Part I

The approach of sahaja

In order to commune with reality, you need to have the sensitivity of the poet. Only the person who has feeling and reverence for life can penetrate from the gross to the subtle. Only the person with a soft heart and gentle disposition is able penetrate the secrets of existence and reach the essence.

So the poet and the philosopher are different. The philosopher has a penetrating perception but in the act of trying to reach understanding, he discards what he believes to be the inessential. So he rejects the transitory and the apparently limited and relative and tries to identify his consciousness and his life with what he believes to be the essential content of reality. This is an exclusive approach to the substance of life.

When the poet perceives he also penetrates the limited and the transitory to reach the essence but he does it in a gentle way. The difference is in the way he does it which means his relationship with reality is different.  The poet does not discard either intellectually or emotionally the transitory and the limited. His is not an exclusive approach. It is an all-inclusive look at things. He does not divide up and analyse and break into pieces the wholeness of the reality.  In the perception of the poet, the unessential as the transitory does not get discarded. It is not broken up, shattered or torn apart.

If you have ever watched a mountain stream, the water is very gentle and it is the gentleness of the water that has the capacity to pierce through the rocks. It is the same with the approach of the poet.

You have to understand the difference of approach. The philosopher takes an exclusive approach and so there is a kind of intellectual isolation and stiffness in the psychic structure of his being which limits his ability to relate. But the poet as a lover of life, does not discard even the minutest detail. The transitory and relative is all included in his perception and so form never obstructs his view of the formless. The relative does not prevent the poet from living in contact and communion with the essence. Living in the world amidst the conditioned and the limitations, the poet’s relationship with the inner reality remains vibrant and intact. Whereas when faced with life the philosopher is rigid. There is resistance to that which does not fit within the boundaries of his ideas. His ideas won’t bend to the constantly changing landscape of life.

So one needs to have a gentleness of approach, like the gentleness of the water in the mountain stream. One needs to be in communion with the reality without discarding the transitory. And so there is the dance of acting in the limited while remaining in communion with the timeless reality. In the human body there is the dance of life as change through the manifestation of all the energies of the impulses, emotions, thoughts, relationships, pleasures and disappointments. In the cosmos there is no pleasure or disappointment. There is just joy. But in the human form there is both sweet and sour, pleasure and disappointment. The only problem is that we have created a world that is full of conflict and misery because we don’t recognize how to live. If we could learn how to properly relate to each other and the cosmos then this earth would be a paradise.

The inter-relatedness of life

There is nothing inanimate in life. Life is not a totality that has been artificially created by assembling parts and putting them together. Space, earth, water, fire and air have not been assembled to create the cosmos. The cosmos is a homogeneous, self-generated, self-sustaining organic wholeness. The basic truth that has to be understood is that the whole cosmos is an organism of inter-relationship. The planet earth is a living organism that is pulsating with life. Life permeates all bodies. It permeates everything. The earth is not a thing. A tree, a river and a mountain, they are not things. They are beings that pulsate with the vibration of life energy. The whole cosmos is a living organism. It has parts just as the body has parts. The trees, the mountains, the oceans, the rivers, the animals and the plants and human beings, they are all inter-related in a mysterious and intelligent way. So there is the organic wholeness of life. There is an inter-relatedness between every being and every expression of life. An intelligent harmony pervades the entire cosmos.

The Cosmic significance of man

The cosmos has the shape of an egg. The reality is seen and felt as a wholeness. It is circular. There are no angles and it is not the assembly of parts. The beingness of the cosmos is its wholeness and circularity. And so the cosmos is described as a circular abode. The holistic abode of reality.

The cosmos is the macrocosm and the human body is the microcosm.  The reality living and permeating the cosmos is called brahmananda and the reality dwelling in the human body is called atman. So there is the supreme reality permeating the cosmos and the supreme reality living in the human form as atman.

One has to understand this figuratively. The cosmic body of the cosmos has organs just as the human body does. The first is akasha or space. The second is sound. The third is agni or fire which has two principles which are motion and light. Due to motion and sound in space, there is prana or energy. The fourth is water. And the fifth is earth.

