Nāda: The MicroCosmic and MacroCosmic Rhythm

Most of us can remember a fundamental concept taught to us in school when we learned of Molecular Motion, States of Matter and Gas Laws:

“All molecules are in constant motion. Molecules of a liquid have more freedom of movement than those in a solid. Molecules in a gas have the greatest degree of motion.”

We now know that even atoms and sub atomic particles are in constant motion. Everything from within the microcosm to the macrocosm is in perpetual motion. Incidentally, this concept has also been integral to the authoritative religious texts in Hinduism. Some intuitive findings of the ancient seers or Rishis, of India,  are based on the premise that the entire cosmos and all that exists in the cosmos, including human beings, consists of sound vibrations, called nāda. This concept holds that it is the sound energy in motion rather than of matter and particles which form the building blocks of the cosmos.

Dr. Robert E Svoboda maintains, in his article THE SOUNDLESS SUSURRATION OF THE KINDLY HEART ” Viewed from the perspective of creation, nada is “that which expresses,” the sound current from which manifestation occurs. From the perspective of dissolution, however, nada is the resonance that follows bindu, the last point that the experiencer holds to before relinquishing all sense of time and space. The transcendent bruit that is nada begins to reverberate through one’s self-awareness as soon as all differentiating thought disappears. Nataraja straddles the bindu fence between creation and destruction, everlastingly awash in the nada tide that He Himself engenders.

Nothing in the universe moves but Nataraja; all else that shifts position, form or condition does so solely through His whirl. Nataraja is the perfect embodiment of a Vedic formula for compressing Reality into words: satyam, rtam, brhat (“the true, the harmonious, the vast”). Reality exists (it displays truth, satyam), it has a natural order or rhythm (rtam) which is self-perpetuating and self-correcting (it is harmonious), and it is all-pervasive, extending beyond the farthest reaches of the human imagination (it is vast, brhat). Nataraja’s form expresses the solidification of resonance, the congealing of music and dance into form. The word ambara can also mean “garment,” and chid-ambaram thus also means “clad in consciousness,” in the same way that a naked sadhu is sometimes spoken of as being dig-ambara, “sky-clad, clothed in the ten directions.” Awareness covers the Lord of Dance, it surrounds Him as it emerges from Him. Alone at the center of the cosmos, He is the embodiment of the consciousness that gave the cosmos birth. Within the human microcosm Nataraja relentlessly dances a tarantella of blood and lymph at the heart-center, thumping out the rhythm of heartbeats endlessly disseminating oxygen and prana, the life force. Like the heart, which sits at the core of the chest, the center of any space or image, in or out of the body, should be relatively empty of matter but full of prana. Any central area is a “heart,” a chid-ambaram that should reflect and express ultimate nature, ultimate sound and rhythm by concentrating prana there. Prana, mind and breath all work together, in the internal and the external universe alike.”

The power (Hara) of the unmanifested absolute (Shiva), when manifested becomes the dynamic cosmic energy (Shakti), much like potential energy transforming into kinetic energy, from inertia to motion. The sound of this energy when “expressed” as Svoboda says, creates matter in various forms and size, ranging from atoms to galaxies to universes.

In the human form, the energy itself, first, manifests into thousands of ethereal energy channels or meridians (72,000) that carry the nada in and out of the body. It is my supposition, that these channels are thus called the naadis.

Inherent, within the nada, are laya and taala, the tempo and the beat. It is no wonder then why human beings are inherently perceptible to music at any age. Rhythmic vibrations, interspersed with silence, pattern within silence and silence within pattern. Space within matter and matter within space, matter that is nothing but energy bound in certain vibrations. We and the whole universe is nothing but these vibrations within and without.

 

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To have a Guru or Not to Have a Guru is NOT the question!

When you think of Hinduism or traditional Indian culture, the concept of a Guru (the spiritual master), is more indispensable and more quintessential than the concept of God. The proverbial haiku by Saint Kabir ” Guru Govind dono khade kaa ke laagu paaye. Balihari Guru aapki, Govind diyo bataye” which translates to “Whilst in the dichotomy of the Guru (the spiritual master) and Govind (God) appearing simultaneously in front of me(kabir, the spiritual aspirant), at whose feet do I offer my obeisance first? I (kabir) choose to first bow to my Guru, as only through my Guru could I have realized God”.  This is perhaps the most commonly accepted testimony to the necessity of a spiritual master.

Then again, a Guru who could churn out a disciple like Kabir, must have been some guru indeed. For, Kabir is considered to be a realized soul, yet  he did not become a sadhu, nor did he ever abandon worldly life. Kabir, chose instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, a tradesman and contemplative. This was something rare in those days, when abandoning the world, to vanish in a secluded cave in the Himalayas at the drop of a hat, was a precondition to most spiritual quests.

Having the right Guru is like being a son to a billionaire. We start of with a lot of bank balance. But ultimately, it is upon us to invest these funds judiciously. If I am a wastrel, even under the tutelage of the best of Gurus, the spiritual quest is destined to fail. Now, if a Guru is not apt, and has some selfish motives, the disciple is knocking on the wrong door already.

On the other hand, If we do not find or stumble upon a Guru to guide us, by the analogy, one is a pauper by birth. But that by no means  no judgement to whether one can become a billionaire or not. It all boils down to our own belief and tenacity for a cause. Transcending belief are love and compassion for a cause.

Most religions proclaim that God is within oneself. If God is in everyone of us, it should be more than evident, that our spiritual quest must begin by loving ourselves, accepting ourselves and the conditions as “we see them to be” to be the conditions that God himself is living in. Only then can we begin to see beyond the faux pas in others, and see the good in them. A person, powered by love, is a person powered by relentless belief. If we love and believe, we can learn from everyone and everything. Life itself becomes the greatest spiritual master.

