Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita Interpreted - Part 13

Krishna said:

—You are the Field and the Knower of the Field. The Field is both body and mind; these are ephemeral, transient. They produce the illusion of “I am.” Like clouds, they form and change and pass in time. The Knower is the inviolable Self, which no fire may burn, nor water wet, nor wind make dry. Above the Field, it blazes like the sun where night never falls.

—My creation gives rise to the illusion that the Field is the same as the Knower. But these are not the same. The one who cannot distinguish between them is lost. You are only the eternal Self, not body, not mind. In death they are the clothes you put off, they are the smoke of the pyre. Only the Knower remains. And I am the Knower of all the Fields of My creation.

—The truth of this is plain. Seers and saints sings of it, and in story and scripture propound it. Briefly I will reveal that all elements, and the illusion of “I am,” and the mind, all senses and motion and all that is sensed, attraction and aversion, pain and pleasure, the physical body, thought and awareness, these are the Field.

—Humility, reserve, benevolence, patience, virtue, respect and courtesy, purity, endurance, and self-control, detachment from sense and from objects of sense, modesty and sincerity, awareness of the limits of being, of birth, of aging, of illness and unhappiness, and of death, dispassion toward home and possession, equanimity in censure and success, unwavering devotion to Me, solitude, self-awareness, apprehension of what is Real, all this is the knowledge of the Knower. Its opposite is ignorance.

—I will reveal the object, the purpose, the end of this knowledge. Through it, you may reach the Most High, which has neither beginning nor end, which is neither existent nor nonexistent.

—Within all things it reaches, and faces all directions. It hears all that is spoken and all that is unspoken. It envelops the worlds of creation.

—Without senses, it senses all things. Unsustained, it sustains all things. Nothing contains it, it contains all things. It is the nest, the one that fashions the nest, the tree that bears it, the bird within it, the egg it protects.

—Transcending all qualities of the phenomenal world, it is always in their midst. Transcending all creatures, it is within them all. It is within everything, yet exceeds all things. It is motionless, yet never at rest. Subtler than any subtlety, it is before you, not a hair’s breadth away, yet is more distant than the farthest place.

—It is inaccessible, yet all things have their portion of it. It creates, sustains, destroys all creatures. Light of all lights, no darkness diminishes it. It is the object of knowledge; it is knowledge itself. Here I have revealed the nature of the Field and the Knower. To know these truths is to know with My knowledge. 

—The phenomenal world and the inviolable Self are without beginning in time. The world is inconstant; it is the source of sense and of the qualities of sense. The world creates the conditions for joy and sorrow. Yet it is the Self that experiences them. Within the world, the Self experiences the world's sensations. By attachment to them, the Self is in bondage to the world's ephemeral rewards and punishments.

—The Most High creates, witnesses, and sustains the world. The one who knows the inviolable Self, the phenomenal world of sense and qualities of sense, he is free from the snare of material reward and punishment.

—In contemplation some find the Self, or by insight. Some find it in action. Others, even in ignorance, hear of it and believe in it. All such believers overcome the lures of the world and subdue death.

—All that exists is born through the union of the Field and the Knower. The Most High is in all creatures, but is not contingent on any of them. Wherever you turn your gaze, see the Most High. All action is performed by the world, yet the Self does not act. Seeing that all creatures have but one inexhaustible source, you may reach that source and become one with the Most High.

—Because it has no beginning in time, the inviolable Self transcends all senses and qualities of sense. The Self illumines the mind and body, as the sun shines upon the world. But the world cannot touch the sun; nor can the mind and body touch the Self. The one who distinguishes between the Field and the Knower, and sees how the Self stands apart from mind and body, has reached the Most High.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where Night Never Falls

Krishna said:

—You are the Field and the Knower of the Field. The Field is the body and the mind. These are ephemeral, transient. They give rise to the illusion of "I am." Like clouds they form and change and pass in time. The Knower is the inviolable Self. No fire burns it; no water wets it; no wind makes it dry. It blazes like the sun where night never falls.

My creation gives rise to the illusion that the Field is the same as the Knower, but these are not the same. The one who confuses these is lost. You are only the eternal Self, not body, not mind. And I am the Knower of all the fields of My creation.