The human form which is part of the cosmos is both composed of these five principles as well as being surrounded by them. The earth is a being composed of these principles with its own vitality. The oceans, rivers and mountains are also beings (we might say living eco-systems) composed of these principles. They are not inanimate objects. They are not dead matter. They have their own life energy. And so we describe them as beings. Space too is pulsating with life.

The wholeness of life involves and includes these beings or principles which are self-contained yet inter-related and constantly interacting. It is this ongoing interaction that generates the innumerable variety of what people call objects. In its totality, this is the brahmananda as the cosmos.

The human being is part of this and in the human form dwells the atman. The atman is called atman because it lives within the enclosure of the body. The brahmananda is not enclosed. It is the expanse of space. So the supreme reality lives in the limited human form as the atman. So on the one hand there is the unlimited nature of brahmananda and on the other the limited atman. But they are both the same supreme reality.

The beauty of the human form lies in it being limited. It is its limitedness that gives it its uniqueness. The cosmos being a wholeness in itself cannot move. Its nature is beingness or isness. It just is. The beauty of the human form is that the limited body can express the principle of motion. All the five cosmic principles are expressed in the human being which is a beautiful microcosm. At the level of the cosmos as the macrocosm, the proportions and expanse of the cosmos defy expression or description. The isness cannot be defined. It just is. But on the human scale it yields to description. In motion its activities can be described in the particular.

The cosmos gets enriched when it gets condensed into human form. The principles of space, energy, fire, water and earth in conjunction can be directly experienced because the earth becomes the solidity of the body and the water becomes the blood. The vital breath as energy cannot be directly experienced in the cosmos but in the body it is experienced as movement. Fire is experienced directly as warmth and sight. Because there is space, there is sound. So the divine can only be directly felt in the human form. It can be understood in the context of the cosmos but it can’t be felt and experienced in the way that it can be in the human form. That is why in the Upanishads it is explained that mankind is of immense significance in the cosmos. It is condensed cosmos.

The human being as condensed cosmos is in a sense self-contained. It is part of the cosmos yet independent at the same time. It shares the creative energy of the cosmos. There is also the creative energy of reproduction. From the interaction of two beings emerges a third. The human being is an elaborate instrument created so as to be able to express love and the perfume of life.

The human being is unique in that it has the capacity of speech. Speech is a special movement of the vital breath due to the modification of the sound principle. It is a sacred energy which is the interaction between akasha and the vital breath. The impact of the word as speech not only affects other human beings but also can affect other beings and the natural environment of trees and plants.

So the human being is called the special form. It is described as the favourite of Brahman. To be born in human form is both a blessing and a responsibility at the same time. It is a blessing because there is the opportunity to share in the full potential offered by the cosmos. It is a responsibility because one must give expression to the divinity as the real which is enclosed in the human form as the microcosm. According to the Upanishads, the purpose of human life is to give full manifestation and expression to the divinity within. So the way that one lives, interacts with others and the rest of the cosmos and how one conducts oneself is all important.

Just as the human form is composed of the five cosmic principles, the cosmic intelligence is also operative in the human body. How else would it function? So this vast cosmic intelligence operates in the limited frame of the human body. In the human form the cosmic intelligence is given a limited expression. But limitation is not restriction. Limitation is the wealth of life if one understands it. Limitation is particularization. There cannot be form without particularization. So when you understand it properly, limitation is the beautiful fact of life. Freedom or liberation has nothing to do with freedom from the particular. It is not the rejection of limitation. It is not the discarding or turning away from the limited but rather the understanding of the nature of it so that its field of relative utility is appreciated and utilized properly. It is the understanding of the limitations as limitations which is the content of liberation. Freedom is understanding how to work with it.

So if one understands it, one is appreciative for the limitations. This body that is born, lives, grows and eventually passes through what we call death. The cosmic itself cannot die. It is never born and it never dies. It just is.    