I see some of my friends conduct acts of kindness, when I look at them, I am inspired and they are then my Gurus. In India we do not have to go far actually, to find Gurus. An average Indian woman, assumes the role of a mother, sister, wife, homemaker and bread-earner flawlessly. She is indeed the very embodiment of the divine Universal energy, seamlessly donning multiple hats. No one can be a better Guru on time management, humility, selfless service and compassion, than her.

Then do we need to seek a smart orator, in ochre robes, who sits on a high chair and siphons money out of unwary devotees on the premise of some divine communion? I see my daughter, 1.5 years old, who without a moments hesitation feeds me a morsel of the bread that I give her to eat. That is unconditional love there. What does she know, if I am going to be a good father or not, if I am a worthy individual to be with or not.  She just performs this innocuous act out of pure love. There is no judgement here. She is my guru!

To have a Guru or Not is never the question. If we truly believe, then spirituality, Guru, religion, love, life and God will all happen.

Caste Away

Purushasuktam

 The Purusha Suktam, to quote wikipedia, “gives a description of the spiritual unity of the universe. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it.[2] From this being, the sukta holds, the original creative will (later identified with Brahma, Hiranyagarbha or Prajapati) proceeds which causes the projection the universe in space and time.[3] The Purusha sukta, in the seventh verse, hints at the organic connectedness of the various classes of in the society.”

This is a verse from the Purusha Suktam.
Brahmanoasya mukhamasida bahu rajanyakritah. Uru tadasya yadvaishya padabhyam kshudro ajayat. (Rigveda 10.90.12, Yajurveda.31.11)

Despite other rich spiritually meaningful verses the sukta offers, this particular verse stands out. It seems to have deeply affected the development of Hindu beliefs and traditions as we know today.  The Hindu caste system or the Varnas, have an inseparable association with this verse. The inception of the varna {class} system can be traced back to this innocuous verse from the Vedas. 
 
Literally translated, the verse means, Brahmanas are the mouth of the Purushaha, Kshatriyas his arms, Vaishyas his thighs and Kshudras his feet. 
 
Gross misinterpretation of the Sanskrit verse, could be a probable cause of all contemporary communal feuds.  The Purusha suktam describes and glorifies the “Cosmic Being”. It quantifies and qualifies the physical, metaphysical and spiritual properties of the Purusha. Like in poetry, the opulence of the Purusha are metaphorically and exotically presented.
Since the sentiment is to describe the qualities of the Purusha, let us revisit the verse, with this sentiment. 
Brahmano-asya mukham-aasid
The mouth, more appropriately the quality of speech of the Purushaha is that of all the brahmanas combined. Thus the cosmic being possesses the collective knowledge of all creation.
Bahu rajanyakritah
The arms represent the collective strength of all the warriors. It should be noted that warriors were also called “Bahu balis” the one with strong arms. Thus the Purusha is poetically said to have immeasurable proportions of strength in his arms.
Uru tadasyad-vaishya
 Vaishyas represent, tradesmen, merchants, craftsmen and skilled workers who form the central support system of an economy. Comparable, to the femur (thigh bone), which  is closest to the centre of the body in all vertebrates. It is also the strongest and the largest bone in the body. The Purusha’s thighs are comparable to the combined reliability of support that all the Vaishyas have to offer. 
 
Alternatively it can also signify the sedentary working style of the Vaishyas and might be an allegorical reference to the ones who are seated all the time.  
 
Padavyaam kshudro ajayat
Those who perform hard labor, masons, laborers et al, are the foundation of development of a system. The Purusha’s body is such a system, of which the feet are the foundation. Again an allegorical attempt.  
 
The stratification of the zones of the Purusha’s body are allegorical representation of delegation of responsibilities within a system. It does not dictate or suggest any economic discrimination or social discrimination. Any individual is free to choose any of the four responsibilities, with the implicit urge to fulfill the responsibilities reliably. 

The path to salvation is open to all the four sects of responsibility.  

 

Dharma: An authoritarian way to create boundaries

Seek knowledge. Be it Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hebrew or Hinduism,
don’t hate them for what they are, because we don’t really know what they
teach.
Forget the people who represent them verbally or textually. When people start re-presenting
a religion, they corrupt it. Religions do not need to be understood. There is nothing to understand.
If a man was designed to be content with what he had, he would be content with one religion
too!
To the core they all (religions as we know today) create boundaries, they promote
separation, calling it a search for ‘something’ that is not given by the
existing.
So what is that something and how it should be searched or achieved, by whatever means (prayers, devotion, non action, zen, knowledge, intuition, yoga and all that).
Before we address the question of what is that something. We need to understand what is meant by ‘existing’. What exists and what does not?
In the end the only religion is knowing our self. Any and all religions are powerful tools for self discovery. Any other definition of religion is just plain escapism, blatant denial of the truth. A religion can be shed off, adopted and used.
All religions are fighting the predominant boundaries which have been suffocating the world,
annexing and expanding under the pretext of religion. It is inevitable, wars are inevitable. This is a bigger system plan. The system of selfs.
Diverse selfs, diverging as long as the universe and creation diverges, galaxies,
universes, men, ants, plants, planets all being spewed and spawned. Which is why
diversity will remain, wars from cellular level to universal level will happen. In Hinduism, we believe that creation itself was born out of conflict, or ‘dvandva’ or dualism.
It is a profound concept that merits years of debate or understood instantly if one wishes to.
But what is more fascinating is the idea that dualism was born out of non-dualism and shall merge into non-dualism. When we connect to the current driving all this, we are indifferent.