Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Avidya

Man moves towards something which fulfills the universe by transcending it. --Sri Aurobindo

So,

De-part and be-wholed, like in them seers' dialogues of old, then aim your eros for the heart of the world. --Petey

Obviously it is difficult to wrap our conscious minds around the idea that ultimate reality is infinite, beyond duality, undetermined by any limiting factor, everywhere and nowhere, the deepest within and the furthest beyond; for Him the eye does not see, nor the tongue express, nor the mind grasp. Him we neither know nor are able to teach. Different is he from the known, and different is he from the unknown. So we have heard from the wise, and from Petey.

But at the same time, it is said that we are mirrorcles of the abbasolute, and that our souls are proportioned to the Divine Nature. How can our souls be proportioned to something beyond proportion?

In the words of the Isha Upanishad, ultimate reality is One: Unmoving, it moves swifter than thought. The senses do not overtake it, because it always goes before. Remaining still, it outstrips all that run.... Bright is he, bodiless, without scar or imperfection, without bone, without flesh, pure, untouched by evil.

And yet, deep within us, there is an innersection where it is supposedly possible to "know" this One: The Seer, the Thinker, the One who is above all, the Self-Existent -- he it is that has established perfect order among objects and beings from beginningless time. It's just that The face of truth is hidden by thy golden orb, O Sun. That do thou remove, in order that I who am devoted to truth may behold its glory.

Wha?

O Petey, the merciful, the compassionate, the arbitrary, the obnoxious, trancelight this for us and explain to us what it means! For it all seems a bit vague...

"This is the double or synthetic ideal of the Isha Upanishad: to embrace simultaneously Vidya and Avidya, the One and the Many; to exist in the world, but change the terms of the Death into the terms of Immortality; to have the freedom and peace of the Non-Birth simultaneously with the activity of the Birth" (Aurobindo).

Yes,

"The body does not possess being.... Nor is the human heart any more constant.... The human spirit itself, although endowed with reason, changes; it does not possess being.... No one has in himself unity of being.... Let us return humbly to that One Being. Let us enter that city whose inhabitants share in Being itself."

Wait, that wasn't Sri Aurobindo. That was Sri Augustine.

"Every concept formed by the intellect in an attempt to comprehend and circumscribe the divine nature can succeed only in fashioning an idol, not in making God known."

And that wasn't Swami Rama Lama Ding Dong, that was Gregory of Nyssa. Or, in the words of Dionysius,

"He exists in a superessential mode and is known beyond all understanding only in so far as he is utterly unknown and doesn't exist at all."

Now, just as Sun Ra once visited planet earth and dwelt in Philly, "there is no culture or religion that has not received and does not express a 'visitation of the Word.'" But in different ways, for as Augustine famously remarked, "That which is called the Christian Religion existed among the ancients and never did not exist, from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion which already existed began to be called Christianity."

Ah yes, I get it. Before Abraham was, I AM.

Okay. Therefore, for all time, and outside time, "the Superessential gave up his mystery, and manifested himself by assuming humanity." And because He forever assumed humanity, we can stop making asses of you & me. But only if we put in a little effort, for we are not blood relatives, but adopted relativities.

Could it really be possible that the One is refractured through the Many?

How could it not be?

"That God should have clothed himself with our nature is a fact that should not seem strange or extravagant to minds that do not form too paltry an idea of reality. Who, besides a Dawkins or Harris, looking at the universe, would be so feeble-minded as not to believe that God is all in all; that he clothes himself with the universe, and at the same time contains it and dwells in it? If then all is in him and he is in all, why blush for the faith that teaches us that one day God was born in the human coondition, God who still today exists in humanity?" (Gregory of Nyssa).

Here's the Secret in a knotshall, so listen closely, for I shall not repeat it again, but again and again:

Therefore, the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word contains in itself the whole meaning of the riddles and symbols of Scripture, the whole significance of visible and invisible creatures (Maximus the Confessor).