I'd been working over these words, which I've paraphrased liberally. At first, I was perplexed. I thought, "What am I, if not the mind?" But the mind is like a pane of glass. Fouled with smoke of selfishness, or self-absorption what can you see through it? But washed clean of pride and anger, or broken, the light of the inviolable Self shines through, "blazing like the sun, where night never falls."

Even still, I thought, "I've not seen this Self. Where is the proof of it?" And then, again in front of me, I discovered where it shines and I realized why who I think I am (this mind) and who I truly am (these words) are not the same, and bear no resemblance to one another.

In The Temple of Hanuman, you will find my true Self. In The End of Reason, you will find my Self again. And every day I struggle to become what I am, and to reveal that light through glass as black as pitch. A few days ago, I discovered not only a way out of the false choices of rage or resignation, of defiance or defeat, and, for the first time in my life, understood the contradiction of who I think I am, and who others think I am, and who I am and will always be, even after this world is a cinder, my mind in oblivion, my body dust. I'd read the words a thousand times and did not understand them, even when I thought I did. And then suddenly, I did understand what my Self has spent my life trying to explain to me. There all along. Hiding in plain sight. I wish you could see it with me; I wish I could share the wonder of this with you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita Interpreted - Part 12

Arjuna said:

—Some worship God by Your name, the one manifest in Your creation. Others worship God beyond all names as the transcendent unmanifest. Between these two paths, which is the best way to Your presence?

Krishna said:

—Those who love Me above and beyond all others, who are devoted to Me, who know Me without doubt or hesitation, follow My way and reach Me. And those who worship Me as the transcendent unmanifest and who restrain their senses, caring for the highest and the lowest, the best and the worst without preference or prejudice, they also reach Me.

—Yet of these two paths, those who worship Me as the infinite, everywhere present, immortal transcendent, their way is more difficult. Not knowing My name, not recognizing My station, how will they find Me, their ineffable goal? I am manifest among the manifest that they might more easily comprehend Me, and love Me above and beyond all others. In My manifest form, they find in Me deliverance from death. I am their manifest way.

—Turn your thoughts to Me alone and you will find the best of shelters. If this is not possible, if your thoughts stray, continue My practice and your thoughts may yet be tamed. If this is not possible, offer your every action to Me and you may yet attain Me. If this is not possible, be devoted to Me, restrain your senses, and renounce the fruit of your every action. Knowledge is superior to study. Meditation is superior to knowledge. But transcending meditation is the renunciation of the fruit of all action. And in renunciation you will find peace and contentment.

—I love him who is without hatred or arrogance, who is equitable to all, who feels compassion, who is detached from the lures of possession, who is untouched by happiness or sorrow, who is patient and satisfied, self-restrained and resolute, focused, dedicating his every thought to Me.

—I cherish him who neither disturbs the world or is disturbed by it, who is unmoved by joy or misery, who is tolerant, unafraid and untormented.

—I bless him who relies on nothing except Me, who is pure and chaste, who is detached and untroubled, who renounces the fruit of all action.

—I delight in him who relinquishes wrath and joy, who rejects sadness and desire, transcending good and evil.

—I treasure him who is equitable to friend and enemy, who is unmoved by glory or abasement, untouched by heat or cold, who restrains his passions, who sees praise or blame with the same eye, contented with his state, who regards not the world as his home, who is focused and devoted.

—Of all these, I love him the most who is faithful to Me, his thoughts ever fixed on Me, who does not hesitate but drinks from the camphor fountain of My Law.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Likeness

“Christ arose, anointed not by oils, but by the tears of believers. From darkness and grief, He emerged and brought His disciples out of limbo. The Jews believed that the Messiah would be a worldly king of a worldly nation. This was their expectation, the very coinage of their pride and ignorance. And this expectation blinded them to the king of kings among them. Jesus did not arise to overthrow Rome, though Rome itself would one day submit to His decree. He did not demonstrate his sovereignty over living men, He who conquered death. As the Romans crucified Jesus, what could the disciples say as darkness filled their minds? ‘Surely he will be rescued from the cross!’ Even the disciples were chained by their expectations of Him. Truth is veiled, and hope is pinioned by expectation. They did not know that what they saw was illusion to all who witnessed the crucifixion. 

