, there is the fun at first encounter; outwitting the devil; whatever lies deeper; perhaps masked figurative suggestions; and the exposing of how gullible ones are fooled; and hints of handling standards halfway beneath the surface. [Cs]
"Prevention is better than no cure".
To the degree that modern "Salvation is from the Jews only [John 3;22] gurus of Hinduism are not fit to bring it unless they convert and remove their foreskins. More would be needed too. Your part may be to ponder, such as "Saved from what? Saved to what? Saved along what? What does 'saved' mean, really?"
Gurus may not agree that salvation is from the Jews only. I have not heard on any such gurus at all.
"WHY LOOK down on the sewers ... when there is loveliness all around us," asks Yogananda rhetorically.
One reason is obvious: Watch your steps so that you don't end in the sewers. And there is no evidence that humble-yourself-Jesus took to living in the sewers.
The So-called Three Wise Men
The prudent are crowned with knowledge. [Proverbs 14:18]
Paramahansa Yogananda asserts in a talk that he and the other three Indian gurus of SRF were there when Mary gave birth to Jesus. According to him, then, the reborn wise men of Luke were among the Self-Realization Fellowship gurus "because he said it" and his direct disciple Kriyananda has published his claims. The same has Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship done.
"There are wise men, men that are called wise men, and men that aspire to be called these men reborn."
And do not feel belittled by so-called wise men who could not understand or foresee what Herod was up to. It resulted in many children being killed by Herod. Another good reason not to feel awkward is what Jesus said to angry Jews who would stone him: "I have said you are gods." [John 10:34]
Accordingly, if you are not among the chosen few, at least you may be crowned with honour and glory, for that is man's honour according to the Old and New Testament. At any rate, feel free to do the best you can as long as you like it, wearing a crown on your head or not:
What is man that you are mindful of him . . . that you care for him?
It sounds good.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
Cs: Aesop. The Complete Fables. Translated by Olivia and Robert Temple. London: Penguin, 1998.
Of: Fuller, Edmund. 2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions. New York: Wings, 1970.
Prz: Chang, Garma C. The Practice of Zen. New York: Perennial/Harper, 1970.
So: Deussen, Paul, tr. Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Vols 1-2. Varanasi: Banarsidass, 1980.
Thd: Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. London: Rider, 1979.
Tp: Walters, James Donald. The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi. Nevada City: Crystal Clarity, 1977.
Via: Nikhilananda, swami. Vivekananda. The Yogas and Other Works. Rev. ed. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1953.
Wy: Tuxen, Poul, tr. Bhagavadgita. Herrens Ord. København: Gyldendal, 1962.
Yj: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.
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