So after posting that crazy drunken squid post last night (I was sober as a judge when I wrote that – honest!), I slipped some PJ’s on, hopped into bed and cracked open the pages of my newest literary acquisition – “The Upanishads”. It seems as though, in addition to Buddhism, I am being directed (thank you Universe) to the sacred wisdom of Hinduism as well.
Ironically, as I write this, I am listening to BBC Radio 3 and interestingly enough, the program is highlighting music from the Golden Temple of Amritsar (revealing the devotional Hindu Bhajan style of music which sounds remarkably similar to Qawwal – made popular by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan). How timely. This music is emotional, captivating and lifts my soul this morning (which is not surprising, given that the intention of the genre is just that…to bring the listener closer to a Divine experience through release, meditation and captivation). Now that I’ve piqued your interest, let’s explore a tiny snippet from this sacred hindu text…”The Upanishads”:
“That One, the True Self
Of Consciousness, Reality, Love,
Is swifter than thought,
As a greyhound is to a tortoise.
The senses never know “That”.
Consciousness runs and overtakes them.
Without “That Self” there is no
Real Life, I assure you.
Moves and does not move,
It appears to be distant
Yet is near,
It animates all
And envelopes all,
Who sees “all being”
In his or her own Self
As Consciousness, Awareness,
Like his own Self,
Never suffers from fear.
When a man or woman
Understands and knows
That the Self of Consciousness
Has become all that exists,
What possible trouble or sorrow
He or she who has seen
That seamless Unity?”
-The Isa Upanishad* (4-7) – [*This set of verses translates to provide information about “The Inner Ruler” and that Supreme being…be it Atman or Ish, that controls and moves the Universe].
As I listen to the music from the Golden Temple, and read these few lines, I feel as though I am brought closer to the Divine this morning. The Upanishads are a compilation of sacred Hindu writings written some 5,000 to 10, 000 years ago and offered to the Rishis (Hindu sages or saints) of the Vedic Hindu tradition. The word, “Upanishad” is translated from Sanskrit as meaning “sitting down beside” (as in, sitting down beside a guru and receiving ancient wisdom in the oral tradition). The Upanishads are considered one of the most fundamental compilations of mystical and philosophical thought and are considered to provide a firm foundation for our understanding of religion and spirituality today (notice, I like to keep the terms spirituality and religion separate…).
I have only just begun my study of this Ancient text (and I do have a mere translation of it, mind you) and I cannot wait to reveal more of it’s mysteries as I read along. “How am I interpreting the work thus far?” you might ask. Being of Western background and theology, but of open and spiritual mind, I am finding the sense of spirituality in this piece quite Universal (I am most fascinated by the parallels to other various world theologies). I’m not sure if I believe in a Supreme entity per se (as in, there must be a Divine god or specific entity controlling the Universe from a Cosmic Throne), but I do believe that the human consciousness collectively seeks to aspire to something far greater than itself – Truth, Purity, Love and Light…the All, the Unknowable, the Divine. The Hindus would describe this as Brahman (a word translated to mean “to grow”; that which cannot be known…the Infinite, the Immanent), other religions refer to God.
Being the Seeker and Light Worker that I am (yes, I admit this…finally), I find that I am at a point in my life where I do welcome Ancient wisdom from various cultural and traditional sources. I seems as though I am drawing this Ancient energy into my life one delectable bit at a time (just enough information at the most appropriate times to allow me to assimilate, appreciate, grow and share my interpretation and experiences as I travel along my Spiritual path). However, as I travel along, collecting and interpreting these various facets of ancient thought and philosophy, I am reminded to be cautious, mindful and aware. The caution is proper, humble interpretation of these texts and philosophies in combination with mindful self (and Universal) awareness. These are simply attributes of good living in my opinion. Good intentions, good thoughts…good actions and a blossoming life, full of meaning and substance. This is my wish for myself, and my wish for all of humanity. Call me an Idealist.
This is my humble token of Appreciation for the Universe…my gratitude and love shared with you.