“Remember what Ahmad said of Christ. ‘The Jews said, We killed the messiah, the messenger of God. But they did not kill him or crucify him; only a likeness of that was shown to them.’ In Jesus was the likeness, the mirror of God, the expected Messiah. If they broke the mirror, no harm befalls the One reflected."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita Interpreted - Part 11

Arjuna said:

—O Krishna, You have blessed me with the words of the Most High. The light of Your truth has banished the shadow of my delusion. You have revealed that You are the everlasting source and the indestructible support of all being and nonbeing. But let my eyes rest upon Your universal form. Let my eyes testify to the truth of Your words that the darkness of delusion may never again descend upon me or divide me from my love for You. If my eyes can bear it, let me look upon You as You are, O Lord.

Krishna said:

—My friend, look upon Me and see My universal form, radiant and infinite. Look upon My body and see all creatures in the heavens and earth. Look upon Me and see the universe within Me, for there is nothing you desire to see that is not within Me. But mortal eyes cannot bear this divine vision. Therefore, I will give you other eyes.

When Krishna finished speaking, He revealed to His divine form. Arjuna saw Krishna’s countless mouths and eyes, His numberless ornaments and divine weapons shimmering in His limitless hands. Upon His bodies, Arjuna saw celestial robes draped in garlands of flowers scented with heavenly perfumes. Arjuna saw God, infinite and universal, the single source of all miracles.

Beside Krishna, a thousand suns were but a flickering candle vanishing in His light. Within Him, the entire universe, unified, in infinite variations, spun in infinite directions. Arjuna trembled and pressed his palms together, bowing until his forehead touched the fingers of his hands.

Arjuna said:

—Within You, O Lord, I see all creatures of heavens and earth. I see Your attendants, Your devotees, and holy seers making obeisance to You. I see the strength of Your countless arms, the dazzling light of Your numberless eyes. I hear the supreme word from Your countless mouths in the lives of Your numberless bodies. I see in You no beginning, no middle, no end, O infinite God.

—Light around Your crown, Your mace and discus illuminates the universe. My eyes cannot bear this radiance, more glorious than the sun, burning with unquenchable fire. You are the Most High, the best end of all knowledge, the firmest foundation of heaven and earth, the changeless source and support of Your law, the Lord at the beginning of the universe, the Lord at the end.

—Immeasurable Lord, many armed. Your eyes are sun and moon and from your mouths like blazing fires, Your word illuminates Your creation, an unmatched gift to the universe.

—In the span of heavens, there is only You; on Earth, only You; on every horizon, only You; whichever way I turn, only You. All worlds tremble with wonder at Your ubiquitous glory.

—In You, the heavenly hosts press their hands together in submission to Your infinite power. In You, the holiest sages and seers sigh in adoration and sing Your praises without end.

—In You, the hosts of destruction, of fire, of prayer, of sun and moon, of wind and storm, the heavenly charioteers, the spirits of ancestors, the celestial choirs, the treasurers of heaven, the demons of hell, the sages who have attained You, are stunned with awe and amazement.

—In You, they are stunned and wonder at Your limitless forms. They look with fearful eyes into your infinite sharp-toothed mouths. I am terrified of this vision, O infinite God.

—Your head reaches the highest heavens; Your fiery mouths open; Your eyes blazing. I am terrified of this vision, O infinite God.

—Your mouths are aglow with fire at the end of the age. There is no safety or shelter from their insatiable hunger. Have mercy on Your creatures, for there is no refuge except in You.

—The kings and warriors of my cousins and likewise the kings and warriors of my brothers, eager to do battle, I see them hurrying to Your gaping mouths. You crush them, their broken bodies hanging in pieces upon the spikes of Your teeth.

—Like the waters of a great river they gush into the sea, without bottom and limitless. They rush into the blazing fire of Your mouths.

—Like moths before a fire burning brightly they are ablaze and consumed. They hurry to Your gaping mouths, destroyed and devoured.

—Still hungry and unsated, Your mouths engulf the worlds even to the ends of the universe.

—Tell me, O measureless God, why do you fill the worlds with dread? I am obedient; have mercy on Your creation. I wish to understand, O ancient God; I am ignorant and Your ways are incomprehensible.

