Mysticism, Analogy, and Metaphor IX 6

Mysticism, Analogy, and Metaphor IX, part six

Mysticism, Analogy, and Metaphor IX.

Sacred Speech Masterclass IX, part six.

Mysticism is one of these words whose meaning has changed a great deal over the centuries and now has become so personalized that it has become almost a total abstraction. We explore what is analogy and metaphor in the context of sacred speech.

Imagine you are in a boat with me and we are cruising down a tropical river, and I say, look at that very tall tree with the big leaves because there’s an interesting animal crawling up that you don’t usually see in this area, so that there is nothing to a , I mean you are not making a choice, the choice could be that you choose not to look because there is a good looking woman sitting on your left, but other than that there is nothing that you have to choose among, or decisions to make or even whether you really consider it a big tree or a small tree, or the animal is cute or not, these are not the issues. What we are trying to do to is we are trying to expand possibilities, we are trying to fit in some more colors, some more textures, some more dimensions as it were, so that as we expand our conversation about Speech, we are not limiting we are not trying to squeeze it into our preconceptions but we’re rubberizing the edges of our box.

Udhava: Right. By offering… the boat ride

Babaji: Huh?

Udhava: By offering I only meant the boat ride

Babaji: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Udhava: OK. I just wanted to make sure I was on the same wave of thought as you about that, as it were.

Babaji: Yeh, that I really think we have to do it and yet I realize, I see you know how bombarded we are, all the time, with things to buy into so it is only normal and natural that any human encounter or encounter you have with things or ideas your question is sort of ‘how much.’ What’s the price? What’s the payment terms? You know…. Oh, can I buy this on time? You know. Does it require a down payment? That seems to be the environment out there.

Udhava: You are talking about the place I work. The grocery store, the market, is exactly where I work. So I see it everyday.

Babaji: Well, that’s the whole world now. The whole world has become this grocery store, whether it is political ideas or spiritual ideas or ways to be happy or things to buy or the best brand of chocolate; it’s just non-stop.

Michelle: Babaji?

Babaji: Yes.

Michelle: I think one of the things I was struck by with listening to you read your own book which was beautiful by the way, ‘cause Uddhava and I read it to each other but it’s something very different when you are actually hearing the author read it, the struggle, the Western struggle of trying take notes and create, put it in a system that was familiar to yourself, like using an old paradigm, a process that you are undoing in a way, you know, in a way, I can’t help but notice my own experience of day to day the way that consumerism, consumption and even like our capacity with the computer we are constantly being bombarded with, like you said, you are supposed to experience, or you should believe this, or you know, buy this and we aren’t actually going outside, spending time, just with a sense of curiosity, with like what is that, I don’t know, go outside and look at these things or be even just be with myself or be with anything with a kind of open sky mind about it, and you know, you know, we are so living in a tiny little box because we are not just, we aren’t, especially here, in the West, we aren’t being encouraged at all,in any way shape or form to actually be curious at all really about anything…

Babaji: I think that in fact you are being punished for being curious. That certainly not ever encouraged to be curious, to really think about things. Think things out. You know, because I grew up in the States, and I have a understanding of that. American mass media is really powerful. This is by far the most powerful mass media in the world and I think that in many ways Americans are the most subjected to all of this, more than any other place that I can really think of. So we are at this… Americans have this thing to somehow overcome to get a breather from all this stuff that comes at us so persistently all the time, so it’s… we do… this is one of the things that makes our times so unique I think is the fact that we are so bombarded all the time with this sort of virtual this sort of fake life….

Michelle: And how that

Hari: Babaji?

Michelle: No, you…

Hari: I am just curious on that last point. What are some of the– ? You often mention like terminology from modern Western spiritualism that you find to be inaccurate, and I am just curious if you could give us an example.

