Monday, May 2, 2016

Spirit, Grace, Tantra and the Bliss of Identity

Joy is prayer--joy is strength--joy is love. --Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Bliss of Identity

All nature is taught in radiant ways to move
All beings are in myself embraced
O fiery boundless heart of joy and love,
How are you beating in a mortal's breast!

It is your rapture flaming through my nerves
and my cells and atoms thrill with You;
My body your vessel is and only serves
As a living wine-cup of Your ecstasy.

I am a center of your golden light
And I its vast and vague circumference;
You are my soul great, luminous and white
And Yours, my mind and will, and glowing sense.

Your spirit's infinite breath I feel in me;
My life is a throb of your eternity.
--Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems
The Idea of Tantra 
When you are alone and in your own place, you are dancing for the god and identifying with it. This whole idea is basic to Tantra: to worship a god, you must become that god. No matter what you call the god or think it is, the god you worship is the god you are capable of becoming.
The power of a deity is that it personifies a power that is in Nature and in your nature. When you find that level, then you are in play. That is the work of art in general, because art is really worship.
--Joseph Campbell, Reflections on the Art of Living


Does God Exist? 
Perceptible and yet not perceptible; invisible and yet powerful, real like the energy--charged air, wind, storm, as important for life as the air we breathe: this is how in ancient times people imagined the Spirit, and God's "invisible" workings... Spirit as understood in the Bible, means--as opposed to flesh, the force or power moving from God. An "invisible" force that is effective, powerful, creative, or destructive for life in judgement, in creation, in history, in Israel and later in the [Christian] Church. It comes upon one powerfully or gently, stirring up love, ecstasy, often producing extraordinary phenomenon, active in great minds of courage, of Moses, warriors, singers, prophets and prophetesses.
The Spirit is not--as the word itself might suggest--the spirit of mankind. This is the Spirit of God, who in the [oneness] Holy Spirit is the light of all creation and the world. He is not any sort of magic, supernatural aura, or magical being of an animistic kind. The Spirit is the One, the God himself. He is God close to mankind and the world... comprehending, bestowing, but not bestowable, free, not controllable; he is life giving love, power and force. A wind blowing through all of Creation by divine will, but not by any force."
He comes where he is willed and stays afar from where he is not, in a sort of Divine wisdom, the Spirit waits to be called.
--Hans Kung, Does God Exist?


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sadhana, the realization of life

"There is a bond of unity between our two eyes which makes them act in unison."  Sadhana; the Realization of Life by Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, mystic and writer known for his elegant, lyrical writing style; he also is known for his Nobel Prize win for literature in 1913. Written in his philosophical prose style, Tagore's  book, Sadhana, the Realization of Life, addresses many aspects of the Self and the world. He writes for example, that opposites do not bring confusion; in reality they bring harmony. Rhythm can never be born of disharmony, or of  "the haphazard struggle of combat."

This principle is the chief mystery of all unities. Unity in Tagore's mind could be viewed as: the one which appears as the many. And while seeming to be opposite, it is the truth, a paradox of sorts. He writes of a great poem, as a compilation of most pleasing sounds, yet if one stops to hear the import of those sounds, something more emerges; 'the inner connects to the outer [meaning].'

In the following poem below Tagore writes a bit of this and other ideas further discussed in prose style in his book, Sadhana. The poem is 'a thing of beauty which transcends grammar, laws' and becomes unto itself.

By Rabindranath Tagore

I wonder if I know him
In whose speech is my voice,
In whose movement is my being,
Whose skill is in my lines,
Whose melody is in my songs
In joy and sorrow.
I thought he was chained within me,
Contained by tears and laughter,
Work and play.
I thought he was my very self
Coming to an end with my death.
Why then in a flood of joy do I feel him
In the sight and touch of my beloved?
This 'I' beyond self I found
On the shores of the shining sea.
Therefore I know
This 'I' is not imprisoned within my bounds.
Losing myself, I find him
Beyond the borders of time and space.
Through the Ages
I come to know his Shining Self
In the 'If ' of the seeker,
In the voice of the poet.
From the dark clouds pour the rains.
I sit and think:
Bearing so many forms, so many names,
I come down, crossing the threshold
Of countless births and deaths.
The Supreme undivided, complete in himself,
Embracing past and present,
Dwells in Man.
Within Him I shall find myself -
The 'I' that reaches everywhere.