Krishna said:

—I am Time now ancient, the destroyer of worlds. I am the Last of the age, the Ancient of Days, the End of all things. I have already defeated these warriors, and have destroyed these opposing armies. I spare only you.

—Therefore, stand on your feet, rise up and fight, and your name will never be forgotten. Put your enemies to the sword, for I have conceived their destruction long before you were born. O king among archers, strike them dead with your arrows.

—Your cousins and their allies, the finest of warriors, destroy them! O hand of God, do not hesitate. Destroy them and win victory in battle!

When Arjuna heard these words, he pressed his palms together. Trembling still, he bowed before his friend. Faltering in speech, stunned, he spoke to Krishna.

Arjuna said:

—It is right that You are praised, that You are the beloved of creation. In fear demons fly before You while sages honor You and sanctify Your name.

—In Your presence or in Your absence, though You are never absent, sages make obeisance to You, for You are the Most High, the shelter of creation. You transcend all that is, and all that is not, and all that can be said of You.

—On You creation relies; You are its only support, by You sustained. You are the knower and the best of all things known. You are the straight way and the final destination. All things hang on You, like pearls on a thread.

—You are fire, wind, and water. You are the glow of the moon. You are death. You are the creator, and first of all fathers. I cannot but praise You at every moment for all time. Again I praise You, O God, and yet again without end.

—Whichever way I turn, I praise You. To the north, to the south, to east and west I praise You, for You are found in every direction, mighty Lord; in all directions You are found.

—If in careless ignorance I have called You and named Your name “Krishna, son of Yadu, my friend!” I did not know Your transcendent greatness. Ignorant, but with affection for my friend, if I have dishonored You alone or in the presence of others, or if I have teased You in games, or at rest, or at feast, I seek Your forgiveness, O infinite God.

—Of the quick and the strong, You are the source of speed and strength. Among the sages, You are their worthiest master. Who is better than You, who even Your equal? None! For Your power is boundless and unlimited, extending throughout Your creation, and beyond even what You create.

—Therefore, I praise You and bow down before You and seek Your forgiveness. O infinite Lord, I am the foolish son at the feet of his father. I am the thoughtless friend beseeching his friend. I am the one who loves, and You are the best beloved.

—I am awed by this vision of You. I am shaken and afraid, O Lord. Restore my mortal sight to see You again in mortal form. I seek shelter from You in You, O God Supreme. Let me see You as before, in Your mortal form, O immortal and infinite God.

Krishna said:

—Because I love you, by My grace, I have revealed to you My universal form, ancient and without end. No other has seen this vision.

—Through no offering, no study, no scripture nor rite, no sacrifice, no self-mortification can I been seen as you have seen Me. None but you have seen My universal form. You have seen Me in My divinity. But now I will ease your fear and confusion. Look upon Me now, the man you have known.

With these words, Krishna revealed Himself again, taking his human form. And Arjuna was no more afraid and was at peace when he beheld his familiar friend.

Arjuna said:

—Now that You are again the man I have known, my senses are restored and I am at peace.

Krishna said:

—You have seen Me in My infinite form. Even the celestials are envious of this glimpse I have granted you. Not with scripture or austerity, not with gift or sacrifice, however great and wondrous, can I be seen as I truly am. Only through love of Me alone and above all others can I be seen or ever known. Devoted to Me, acting for Me without selfish motive or desire for reward, at peace with My creation, knowing Me without doubt or hesitation as the Most High, only he shall come to Me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Her Name on His Lips

O you with the wounded heart,
Whose tears, like smoke, reach the heavens.
Let your eyes rest a moment here,
Upon this tale of love and madness.

Have you heard the tale of Layli and Majnun? In the Hejaz, long centuries ago, Majnun fell in love with the girl, Layli. Every day he recited to any who would listen verses of love for her. The wind did not draw breath that was not suffused with Layli’s name. But her father did not approve of Majnun, thinking him too passionate, which he equated with stupidity, too besotted, which he considered inconstancy, and too poor, a greater fault than the others together. On Majnun’s verses alone, Layli could not subsist. Though Layli loved Majnun, her father forbade her to see him or speak with him. Yet Majnun persisted in his devotion. 

