This Post is Literally Out of this World!
We left off with a comment about the function of the guru, which is essentially to arouse (≈) in order to awaken (¶). I realize this sounds... whatever, but it's true.
Or, if it's not true, I need to see a neurologist. But in any cerebrovascular event, this formulation has the virtue of eliminating reams of unnecessary pneumababble and logorrhea, and getting straight to the point of it all -- a point that cannot be communicated per se, only awakened.
But what is (≈)? And what is (¶)?
That's for << insert chosen saint or sage here >> to know and you to find out.
Here it is critical to point out that words are undoubtedly capable of arousing (≈), but not through any conventional linguistic understanding. In other words, with everyday profane language, there is a signifier and a signified, i.e., the arbitrary mouth-noise and the thing or concept to which it is attached.
But spiritual language does not point to a concept or thing. Or, to be precise, not only a concept or thing. Why, just yesterday I was reading of how Thomas Aquinas tried to make this clear some seven or eight centuries ago. It's distressing that people still quarrel over it, more distressing still that so many religious mythofolkers do.
Here is how the Angelic Docta' expresses it: "So, whereas in every other science things are signified by words, this science [theology, the divine science] has the property that the things signified by words have themselves also a signification."
Did you catch his meaning, the jive he was signifyin'? Instead of a one way signifier --> signified, or word --> object relationship, it is a two-way signifier <--> signifier relationship -- very much similar to Matte Blanco's description of the symmetrical logic that prevails in the unconscious -- and we say supraconscious -- mind (i.e., the upper and lower vertical).
Thomas says that it is our "spiritual sense" (¶) that allows us to penetrate and unpack the deeper layers of scripture, which he (and others before him) calls the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical. In no way does this devalue the first sense (the literal) since the latter prevents the other senses "from becoming uncontrolled and irresponsible" (Kreeft) -- or prevents the disciplined man from just deepakin' the chopra in some floridly unhinged but lucrative manner.
In other words, thanks to the literal, revelation can't mean just anything. Rather, it places "a sober and strong control on this imaginative aspect of interpretation, like putting a strong rider on a strong horse" (Kreeft).
The literal is analogous to a strong foundation, but we do not limit ourselves to the foundation, do we? Rather, the purpose of the foundation is to build, is it not?
So we want the pillars of this foundation to be plunged far into the depths of the Real, so that we can build something truly grand -- a mansion fit for the human soul, intellect, and spirit. No disrespect, but we have no use for the one-storey ranch-style house of the flatlanders, but nor do we want some elaborate castle built on a swamp of newage sewage. We want some real estate, baby.
At the very minimum, this is a four-storey cosmos consisting of matter, life, mind and spirit. Just as no discerning person would rely on materialism to explain and govern his life, we shouldn't rely on it to exhaustively disclose the meaning of scripture.
Another way of looking at it and listening to it is to say that revelation consists of words about the Word. Scripture is not the word of God, but word about God.
But again, God can in no way be signified -- which is to say, contained -- by language. Rather, he bursts out of any attempt to capture him in our little nets, whether it is language, history, or even the human form (cf. how the body could in no way contain Jesus, whether one is speaking of the Transfiguration or Resurrection). This explains how God can "become man" without in any way being limited by it, for he is always both immanent and transcendent.
In an analogy I have used before, think of a three-dimensional object -- say, your hand -- passing through a two-dimensional space. Place your fingers on a sheet of paper. The inhabitants of flatland will know nothing of the hand. Rather, they will see only five distinct and unconnected points. But then the points will change into circles, and then disappear altogether as they join at the hand and wrist.
Now just imagine a hyperdimensional subject-object passing through four-dimensional spacetime, and you get the picture which can't be drawn. We only see what is on our neurological screen -- Christ "passing" through a particular body at a particular point in history. We cannot see everything that is going on behind the veil of manifestation, i.e., the whole hand. The hand -- which we might call the Cosmic Christ -- is vastly larger then the individual finger -- or the "historical Jesus."
Now, what does this have to do with Abhishiktananda? I would say that his whole life consisted of a sustained effort to know the Hand of God. But not just know. Rather, to be. In order to do this, he himself had to stop identifying with his little finger, and to instead colonize and inhabit a much wider consciousness.
And please do note that even the average man, the vulgar tenured man, spills out everywhere from his human form. Imagine if we actually were limited to sensual knowledge, like an animal! The most important thing to remember about man is that our mind conforms to reality in all its modes and degrees, not just to the material world. But extremists meet, so that the scientific and religious literalist have more in common with each other than they do with a Raccoon.
In Coonspeak, we say that (•) is an adequation to "the world," while (¶) is an adequation to reality. This is hardly to say that (•) is unnecessary, for it is every bit as necessary as the literal aspect of scripture. It is that firm foundation, or better yet, the horse upon which we ride up, in, and out -- to infinity, and beyond!