The wholeness of the cosmos

There is no movement as regards brahmananda which is the wholeness of the cosmos because there is nowhere for it to move outside of itself.  A bird flies from here to there but the cosmos as the wholeness of life has nowhere that it can go that is outside of itself. The idea of motion in space from here to there and the idea of motion measurable in psychological time does not occur in the brahmananda as the wholeness.

We can explain this with the analogy of the ocean. The ocean is where it is. But within the ocean there is movement. The waves that emerge from the waters of the ocean dance on the surface but it all occurs within the ocean itself. So within the wholeness there can be movement. This is the privilege of the finite. You can point to all the multitude of different forms and count them. They are all included in the wholeness. But there is no counting as far as the whole of the cosmos is concerned.

The wholeness does not grow. It knows no birth, decay or death. It just is. It is a plain isness to which you cannot add either a word or an explanation. It defies all categorization of past or future. It is a timeless presentness as an immeasurable isness. It is a directionless infinity and therefore this wholeness does not move. There is simply nowhere for it to go.

Purusha and prakriti

In Sankhya philosophy there is no creator of the universe or god principle. Rather there is purusha and prakriti. The principle of purusha could be described as the self-luminous intelligence. Intelligence is the nature of life. The isness that I have referred to is that intelligence. When I say intelligence I do not mean something static. So we might call it inteligenceness or intelligencing. It is not intelligence in relation to any object. It is not the attribute of a brain or mind. It is not intellect. What we are talking about is the self-luminous, self-knowing intelligence of the organic wholeness of cosmic life. The luminosity is derived from the intelligence itself. So we can refer to the purusha as this intelligence. Prakriti is energy or the luminosity of intelligence.

Prakriti is nature. Everything is included in that prakriti. All matter gross or subtle is included. What you call your mind, the intellect and the thoughts, that is the subtle matter. All is included in prakriti. It is the realm of energy. Matter as the whole cosmic dance of energies is prakriti.

Purusha is the cosmic supreme intelligence. It is not consciousness human or non-human. It is not a supra-mental consciousness. It is the absolute ground of existence. It is self-arisen, self-sustaining and self-luminous. It is intelligence itself. It is direction-free. Purusha is not of matter. It is something immutable, unchangeable and non-moving.

Where do we feel this self-luminous intelligence that is purusha? Where can we see it? The infinity of space and the emptiness surrounding the planet is the abode of this intelligence. This emptiness is within that self-luminous intelligence. It is not outside. The space containing innumerable energies is the space in which the cosmic dance and the inter-action of energies takes place within the self-luminous intelligence itself. Life is intelligence. When the life manifests itself in the form of the dance of energy it is called prakriti. When the energy takes the form of intelligence it is purusha. So we can see prakriti and purusha as two separate aspects of reality as intelligence and energy but they are really two facets of the same wholeness.

Why?

The human mind always asks the question, “why?” Why do the energies contained in the emptiness of space begin to move? But there is no why to it. Why does a child smile? It is the spontaneous expression of life. Why is there life and love? There is no purpose behind it. It is the expression of the intelligence itself. There is a contentment in the beingness of the intelligence and its spontaneous expression is love. There is no reason why in terms of the conception of purpose in the human mind.

Lila

Why has the cosmos manifested itself? It is lila. It is play. It is the uncaused emergence of the play of life into the infinite variety of shapes and forms. It is like the smile on the face of the child. The innumerable variety of forms and appearances are the smile of cosmic intelligence. This lila is the expression of love. There is no motive. Love has no motive. There is no external creator who sat down and said, “Now I’m going to create a cosmos”. There is no creator apart from creation itself. There is no entity that is separate from or outside of the cosmos. There is no difference of being and becoming, creator or creation. There is only this wholeness that emerges and merges back but always remaining whole.             

The human mind that asks, “Why?” is the mind that has been conditioned by motives. The conditioned mind is inhibited by the idea of purpose. It is caught in its own obsessions with means and ends. And so it occupies itself in the mental arena with its speculations of processes, techniques and formulas. But life is pure innocence. Life is a spontaneity. It is purpose-free and direction-free. Its expression is its own fulfilment. The infinite expresses itself in the finite just as the ocean expresses itself in the waves that appear on its surface.