Majnun’s love is an old tale. Layli is not so well-remembered for loving Majnun, but her love was never doubted even, when at her family’s prompting and in obedience to her father, she married another man. When Majnun heard of Layli’s marriage, he exiled himself in the wilderness, living a life of solitude and deprivation. Yet still he wrote verses for Layli, extolling her beauty and her virtues. When pilgrims passed through the land, Majnun gave them scraps of bark or stone upon which he etched words of love for Layli. These they would take to Layli; she would pay them with a few coins and send them back with letters for her beloved. At last, however, Layli’s family discovered the truth and her father intercepted every pilgrim sent to see Layli, destroying Majnun’s messages, and allowing Layli to think Majnun had forgotten or abandoned her. Yet Majnun wrote still faithfully every day, never again hearing a reply from Layli. 

Layli was dejected, wondering why Majnun’s messages no longer came. Her father said, ‘He was inconstant. He has forgotten you; his love was never true or real. He deceived you, tempting you to ruin. But, now that you have children and a household to look after, he has lost interest and moves on to other more easy prey.’ And, at last, Layli wondered if her father was right. Had Majnun ever loved her? Thus, she doubted Majnun’s love, yet it was her love that was weak and wanting. 

Layli remained faithful to her husband, raised their children, worked every day, but always with that emptiness in her heart that Majnun’s voice once filled with joy. Only in absence now did she recall his presence. But resigned to her duties as wife and mother, she lived her life not knowing that Majnun still loved her, dreamed each night of her, and woke each morning with her name on his lips.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

With Eyes Filled with Blood

I am no friend of evil, of lies or dishonor. And I am sickened by the world men make. Yet when I think of Iblis, my heart aches twice: first for knowing something of Iblis’ despair, second for its resemblance to my own.

When God the Most High cast Iblis down, distorting his appearance, depriving him of his beauty, Iblis fell from the heights of His presence. Those who pledged fealty to Iblis were cast down with him and each saw the world below through thick haze of moon-washed lands and seas of blackest ink. Rejoicing they opened their arms to embrace the corrupted world of men. But Iblis did not look; he fell with his back to the earth, his eyes filled with blood and his sight never deserting the heavenly realm of God’s celestial throne.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita Interpreted - Part 10

Krishna said:

—Arjuna, hear again the words of the Most High. Because you love Me and are devoted to Me, hear again these supreme words and the truth of them will enlighten you. None in the heavens or earth know My beginning, for I am all beginnings. I am the everlasting Lord of worlds. I am unborn, transcending all beginnings, all endings. Knowing this without doubt, you will overcome delusion and be unstained by evil. 

—Wisdom and knowledge, perception and restraint, honesty and serenity, patience and forgiveness, insight and nonviolence, joy and sorrow, being and nonbeing, fear and freedom from fear, austerity and generosity, fame and dishonor—all the attributes of men come from Me and no other. The first of men was born at My behest and likewise the wisest of sages. Know that I am everywhere present, with neither beginning nor end. Believe this with absolute sincerity. Knowing that I am the source of all things in all the worlds of My creation, the wise delight in Me and are filled with joy and contentment. Their thoughts fixed on Me, giving up their lives in My path, recounting tales of My action and the words of My wisdom, the wise delight in Me and are filled with joy and contentment. Through their love, I am generous to them, granting to them this vision of Myself, which eclipses all senses. I dispel the darkness of their ignorance, and fill them with the light of My wisdom.

Arjuna said:

—You are the Most High, the only shelter, the source of holiness, unborn and eternal. You are the divinity of the divine, everywhere with us, surpassing all and unsurpassed. You are God. The wise have declared this, and You have revealed this, and I have no doubt that Your supreme word is true. Only You can pierce Your mystery, for no other can know You, You who are the source of all things in the heavens and earth. Never tiring of your beautiful voice, of the words of the Most High, I am confounded by your many forms, and cannot comprehend you in worshipful meditation Tell me, in what form should I perceive You, the one of infinite form?

