Sunday, August 22, 2010

Paradox of Liberation

Speaking Tree-Times Of India- 23 August 2010
Liberation is believed to the epitome of achievement of the human form. But the phenomenon of liberation is riddled with a great paradox.

The paradox is that the liberated entity disintegrates, dissolves and no longer remains to appreciate the state of liberation. The whole exercise of liberation therefore seems to be an exercise in futility when viewed from the standpoint of the individual endeavouring to seek liberation.

Liberation can never be an acquisition of the individual. Because liberation is not of a person, liberation is from a person. It is often said by sages that the search or efforts to seek liberation will end only when the seeker ends.

All attempts made in this direction only further crystallise the identity and discreteness of the seeker. The state of am-ness when suffixed by an identity automatically precludes any scope of salvation. Desire for liberation is an oxymoron, because liberation is absence of all desires. Does it mean that all endeavours like meditation, devotion and prayer are superfluous?

Sage Ashtavakra said precisely that. Liberation is merely a blink away. It need not involve any form of penance, effort or endeavour. The identity of self is totally a creation of the self and a figment of imagination. The name, the form is merely a projection. Liberation is instantaneously becoming aware of the absence of the subject-object dichotomy.

The meaning of the word Ashtavakra is “distorted at eight places”. According to legend when Ashtavakra was in still in his mother’s womb, his father would recite from Vedic scriptures. But his chanting was defective and every time Ashtavakra discerned an error, he would squirm inside the womb. As a result he was born with eight deformities; hence the name.

This story is symbolic. The squirming was perhaps at the futility of the chanting. Sage Ashtavakra was a realised soul and his discourse to King Janaka forms the content of the treatise, Ashtavakra Gita, that predates the Bhagavad Gita.

The name Ashtavakra has a far greater significance. Yoga as elucidated by Sage Patanjali is comprised of an eight-fold path. Ashtanga Yoga, comprising yama or restraint, niyama or self-regulation, dhyaan or meditation, pratyaahara, dharana, samadhi asana and pranayama. The eightfold path leads to samadhi or liberation. But Ashtavakra said that all endeavours only fortify the identity of the seeker. He said that liberation is the state where the subject and object become one. All endeavours only serve to underline the ego and are a detriment to liberation. Ashtavakra therefore seems to underline the distortion created by any path of endeavour by the seeker. The philosophy challenges the basic premise that one has to make any effort to seek liberation – for that matter even ashtanga yoga. This is a radical departure from all established though.

A specific form is merely the all-pervading consciousness cleaving itself into a subject and object. It then goes about believing all that is observed is as separate and discrete as its own self. The true nature of the Self is beyond all identity and ego. It is plain consciousness. The ego is adulteration of this consciousness by total conviction in this fleeting illusory identity. And then the game of seeking begins, like the dog chasing its own tail. Holding on to the illusion of identity, one goes about seeking. The form can never ever seek the formless consciousness of which it is a manifestation. It can only merge and this merger can happen only when the form realises the futility of all efforts to become the formless.

(The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon and

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Friday, August 6, 2010

energy a manifestation of the unified consciousness

All is one, all is Brahmn. There is no duality. Unity has a concentric disposition. The centre is the absolute potential and as one moves outwards, this potential transforms to the kinetic. The myriad forms of creation are the kinetic expression of this central toti-potent potential.
The kinetic manifests as Shakti; the potential is Shiva. Duality begins with this illusory distinction. They are totally interchangeable because, in effect, they are one. The gunas or characteristics of form -- rajas, satva and tamas -- reflect the varying proportions of kinetic and potential energies. Satva is closer to the central, unmanifest potential, while tamas is peripheral and manifests as energy in various forms.
Energy is potential coupled with entropy or disorder, from the formless zero entropy to the manifest form with varying degrees of entropy. The kinetic manifests itself in various forms while the potential remains niraakaar or formless. This abundance of manifestation is indeed spectacular and breathtaking.
The kinetic fields preoccupy attachment to material objects and indulgent behaviour; there’s nothing wrong with that. But being preoccupied within the confines of merely form is half knowledge. It is called vipareet jnana -- to believe that form is all that there is. The true nature of Self is formless potential. Self-realisation is the journey towards the centre. All worship or devotion any form of bhakti is from where the inward journey begins. Worship or meditation is activity that decreases disorder or entropy, moving from the kinetic to the potential. The plurality of forms of worship reflects the fact that there are innumerable paths to get to the final destination, the centre. The tatva, the unmanifest formless, attributeless nirgun niraakaar, or pure potentiality.
The laws of physics conclude that any event can be claimed to have occurred only if observed by an observer. This implies that the observer is ab initio or at the centre and the object of observation is a function of the observer. The object is the subject plus entropy. And the subject is the object minus the entropy. The entire gamut of creation exists only until the observer is present.
The entire spectrum of all that is visualised could well be merely a holographic algorithm of perception by the brain. The brain might be a processor that assigns values to the entropy and converts them to sensory data. A transducer. It's a simple holographic projection of a multitude of entropy on the screen of pure potential-consciousness. Consciousness assumes the persona of an individual, also presents itself as creation and interconnects the two by becoming the act of observation. That is the trichotomy. And the show goes on. This purposeless show of manifestation is called as chidvilas, the joy of manifesting.
The brain has several ganglia or group of neurons that serve as destinations for various sensory data. The different sensory perceptions may lie in merely the different address to which the data is delivered. This delivery system is pre-programmed. For example, visual data is directed to the occipital cortex, located at the back of our heads. The brain processes the terabytes of data and creates the illusion of duality by sending the incoming data to different loci. It’s a processor that integrates varying kinetic energy patterns into data .The fidelity of our sensory organs is also a subject of speculation. I call a rose a rose because I see it just as all others do. Probably proof is in the numbers. But actually, it’s a program of perceptive software. If my visual cortex were to be stimulated at the appropriate place whilst simultaneously, the centre for smell recognition were also triggered, I would perceive a rose with equal conviction despite no such entity being present. The transient or fleeting nature of all creation lends credibility to the hypothesis that it is illusory. Creation might just be the kinetic flirting with the potential. In other words, it’s the romance of Shiva and Shakti -- a romance within -- that is, the Self suffused with love.
The author is a Pune-based consultant neurosurgeon.