We are the boundary, the final frontier, "like a mediator between creation and the creator" (Clement). For only man, like the creator himsoph, "escapes all definition" and shares the infinite subjectivity of the Infinite Subject; which is why, as Pascal put it, "Man is something infinitely greater than man," and why, upso downso, we are the only creatures "that can fail to become what we already are by nature.... Biological nature develops us only up to a certain point, and then we must individually, with a great deal of deliberation and with full consciousness, seek the rest" (Hanson, in Schuon). Only thereby do we "become greater than the universe into which we were born and which seeks to take possession of us. Thereby we assert or basic freedom" (Clement).

Ascent you a son, amen for a child's job! That's the New Man, we're just putting him on.

And thank-you we said, thanking the Man
for this undertaking of mortality,
for our daily lessons in evanescence,
for this manifestivus for the rest of us!


*Quotations of the early Fathers taken from The Roots of Christian Mysticism, by Olivier Clement.

13 Comments:

Blogger NoMo said...

Beautiful worship service today, Bob. Focusing on and glorifying the One is always and only edifying.

Here are a few choice words to ponder for the day.

10/11/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Petey suggested, "De-part and be-wholed, like in them seers' dialogues of old..."

...Which brought to mind, from the little-known Perth County Conspiracy:
"Carried away by a wave in the night,
Learning to swim in a lifetime of light;
No need to curtail a song of delight
Fully choking on legends of learning --
Singing the Stories of Old...."

* * *
And this passage -- "In the words of the Isha Upanishad, ultimate reality is One: Unmoving, it moves swifter than thought. The senses do not overtake it, because it always goes before. Remaining still, it outstrips all that run...." -- reminded me of James George's account of a meeting with his teacher:

"After I had met Yogaswami many times, I learned to prepare my questions carefully. One day, when I had done so, I approached his hut, took off my shoes, went in and sat down on a straw mat on the earth floor, while he watched me with the attention that never seemed to fail him. "Swami," I began, "I think..."

"Already wrong!" he thundered."

* * *
Finally, this phrase by Gregory of Nyssa jumped out at me: "...a fact that should not seem strange or extravagant to minds that do not form too paltry an idea of reality..."

That strikes me as the core of the debate with humanists and atheists i.e. what we consider "paltry," and what not.

10/11/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"That God should have clothed himself with our nature is a fact that should not seem strange or extravagant to minds that do not form too paltry an idea of reality."

Feast Day Z
lycaenid daisy
one becomes the other one
recirculation

10/11/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gecko said...

"And thank-you we said, thanking the Man
for this undertaking of mortality,
for our daily lessons in evanescence,
for this manifestivus for the rest of us!"

Sometimes beyond the overwelmingness of it all coon vision replaces confusion.

10/11/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

All praise and thanksgiving Bob.
Today's word carried me away on a wave of remembering to a song of delight. It's on CD now, but not youtube.

10/11/2007 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Read it on my phone on apron. Superb!

NYC tomorrow.

10/11/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous trilobite trogdolyte trollbaiter said...

Is anyone getting the feeling that the last couple of posts were ghost-written by someone other than Robert Godwin?

The usual feel of genuine Bobosity just hasn't been there.

Or is it just me?

10/11/2007 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous dermatology consullt said...

Trollbaiter, I do see what you mean. For instance, the title of today's post is clumsy. "Avidya" does not successfully suggest "enigma." It's not a close-enough match. It's most unlike Bob to make a faux-pas like that.

Perhaps he gave the job to his missus to sneak some time off?

10/11/2007 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Awhhh... there are few things more pitiful than trols without teeth.

10/12/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

T3,
Please don’t talk about my birthday present like that.
Thanks, Bob. (yep 42 yesterday)
Bob paid for it and he gave it for free.
Just say thanks, T3.

10/12/2007 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

T3,
I did not mean ‘paid for it’ literally.

10/12/2007 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Happy Post Paid B-Day Ricky!
(As always, contents may settle during blogger shipping, use both hands for eating, and beware of ecolli)

_iiii_ii_
| |
|________|

10/12/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Ehhh, a mere child!

Happy birthday, Rick!

10/12/2007 07:52:00 AM  

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