Krishna said:

—I shall reveal to you a few of the many forms by which I might be perceived. I am the highest Self within all beings. Of existence, I am the first, the middle, and the last. Of the names of God, I am Vishnu. Of lights, I am the blazing sun. Of constellations, I am the radiant moon. Of scriptures, I am the melody of every hymn. Of celestials, I am King. Of senses, I am mind. Of creatures, I am awareness. Of winds, I am the storm. Of the elements, I am unquenchable fire. Of the mountains, I am loftiest, unscaled. Of waters, I am seas and oceans unfathomed. Of trees, I am the Tree of Life. Of voices, I am the sound of heavens. I am the prayer of sacrifices. Of weapons, I am the thunderbolt. 

—Of all legends, I am their source, and in all legends I am found. I am the first of fathers, the mightiest of beasts, the highest of birds. I am the wind that purifies and Rama among kings. Among rivers, I am the Ganges. I am time past, and all things future. Of women, I am fairest, wisest, most constant and most patient. Of seasons, I am spring. Of gamblers, I am dice. I am the wisdom of the wise, the beauty of the beautiful, the rod of those who chastise, the courage of the courageous, and the silence of mysteries. I am Krishna; I am Arjuna, I am Vyasa, and I am Usana. I am the glory of the most glorious. 

—I am the beginning of all things. Without Me, no creature exists. These are but a few of My limitless forms. Of all beings, however splendid and mighty, I am the source of their might and splendor. How will this revelation of Myself benefit you? With the slightest part of Myself, I am the foundation of the universe.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Bride Price

O friend, I have composed books for you. My subjects come before you, to honor you, and to give advice in its place. But if you would be truly guided you would know that these are not the best of books.They are the least of them. If you read these works yet understand only these few words, you will put my books aside and take up others. Then you will have heeded my advice and these gifts will have served some good purpose. 

Why do you draw from your quiver the crooked arrow? 
Toss it away and take up the straight! 

Be satisfied with the work of Rumi or Attar instead. In verse and prose they might bring you nearer your goal; they offer rest and comfort and solace to the weary. 

To Rumi’s tales a wiser man refers, 
To Attar’s skillful verses he defers. 
Though envious of them, I cannot claim, 
Their finer bow, their arrow, or their aim. 

These two surpass me, but if they are not to your liking, turn instead toward the bounty of Abha, risen in your midst if you but looked. From Him you will find sure footing on this ruined road, and clear vision through a fog of doubts. 

For my part the season has ended, and the fruits were long ago gathered up. Upon that field the sun has set; in that effort the work is done, the foundation built and I offer no further service. Recall the words of Sa‘di. 

If it should not touch anyone’s ear of desire, 
The messenger told his tale; it is enough. 

After doubting the angel, Zechariah could not speak. For nine months his tongue was locked; silence from that sage was His sign, for what tongue can move without His leave? 

If I were to put words on paper again, some reason must move me; some new thought or notion must enter my mind. Yet, except to mourn the errors of my previous work, nothing more can be said. 

Whoever speaks when his speech is done, 
Burns the very bread of his motives, 
And bleaches the shirt of meaning to tatters. 

But you are my friend, and how can I refuse you? I have renounced the writing of books, yet others request from me the writing of books. When friend and desire band together, no man can withstand their entreaties. 

My pride rejoices, my arrogance now has fine excuse. Like Odysseus, I hear those lovely voices, yet I hurry to do their bidding and am not tied to any mast. 

I swore I’d never take up pen again, 
To save myself from vanity’s temptations. 
I saw my nature could not bear the loss. 
“For now I will renounce renunciations.” 

Listen to these words if you must, yet remember that, whoever speaks, the voice is always mine alone. He sings to you like Solomon’s father, from the branch of a rose tree, that you might know the name he hides. 

Now I stand at the door, not venturing in, like Ravana having cut off his ninth head, hesitating with his sword at the throat of the tenth.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Trial of Paris

For a period of five years, beginning some time in 2006, I have worked occasionally on a book entitled The Trial of Paris. In that time I have written much of it; the first part is complete, the second and final part is missing only one section. Unfortunately, the missing section is especially difficult to write and I have put it off while I completed books like The Temple of Hanuman, The Island of Amodhai, and begun work on my edited version of The Bhagavad Gita. In this regard, my procrastination has been productive, and I’ve drafted nearly three books in the intervening years. However, it was never my expectation to abandon The Trial of Paris. It is one branch from my work The End of Reason (The Temple of Hanuman representing another branch).

