Mar 20, 2013

Bruce Lee and Bhakti - 2

There is a broad consensus on the significance of Bhakti (laws of devotional exchange) across all schools of Indian thought and religion. Yet, there remains some sectarian bickering, in which ideological wranglers go to extremes of sham profundity or declarations of suicidal love in order to defend their doctrinal positions. Furthermore, there is sectarian competition between schools that take vows of devotion to different deity forms, and wars have been fought in centuries past. I admit I myself would have volunteered at one time.

Apart from its entertainment and drama value, this fractious mentality is not desirable at all, especially at this time in India's evolving polity, and the need for Hinduism to play a mature role in facilitating a transition to the next phase of development. Fortunately, there is plenty of material in Bharatiya Sanskriti that takes a process philosophy perspective and analyzes the levels of maturity of Bhakti.

There is the question of the primacy of Bhakti versus Jnaana (laws of Knowingness) as fundamental properties of Consciousness. At its most mature level, they are like water and vessel. See the previous post: Bruce Lee and Bhakti - 1. Other relative equations at different points can be correlated with the stages of maturity.

From the Narada Bhakti-sutras (2.28-30):
तस्य ज्ञानमेव साधनमित्येके । 
"Knowledge only is the means for developing devotion - this is one view." 
अन्योन्याश्रयत्वमित्येके । 
"Bhakti and knowledge are interdependent - this is another view." 
स्वयं फल-रूपेति ब्रह्म-कुमारः । 
"But the son of Brahma (the Creator) says that Bhakti is its own fruit."
For anyone in any philosophical school of politics, science, or religion, there is usually a progression of stages. That famous first scene from Enter The Dragon encapsulates it the way Oriental masters do:

1. Exhibitionism - of "objective" standards of purity, adherence to discipline, apparent blissfulness and freedom from doubt, etc. It can be useful as an exercise in immersion. But even in its useful sense, there is to say it...hypocritical or ignorant drama. A serious joke: At an ashram, several brahmacharis (students) assemble to chant the Vedas at dawn - after waking up early, bathing and performing other personal chores. After the mantras have been chanted in congregation, they are all dispersing in a hurry to attend to other duties. But one stripling remained conspicuously seated peacefully, eyes closed, a picture of serenity and seriousness in the early light - performing supererogatory prayers. A couple of seniors standing behind were impressed. One said to the other: "See how centered and immersed he looks. The mantras have affected him deeply. He is doing more." To their surprise, the young fellow turns around and says, "You should see me on mornings when I shit, shave and shower before coming here."

In its most harmful manifestation, it is a fight to prove who is "purer" and close to whatever is being idolized. E.g. in Pakistan, after ethnically cleansing Hindus and Sikhs, the different sects of Islam are now attacking one another ideologically and physically because they consider the other sects not pure enough. They hope that once ideological purity and consolidation are achieved, some alleged prophecies have great conquests planned for them. The scary part is that if the prey is unaware, this sordid fantasy could actually play out. Beware Hindus - if you fail to predict, you will fail to protect. Timely intervention can save.

2. Mental masturbation - about "subjective" standards, paths, and purity. In its most useful sense, it helps refine one's motives after clarifying one's understanding of the laws of Nature. It can bring one in better communication with one's body, and make one a better observer. It brings balance to the 4 purushaarthas, and thereby a greater ability to learn by increasing one's pan-determinism. It can create the capacity for dealing with ideological ambiguity and difference. In this process, it is possible one may go down a rabbit hole, and while that can be fascinating and all, it could also just be a waste of time.

In its worst case it can become wishy-washy mental speculation about everything being relative, and a justification for succumbing to blind compulsions or repressions, driving one deeper into neuroses and even psychosis. When there is aarthic prosperity, it gives one the space to indulge (e.g. modern Western history). When there is aarthic attenuation without overt external intervention, it has its most harmful manifestation (e.g. history of the Middle East in modern times).

Counter-argument during aarthic normalcy or prosperity cannot save the day. Adharma, like Dharma, is supported by artha. Only aarthic attenuation can work here, wherein it will slide back to stage 1. Then an intervention and ideological change becomes possible. Alternatively, this stage may lead to burn-out. In that case, the individual or society becomes inoculated against spiritual aspirations and lives in apathy to it, finding inspiration in an atheistic mode of phenomenal and existential reality. E.g. post WW-2 European culture. This takes time to revive and must pass through fear and then fighting again on its way up.

3. Stable, connected control and 'havingness' - as a general state of a purpose-driven mind, a stable memory, in affinity with its present-time environment and taking responsibility for it. This is the optima.

Thus, a statement of 'Truth' at any point of time has been described as a Finger pointing to the branch of the Tree (of Knowledge) that is pointing to the Moon in its current astrological position.

Any consideration about life in its complete sense is 'astrological' - i.e., as applied to Thought and Emotion. (I am only beginning to learn something about Vedic Hora shastra, and so far I understand a distinction between the astrology of Parashara versus Jaimini's application). The Latin word "consider" is itself an astrological term.

[Etymology of Consider: 1350–1400; Middle English consideren  (< Anglo-French ) < Latin consīderāre  con- + sīder-  (stem of sīdus ) star-group, sky (see sidereal) + -āre  infinitive suffix.]

Therefore, a statement of Truth may be understood in that perspective, as a concept that invokes a set of perceptics which ought to point to a branch from the multifarious Tree of knowledge that, in turn, indicates the Moon.

The Bhagavad Gita also talks of this Tree (15.1). This applies to any and all philosophies - Indic or non-Indic. This Tree is universal. India has simply been a changing microcosm of it through time, and therefore Hinduism probably understands it best.

Politically, it follows that all bona fide sectarian cultures must point to the unified Tree of supra-subjective knowledge. The ideological sources of any religious or ideological sect can be objectively evaluated for this complete structure and continuity with Knowledge. If it fails in this due to a fixation on one point in history, one personality, or one obsession with an ideal, then its destruction is written in the stars and the politics of Dharma must aid this process. Any political party that seeks to prevent their destruction is doing so at the cost of the general sanity of the environment.

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