Babaji: I wouldn’t use the word, ‘inaccurate.’ I would– Inaccurate for what? It’s not that the wrong words are being used, there, I think that there is a superimposition, there is an assumption that things like psychology, modern psychology, that modern science is somehow linked with truth, rather than a methodology among other methodologies, in this particular time period has wide acceptance. This is where I am going with this. So, in other words, if we are looking to understand something that goes beyond the iphone and current situations in our modern life, technology and so forth, shopping, then we need to look at how we are speaking, how we are articulating, and what things mean, how we can determine meaning, what we do is we create abstractions, we create private definitions, we have already privatized religion, separated religion off of politics which I think is a unique thing to the last two or three hundred years of human history and the rest. I think that when we look at other cultures, other time periods to assume that there is such a thing as religious behavior as opposed to political behavior is quite frankly is just inaccurate, it’s not being rational in fact, it is not employing our rational aspects that we should be employing on, you know, on a daily basis. So, as we took the word yoga, even I think perhaps in our first session, and I said connection is not the connection with self obsession, that the original meaning of connect was to connect with the totality, not of the individual and the obsession of the individual, which couldn’t be further from the tradition itself.

Hari: I am just curious. Correct me if I am wrong. It almost seems that there are two kind of facets to this. One is that modern speech has is kind of adding a plastic layer between maybe I am not sure if I am using the right words actually but authenticity and reality. That’s kind of like one side of the conversation. But the other one which in a way I think is really hit on by the passage that you just read is that our very nature of trying to understand, I mentioned, a professor I had at University, this course I took, and one of the things he said, that stuck in my mind, we were going through the history of philosophers and he gets to Aristotle, and he says, ‘Who here in this lecture hall, have you ever categorized anything?” and we were are like, yeh, Ok, “You’ve only done that because Aristotle invented it. And then that this idea that our entire way of trying to organize information that as reflected in how you are trying to take notes even though your guru said to not to. Is like, we don’t even think that there might be another way, we are kind of like stuck in it, and to me that kind of like is significantly in way more profound than or it’s just significantly profound I kind of like never trusted modern propaganda, and the more work I have done on myself, the more I kind of watch the commercials and laugh at the like hidden meanings that are kind of being thrown out at you, but when it comes to like break down this idea from trying to understand things through collecting and creating things like lines between, I totally get that something in that is wrong, that’s it, I don’t really know where to go from there. That’s I gues what interests me about this. Is that a dichotomy? Am I on the right page?

Babaji: Yes, you are exactly on the right page, and I think that this is very much where I would like to be going with all of you is to break down some walls, expand potentials and possibilities, and instead of, I think it is more valuable, instead of us making sort of moral judgments, even on obvious things that happen in the world today, politics and so forth, I think it is much more important to understand these things and to not be satisfied with temporary understandings but take all understandings as only being temporary.

So there’s of course there’s things you know we don’t like obviously that’s the way that it should be, but, even those things that we don’t like or we think that are wrong we really should understand them, if they impact us, in some way that we want to change, then it’s better that we understand them rather than judge them. This is really ultimately where I’d like to be going with all this stuff is find ways to get handles, find ways to look at this stuff which means that always we have to be examining our prejudices and our own assumptions that we bring into this. Now this service, one of the services that I can provide for you is I can identify a number of this prejudices and assumptions because I have identified them in myself. This is not a theoretical or a philosophical exercise, where I am creating some categories, but I have been in India now for 45 years and it in terms of coming to my understandings of things I will I am not shy to say that it’s been a struggle and that there’s been a number of blockages and a number of things that I have had to overcome intellectually and so it’s this experience that I have of this that I would like to share with you so that not that you could follow in my path or what I am saying or doing but so that you could use those examples so that you can identify some of those similar patterns that exist in all of you because we all come from basically the same culture and identifying those, I can tell you, changes those. Changing them does not change them. But identifying them changes them. This is very much consistent with Heisenberg’s theory of … What’s it called?

Hari: Garg. Heisenberg

Udhava and Michelle: Observation.

Michelle: that the seer changes the, yes.

Babaji: So, look. If you apply that to your own life and you say, ‘Oh, I’m too greedy,’ right? You cannot change yourself like that by forcing yourself. But the more that you identify your greed, your greed automatically, according to Heisenberg’s principle, starts transforming itself. Now we’re getting a little theoretical. I admit. It’s the end of a session. We’re playing around a little.

About the Author

Baba Rampuri, author of "Autobiography of a Sadhu, a Journey into Mystic India," and frequent commentator on Oral Tradition, Sacred Speech, and Consciousness, is an American expatriate,  the first foreigner to be initiated into India's largest and most ancient order of yogis, the Naga Sannyasis of Juna Akhara.  He has lived in India since 1970, where he practices and teaches the oral tradition of the Sanatan Dharma, conducts sacred ceremony and rites, and hosts workshops and retreats.

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