The Trial of Paris is divided into two parts. The first is an exploration of the existence of God as argued by an atheist and by one who subscribes to the Perennial Philosophy (made famous by Aldous Huxley). The first chapter of the first part provides a rational basis to disbelieve in God, as I armed the atheist with powerful arguments against both revealed and natural religion. The second chapter, however, is refutation of disbelief, and argues from analogy that the underlying assumption of any rational understanding of God, whether leading to conclusions of belief or disbelief, is inherently faulty. The second chapter provides an antidote to the first. At this point, the first part of the work concludes and the second part begins.

I have posted the first part of The Trial of Paris, and the first chapter of the second part. To the right, you will see the cover of the book. By clicking on the cover, you will open or download the work. It can be saved and read in Acrobat Reader version 8, 9, or 10. Since I am still only partly done with The Bhagavad Gita, I do not expect to have completed The Trial of Paris, with its remaining three chapters, for another year.

When I have finished the book, The Trial of Paris will represent my last major work. The End of Reason, with its dangerous second part, is the most popular and controversial. The Temple of Hanuman is the most important. The Trial of Paris is the last city on this road, and within it you will find something of me. In its last page, it is the most self-revelatory.

I won’t pretend that I will never write again. I fully expect I will, even until the day I die. But like The Ninth Hour and The Island of Amodhai they will be small works of little consequence, baubles and trinkets. Where I leave off with The Trial of Paris, I will either have reached my destination, or discovered that I will never reach it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita Interpreted - Part 9

Krishna said: 

—I will unveil My most hidden mystery. I will reveal the insight freeing you from evil. This insight is the royal road to the Most Pure. It is the lawful road. Once known, it is undeniable, easily achieved, and is never lost. But for those who turn aside from this road, they do not find Me and gain only death in rebirth to ignorance. 

—Unmanifested I am Myself the source of the worlds. All creatures come into being through Me. But they do not comprise Me. This is My mystery! How can they comprise Me when I transcend even the worlds of My creation? And how am I within them? They cannot contain Me or confine Me. They are as winds within a space, bounded and ephemeral. 

—Yet in the end that knows no end they return to Me. And at the beginning that knows no beginning, I bring them forth. Again and again I create them. This is My nature. Though I am unbound by them, transcendent and inconceivable to them, by My authority, never by theirs, do I bring them forth. 

—No action binds Me, Arjuna, and I am unmoved by the fruit of action. I transcend all action. My Nature brings forth all those who seek Me, and for them I set the worlds in motion. 

—The ignorant disregard Me, seeing Me manifested in a form like their own. They see nothing of My higher nature, the source of being and nonbeing. They wander on the paths of delusion, deprived of Me, deceived by their expectations, by their desires, by the limitations of their learning. They become servants of evil and arrogant blindness. 

—Those who are not deceived, who recognize My divinity, know that I am the source of being and nonbeing. Adoring Me above all others, they sing of My glory, the glory of the most glorious. They are bound only to Me and their sacrifices reach Me. 

—Steadfast and unwavering, they offer up their worldly knowledge in exchange for knowledge of Me. They see Me as One, as many, and in all things. 

—I am the rite and the ritual. I am the fire and the smoke to the heavens. I am the offering and the One for Whom the offering is made. I am the father and the mother of the worlds; I am the Ancient of Days, the One supporting the heavens and earth. I am the source of true knowledge, and the object of it. 

—I am the voice of the heavens and the sacred word. I am goal and master, home and refuge, friend and witness, creator and destroyer, beginning and end, the ever-shining light, the fountain of fathomless waters. Never born, I am life. Never dying, I am death. I am being and nonbeing. 

—Those who drink deeply quench their thirst for heaven. In celestial bliss they live awhile; but thirst at last returns and their joys must end and again they awake as mortal men. Even observant of scripture, if through scripture they attain their ends, they do not attain Mine and I am lost to them. 

—I am the eternal bliss of those who serve Me alone and above all others. Those who worship others, who perform rites improperly, still their sacrifices come to Me. For all offerings come to Me, even if those who make offerings are in error. Yet in the end, those who worship false gods, are bound to false gods. Those who worship ghosts, are bound to ghosts. Those who worship demons, are bound to demons. Yet those who sacrifice to Me, come to Me and are free from bondage. 

—With love, if one offers Me even the least of offerings, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, a sip of water, I accept his offering and his love. Whatever you give or receive or subdue, whatever offering you make, offer to Me and I will free you from bondage. Through renunciation you will come to Me. 

—In My eyes, all creatures are equal, neither despised nor favored. I am near to all. But those who love Me, offering love to Me alone and above all others, they will know I am within them and they are within Me. Whatever his crimes, the worst of men, if he loves Me alone and above all others, he becomes a saint, obeys the law, and is at peace. 

—None who serve Me are rejected, whatever their station, their gender, their caste. Even the least of men may find me; so how much more the best of men, Arjuna. Renounce the world of pain and pleasure, for these things pass in time. Embrace Me. Turn your thoughts, your love, your offerings and worship to Me and you will come to Me and you will have reached the Most High.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita Interpreted - Part 8

Arjuna said:

—Who is the One transcendent? Who is the One immanent? What is His action? What is the sacrifice, and who makes it? O Krishna, how are you found in the final moment, in the last breath?

Krishna said:

—The One transcendent is the Most High. The One immanent is His nature within you. His action is creation, through which the universe is fashioned. The universe is perishable, but the One is everlasting, within you and beyond you. The perishable body is the sacrifice, though which I make sacrifice.

—In his final moment, in his last breath, the man who thinks of Me, comes to Me. I am his shelter.

—In his final moment, in his last breath, wherever his mind strays, there he remains. His final thought is his final home.

—Therefore, be mindful of Me, detached from all things, and fight. Mindful of Me, you will come to Me.

—If a man’s mind does not stray, but is bound to the Most High, in the practice of detachment and selfless action, he goes to the Most High.

—That man goes to the Most High, the Ancient of Days, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Destroyer of worlds, smaller than an atom, upholding the heavens, blazing like the sun where night never falls.

—He goes to the Most High. In his final moment, if that man restrains his mind, is armed with love and with the strength of My practice, his eyes turned within, he finds shelter in Me.

—This is My path, embodied in scripture, which the wise and devoted, purged of all passion, call eternal. Let me reveal it.

—Bar the doors against the senses, their noise and distraction. Lock away the mind in the four-chambered heart. Pinion the breath of the soul within the head. This way you may embrace My practice.

—He attains his highest end who gives up the body abandoning life while upon his lips is the word of peace, the sound of the heavens. Thinking of Me in that moment, he finds Me at once.

—He finds Me, and there is no more road to take, no better place to go. He finds Me and is never again ensnared by earthly attachments. While the worlds of creation come and go, days and nights ever turning, he is at rest within My eternal shelter.

—You will know days and nights if you know that the Day of Creation is thousands of ages, and the Night that falls is thousands of ages. When the Day of Creation dawns, all creatures appear. When the Night falls, all creatures disappear. Each Day is followed by Night, each Night followed by Day again and again.

—But there is One beyond appearance and disappearance. He is the Most High; His existence is not contingent on creation or destruction for He is beyond Day and Night and transcends all that can be said of Him, never born, never dying.

—He is unseen, eternal, without beginning, without end. The wise say He is the highest end, the best shelter into which souls go and are free forever from the world and its snares. He is the Supreme, to Whom all creatures are devoted, for Whose sake the worlds were fashioned, through Whose grace all things are.

—I am the One determining who shall be ensnared by the world, and who shall be set free. Those whose knowledge brings them into light, in fire or sunshine or brightness of moon, by dawn, by day, by dusk, during the longest days of the seasons, they come to Me and return no more to worldly troubles.

—But those whose knowledge brings them instead into darkness, in smoke or pitch unlit by sun or moon, during the shortest days of the seasons, they remain in the bondage of worldly troubles.

—These are the two roads men take: light or darkness. By light the scholar does not return and his practice has born the sweet fruit of liberation. By darkness the scholar has gathered sour fruits, green and bitter, burning his stomach and he remains in bondage.

—Those who know these two roads know the difference between them. Therefore, be bound only by this wisdom.

—The one who forgoes all worldly rewards earned by merit, by ritual, by scripture, by deprivation, by generosity, he will instead attain the highest end, the best shelter into which souls go and are forever free from the world and its snares.